Social Life Essential Reads

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

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.

The Sexism in Science Controversies

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on July 02, 2015 in Rabble Rouser
Are scientific claims of sexism in science overstated?

The No-Vacation Nation

By Shimi Kang M.D. on July 01, 2015 in The Dolphin Way
Who killed summer vacation? That’s the million dollar question - literally. We’ve all seen it. Most of us have even been this person at one point or another: You know, the one who sits poolside at a resort glued to their smartphone or laptop, and whose entire holiday itinerary revolves around whether or not WiFi will be readily available.

3 Reasons Not to Spend Your Money on Things

By Amie M. Gordon PhD on June 30, 2015 in Between You and Me
The other weekend I went to the mall in search of new running shoes. When I arrived, the parking lot was so full that I had to circle around before I found a spot. The stores were equally crowded inside. Apparently none of these shoppers had read Leaf Van Boven's 2005 review article highlighting the benefits of spending money on experiences over material goods.

The Truth Behind Your Rainbow Profile Picture

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on June 29, 2015 in Friendship 2.0
In a spontaneous and beautiful display of support, many people rainbow-tinted their profile pics to celebrate marriage equality. What many did not know was how much cold, hard data analysis goes on about their decision to do so.

Sober Summer!

For those trying to cut back on their drinking or for sober alcoholics, the summertime and the many celebrations that accompany it can be temptations.Many will report that the warm weather, the outdoor bars, family gatherings, vacations, the beach, sporting events, etc. can bring back memories of “the good ole’ days”. Here are some tips for sober summertime fun!

Born in the USA

When the 4th of July comes around, do you find yourself getting all patriotic? That’s OK – it’s part of our evolved coalitional psychology. Read on to find out why!

Aztec Marriage: A Lesson for Chief Justice Roberts

No, the Supreme Court did not overthrow Aztec marriage today. When claims that marriage has been a single "social institution" that formed the basis for human society get strange...

A 20-Second Experiment in Racial Stereotypes

A 20-second demonstration of where stereotypes come from. Knowledge is power.

The Psychology of Competition

Competitions are fun, let’s be honest. At one point or another, you probably have enjoyed being part of some kind of competition. Of course, competitions are more fun if you actually “win” (but for you to win, someone else must lose). Given this basic inequality: can competitions promote pro-social behavior?

Want to Make More Friends? Get a Dog

New data confirms that walking your dog makes it more likely that you will know your neighborhood and form friendships in your community.

9 Ways to Handle Nosy People

Some questions are just too personal, but you’re worried that if you don’t answer them, you’ll seem rude. These 9 tips will give you a graceful way to duck the question and help you protect you from future, similar, assaults on your privacy. You'll also gain important insight into yourself and your sensitivities in the process.

Love for a Killer: "A Very Evil Kid”

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on June 22, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
When Adam Lanza massacred school children, people asked about his genes. But that was the wrong question. Genes are inert without experience. Families of victims of Dylann Roof’s gun rampage forgave him. It’s a show of love that he probably needed much earlier in his life.

How Phones Are Tearing Us Apart

By Guest Bloggers on June 19, 2015 in Brainstorm
Research suggests that smartphones may decrease our trust in one another, lower the quality of our relationships, and degrade the quality of our conversations.

Humanizing the “Mentally Ill”

Want evidence to believe in the human spirit? Want to see how the world looks from the most stigmatized element of society? Check out Infinitely Polar Bear.

Hooking It Up

Mobile apps like Tinder and The Grade not only make hooking up easier, but they also provide far more equal opportunity.

Owning Our Psychological Dark Matter

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 14, 2015 in Ambigamy
When we divvy responsibility for problems, we tend to take responsibility for consciously but not unconsciously motivated error, which can cause additional problems.