Essential Reads

Gaydar Goes AI and Populism Comes to Science

An upcoming study on a computer program that categorizes sexual preference from photos has come under fire.

Why Do Humans Make Art?

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on September 05, 2017 in Beastly Behavior
Understanding the the many aspects of art reveals its possible functions and origins in our past.

Why We Forget Names (But Not Faces)

By David Ludden Ph.D. on September 02, 2017 in Talking Apes
Humans are quite good at recognizing familiar faces, but we often fail to remember even familiar names.

Our Worst Angels: Inconvenient Psychological Truths, Part 2

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on August 30, 2017 in Insight Therapy
We fancy ourselves rational and independent, eager to learn and adapt. But are we?

More Posts on Evolutionary Psychology

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Caring and Caregiving

Providing care to a loved one who is dependent, fragile, or in need shows love in a basic way. Those who give with generosity and reliability rewards themselves as well as others.

Why Do We Kiss on the Lips?

The startling answer is more than tongue in cheek.

Does Science Really Say There’s No Purpose to Life?

Many scientists see humanity as just a cosmic accident. But in a recent journal article, I describe a natural process that could have endowed humanity with an ultimate purpose.

Chewing on the Twizzler Coincidence

Out of the mundane discovery of a package of Twizzlers comes a meaning loaded sequence that challenges the materialist view of how the world works.

Why Religions Support Elites

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on August 02, 2017 in The Human Beast
Pope Francis acts out the humility preached by Christian ascetics for two millennia. Yet, he owns what is probably the most valuable art collection in the world.

Predictability of the Unexpected: The Yin and Yang of Life

By Saul Levine M.D. on August 01, 2017 in Our Emotional Footprint
As wonderful (or painful) as our lives can sometimes be, we will all experience unexpected dramatic changes. How we handle successes and setbacks is what is of most importance.

Science and Religion: Compatible or Not?

Is there a worldview that would satisfy our psychological cravings for religion, without requiring us to sacrifice any dedication to science? There probably is, so stay tuned.

Why Do Your Facebook Friends Have So Much Political Bias?

Myside bias makes us notice, search for, and favor evidence that supports what we already believe. Why do we do this? And is it worse on social media?

What Is the Sexiest Emotion for Men to Display?

By Alec Beall, Ph.D. on July 27, 2017 in Aesthetics 101
Why are bad boys so dreamy? Emotion research may help to explain.

Have Dogs Specifically Evolved to Eat Bread and Pasta?

Do dogs benefit from a raw meat diet? While wolves are genetically programmed to eat meat, dogs have genes that allow them to digest carbohydrates.

Hypotheses About Gender Imbalance in Expressing Opinions

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on July 21, 2017 in Cui Bono
Why are more opinion letters published in the NYT written by male authors? I explore both hypotheses about the answer to this question and how theories determine our hypotheses.

Fatal Attraction

By R. Douglas Fields Ph.D. on July 20, 2017 in The New Brain
An intriguing link has been identified between unconventional sexual behavior and a common parasite, which is acquired from cats.

How Good Is a Dog's Ability to Remember People?

There are suggestions that dogs can remember and may recognize particular people even after years of separation.

Real Reasons for Sex Before Marriage

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 19, 2017 in The Human Beast
More people today are sexually active before marriage than ever before. The true reasons are practical and have little to do with changing belief systems.

Looking for Social Behavior?

An encounter with a species of beetles that pair bonds, communicates with their offspring through sound, and deals with infanticide threats from other pairs.

Get the Science Right!

What popular books get wrong about human evolution.

Small Acts of Generous Behavior Can Make Your Brain Happier

New research shows that very small amounts of generosity can affect you on a neurobiological level.
RelaxingMusic/Flikr

Mindfulness for Beginners

Mindfulness is all the rage, and with a promise to improve concentration, mood, and energy, reduce stress, improve immune function, and even fight obesity, it should be.

The Power of Total Isolation: Why We Hate Being Alone

By Kevin Bennett on July 12, 2017 in Modern Minds
The pain of extreme isolation results from a conflict between evolved social mechanisms and impersonal modern environments containing built structures that cut us off from others.

The ABC of the Diametric Model, Twenty Years On

Twenty years after it was first published, the diametric model can be seen as a striking co-discovery like so many others in the history of science.

Who Gives a Dog a Command and How It Is Given Matters

Dogs respond differently to hand signals and voice commands, and who is giving the commands also matters.

Large Study Finds Pet Owners Are Different

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on July 03, 2017 in Animals and Us
New research shows pet owners and non-pet owners differ in important ways. Does this explain the positive impact of dogs and cats on human health?

Why You Should Fear Failure

Shame avoidance is a way in which evolution has provided humans with a useful tool to reach desired goals.

Language, Geological Time, and Evolution

Language is one of the most important revolutionary advances of human beings. We will explore language with its individual development and relationship to emotions and cognition.

Like Us, They Kill and Consume. But Could They Save Us?

By Gayil Nalls Ph.D. on June 29, 2017 in Sensoria
Like humans, ants are eusocial and chemical communicators. However, we are just discovering their unique abilities that have cared for the planet for millennia.

What It Means to Be a Human

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on June 29, 2017 in The Human Beast
From Darwin onwards, scholars struggled to define our species. There are two leading theories, but neither seems workable.

Hunter-gatherer Ancestry May Be Why Our Brains Need Exercise

A radical new evolutionary neuroscience theory may explain how our hunter-gatherer ancestors inadvertently hardwired our modern day brains to thrive on everyday physical activity.

How is Meaning in Life Different from Self-Actualization?

Eudaimonic well-being is a fancy term for living a meaningful life. New research examines the different motives behind different kinds of self-fulfillment.

We Live in a Zoo!

Is our current living environment creating physical and emotional problems for us?