Social Life Essential Reads

Seven Tips for Kissing Like You Mean It

By Jennifer Haupt on August 31, 2015 in One True Thing
My husband of 25 years and I recently attended Kissing School, the brainchild of Seattle psychotherapist Cherie Byrd. Here's what we learned after seven hours of smoothing.

How to Pray for an Atheist

By David Niose on August 30, 2015 in Our Humanity, Naturally
Nonbelievers don't want prayers, but they often get them anyway. What's the etiquette of unsolicited prayers? And is it changing as the nonreligious demographic grows?

Why Narcissists Try to Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

It’s never pleasant to be the target of an insult. However, before you let an insulting remark get the better of you, stop and consider who’s doing the insulting. It’s likely that it’s just a narcissist, trying to feel better by making you feel bad.

The Secret to Controlling Other People

By Tim Carey Ph.D. on August 23, 2015 in In Control
It’s our own private collection of goals that determines what will be sticks and carrots for each of us.

Conservative Feminism

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on August 19, 2015 in Rabble Rouser
If you want to be accepted by mainstream, contemporary feminism, you must identify as pro-choice, reject the reality of innate or biologically based gender differences or the concept of human nature, condemn traditional relationships and family dynamics, and subscribe to specific avenues for achieving gender equality and justice.

Do First Amendment Rights Apply to Students in School?

By Peter Gray on August 16, 2015 in Freedom to Learn
In this interview, conducted by guest blogger Alex Walker, the founder of Free Student Press, David Krane, explains that student free speech is legally protected by the first amendment, but students must fight for that protection. School officials typically do everything they can to prevent students from knowing about and exercising their constitutional rights.

The Collapse of Values and My Local Car Dealership

What an efficient group of employees! Then why do I feel so bad?

The Evolutionary Psychology of the Bad-Mouther

Humans come armed with an arsenal of social strategies. And there are multiple routes to social success. One strategy that can be just as unpleasant as it can be successful is the approach of bringing others down.

Five Basic Rules for Getting Along with Anyone, Anywhere

It’s inevitable that we face tough conversations in life. How you handle those conversations can make a world of difference to your well-being and the well-being of others. These 5 basic guidelines will ensure that, no matter what, your conversations will be productive and respectful.

5 Signs You're Trying too Hard to Please Everyone

Mentally strong people don't try to please everyone.

Rainforest and Nordic Countries Vie in Well-Being Index

Social well-being can be measured by various methods that give different results. Now Costa Rica shows that it's not only the Nordic countries that look so good in surveys of well-being and happiness in nations across the globe.

What It Really Means When Someone's "Dead to You"

From time to time, people “cut others off.” This happens in all kinds of social spheres. Evolutionary psychology can help us understand why. It can also help us understand how to do better than that …

Seeing Inequality--or Not

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on August 08, 2015 in Hidden Motives
The rich not only tend to care less than the poor about our growing economic inequality, but also they just don’t see it, according to recent studies reported in Psychological Science.

How Social Media May Be Making You a Nicer Person

You might worry that the use of social media is causing us to lose the ability to communicate in person, much less be able to relate to others in a positive way. New research shows how, and when the contrary may be true.

"Pro-Ana" Websites Encourage Anorexia

Websites advance the idea of anorexia nervosa as a lifestyle rather than a mental illness.

The Reality of Hooking Up at College

By Elena Weissmann on August 05, 2015 in Psy-College-y Today
Adults seem to think we’re these sex-crazed emotionless teenagers who have traded relationships for one-night stands, long conversations for heart emojis, romantic dinners for Tindr dates. Why this is a complete misperception.

Yet Another Reason Why It’s Good to Be a First-Born Child

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on July 31, 2015 in Social Instincts
New research finds that eldest siblings are better at picking up second languages.

The Psychology of Ghosting

By Jen Kim on July 29, 2015 in Valley Girl With a Brain
Ghosting occurs when the person you are dating suddenly disappears off the face of the planet. This can take the form of ignoring you, not responding to any attempts at communication and even pretending they legitimately don’t know you, even when you see them face-to-face. As the term suggests, they've vanished without a trace.

Can Artificial Intelligence Make Us Stupid?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in The Human Beast
Changing technology stimulates the brain and increases intelligence. But that may only be true if the technology challenges us. In a world run by intelligent machines, our lives could get a lot simpler. Would that make us less intelligent?

Over Ego

To say that one is better than average is a famous bias from the social psychology textbook. In this better-than-average post, I show that it is not irrational to do so.

Striving To Maximize Both Charm and Chutzpah

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 28, 2015 in Ambigamy
Etiquette is no longer enough to make a gentleman or gentlewoman, and actually never was. Aspiring gents must strive to maximize etiquette and character, humility and boldness, always seeking for better ways to speak their minds and be heard.

Why High School Stays with You Forever (Like It or Not)

For some of us, high school shines like an enchanted kingdom; for others, it is remembered as an endless Hell of daily torments. For most of us, it is something in between, but memorable nonetheless. Is it the collision between evolved psychological mechanisms and the nature of the modern high school that is to blame?

5 Ways to Deliver Bad News With a Minimum of Pain

Very few, if any, of us truly enjoys being the bearer of bad news. If you have no choice but to be that messenger, there are ways to get the job done with a minimum of damaged feelings. These 5 strategies will help you figure out how to make the best out of some of life’s unpleasant situations.

The Loneliness of Social Media: Part One

You may have seen "the baby whisperer" photo that went viral. What it teaches us about life and loneliness in the digital age is fascinating.

The Only Excuse You’ll Ever Need (or Should Ever Use)

When there’s something you’d rather not do, or wish you hadn’t done, an excuse might seem like the only graceful remedy. This simple guideline to making that excuse work will help you figure out how to make the best of that bad situation.

How Do You Really Know If You're Falling in Love?

Are you falling in love, or is this just a passing attraction?

The Stanford Prison Experiment Hits the Big Screen

Humans are clearly capable of greatness. But one of the best-known studies in the behavioral sciences tells us that human nature also has a dark side. A VERY dark side. And you can now see this for yourself in a theater new you …

How Much Is Your Reputation Really Worth?

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on July 09, 2015 in Social Instincts
New research explores when your reputation matters ...and when it doesn’t.

5 Signs That Men and Women Are Converging

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 08, 2015 in The Human Beast
Fairly rigid gender divisions of the past are giving way to a much more equal relationship for Millennials. Men's actions and sensibilities are converging with women in remarkable ways even as women begin to act, and feel more like men. What are the key signs that this is happening?

6 Ways to Get What You Want (Without Being Called a Whiner)

We tend to associate whining with the behavior of toddlers, but there are plenty of adults who could equal the whininess of any two-year-old. These 6 tips will help you turn your complaints into effective strategies to get others to gladly give you what you want.