Essential Reads

Creepy New Marketing Targets Female Sex Hormones

Can marketers spy on women's sex hormones to time their pitches better?

Understanding the Islamic State - A Fool's Errand?

The quest to understand the "validity" of a religious sect will be unsatisfying.

Why You Were Born to Gossip

According to one theory, everything we say takes the form of gossip.

Does Science Really Say That Hot Guys Are Jerks?

Our new study suggests that better-looking men are more selfish.

Recent Posts on Evolutionary Psychology

Beautiful People are Beautiful

When making romantic decisions, some people copy the preferences of others

The Cerebellum Holds Many Clues for Creating Humanoid Robots

Recent discoveries show that the cerebellum (Latin for "little brain") holds vital clues for the future creation of sentient robots and androids that are featured in upcoming blockbuster movies like Chappie, Ex Machina, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Mourning – Death, Loss, Trauma, and Psychotherapy

Mourning is the process by which we heal from grief. I’ve heard people say, “What’s the point of grieving, you can’t bring a loved one back from the dead.” That of course, is true, but it is what allows us, the survivors, to return back to the land of the living and resume our lives.

Creepy New Marketing Targets Female Sex Hormones

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 03, 2015 in The Human Beast
During the fertile phase of their monthly cycle, women are prone to greater risk taking. For psychologists, this means that they are more likely to initiate sexual affairs. Marketers discovered that women are more likely to try new brands as well. Now they plan to use this fact in targeted marketing. Assuming that they get away with it, will the scheme work?

A Response to Sam Harris's Writings on Moral Truth Pt 2 of 3

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on March 03, 2015 in Cui Bono
In August of 2013, Sam Harris issued a challenge to refute the central thesis of his book, The Moral Landscape. This thesis is that "questions of morality and values must have right and wrong answers that fall within the purview of science." This is part 2 of a 3-part post explaining why I agree with everything in his book except the central thesis.

The Most and Least Popular Dog Breeds

A full listing of the popularity ranking of all 178 breeds of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club. The trends over the past five years show some interesting consistencies and some intriguing changes.

Why You Can't (and Shouldn't) Be Happy Most of the Time

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on March 01, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
We work very hard to reach goals, anticipating the happiness that they will bring us. After a brief fix of “yippee," however, we quickly slide back to our sorry-ass, humdrum, ordinary state of being. Studies of lottery winners and others who seem to "have it all" throw cold water on our dream of a different life. And yet, we persist. Why?

8 Warning Signs Your Lover is a Narcissist

The Mayo Clinic research group defines narcissistic personality disorder as “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration." How do you know when your romantic partner may be a narcissist? Here are eight telltale signs...

Understanding the Islamic State - A Fool's Errand?

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
Attempts to identify the beliefs that define the "validity" of any religion are doomed to fail because of our own cognitive biases and the nature of religion itself.

Where’s The Market For Organs (And Sex)?

By Jesse Marczyk on February 28, 2015 in Pop Psych
Sometimes you aren't allowed to sell things that you are free to give away; a curious bit of moral psychology

Why You Were Born to Gossip

By David Ludden Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in Talking Apes
Since our brains are finely tuned for coordinating our relationships with others, it’s not surprising that language is structured to convey social information.

Does Science Really Say That Hot Guys Are Jerks?

There have been many recent media stories—with titles like "Science Says: Hot Guys Are A-Holes"—about a new study on attractiveness and behavior. I was lead author on this study, and I'll clarify here what our study really showed.

Is Sadomasochism a Uniquely Human Form of Sexuality?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Animals and Us
From an evolutionary point of view, the enjoyment of pain would seem to be maladaptive. Is there an animal analog of finding sexual satisfaction in being whipped, poked with needles, or having hot wax dripped on your skin?

Study: Dogs Can Identify Liars, and They Don't Trust Them

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on February 24, 2015 in Canine Corner
Dogs keep track of whether people lie or tell the truth, and they use these memories to determine whether they can trust particular humans and any new information that they get from them.

A Response to Sam Harris's Writings on Moral Truth Pt 1 of 3

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Cui Bono
In August of 2013, Sam Harris issued a challenge to refute, in 1,000 words or less, the central thesis of his book, The Moral Landscape. This thesis is that "questions of morality and values must have right and wrong answers that fall within the purview of science." In a three-part blog post, I explain why I agree with everything in his book except the central thesis.

The Benefits of Being Blond

Is it better to be blond? Prior research suggests that blond women enjoy a wage premium and preferential treatment from men. But does this really translate into higher lifetime earnings or better odds of marriage? And might blond men be similarly-advantaged?

8 Negative Attitudes of Chronically Unhappy People

All of us experience negative thoughts from time to time. How we manage our negative attitudes can make the difference between confidence versus fear, hope versus despair, mastery versus victimhood, and victory versus defeat. Here are eight negative attitudes of chronically unhappy people...

Emotions As a Second Language - Or Should They Be Our First?

Emotional literacy is being able to feel and identify one’s feeling states. This fluency enhances emotional self-regulation, lessens over-reactivity to negative emotions such as anger, and is the basis of interpersonal emotional modulation.

Socially-Strategic Welfare

By Jesse Marczyk on February 19, 2015 in Pop Psych
Cross-national differences in beliefs about welfare appear to be generated by the same underlying psychology. If you want to get people to agree on welfare, you need to get to them agree about the recipients.

How Old Is Language?

By Vyv Evans Ph.D. on February 19, 2015 in Language in the Mind
Can the time-depth of language be uncovered without a time-machine? Recent evidence, ranging from genetic dating, to new archaeological finds, is transforming what we know about language's vintage.

Are Humans Unique?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on February 18, 2015 in The Human Beast
The argument for human uniqueness is of mostly historical interest. As we gained more understanding of animal behavior, we learned that their psychology has more in common with us than had been imagined previously.

Can Dogs Recognize Emotions Just by Looking at a Human Face?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on February 17, 2015 in Canine Corner
New data shows that dogs need only a glimpse of your mouth or your eyes to determine whether you are happy or angry.

There Is a New Paradigm for Psychiatry

The hope for a molecular-biochemical explanation for psychiatry is false. It is believed we are on the verge of proving that psychiatry is a brain disease, no different from cancer or diabetes. But there is a paradigm that fully illuminates psychiatry - the ‘Play of consciousness, which is consonant with biology, neuroscience, and evolutution.

Fifty Grades of Shale

By Robert J King Ph.D. on February 14, 2015 in Hive Mind
50 Shades of Grey is part of a pattern of human behavior going back millennia

Phrasing The Question: Does Altruism Even Exist?

By Jesse Marczyk on February 13, 2015 in Pop Psych
Are humans really altruistic, or is this question actually several questions confusing phrased as one?

Fifty Shades of Grue

By David Ludden Ph.D. on February 13, 2015 in Talking Apes
Language doesn’t bind us to a particular world view, but it does dominate the way we perceive and think about our experiences.

The Hipster and the Bearded Ape

By Hector A Garcia Psy.D. on February 11, 2015 in Alpha God
Most hipsters and other bearded types walk about sporting their facial coiffures unaware of their evolved purpose. But the allure of beards is rooted in the violent past of male mate competition.

What Matters Most in a Man?

By Stephen Snyder M.D. on February 10, 2015 in SexualityToday
I wonder what Jane Austen would think about Fifty Shades. Sure, she'd probably hate the prose. But if she got past that, she'd definitely be interested in what has and hasn't changed for women in the two centuries that divide Pride and Prejudice from Fifty Shades of Grey.

Be More Successful in Online Dating – Use Humour

By Martin Graff Ph.D. on February 09, 2015 in Love, Digitally
Females with more humorous partners have more sex and also initiate sex more often. Females prefer males who can make them laugh, because humorous males may be able to give their offspring superior genetic benefits.

Revisited: Why Are Spree Killers Mostly Men?

How Elliot Rodger's Writings Stunningly Mirror the Ultimate Causality of Rampage Killing