Loneliness is a complex problem of epidemic proportions, affecting millions from all walks of life.
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Why we do what we do
Nigel Barber Ph.D.
Technology changes societies. Just as the Industrial Revolution stole power from the landed gentry, online social networks challenge government authority.
As a rule, when countries become more affluent, their residents get more liberal, more open to other groups. Why is that rule failing now?
What are we to make of evidence that other species sometimes outdo humans in cognitive tests?
When people opt for surgery, what are their motives? Are they satisfied with the outcome?
The intersection between public acts of grisly violence and the mass media was apparent from the beginning of the school shootings phenomenon.
More than a third of female workers report being sexually harassed at work.
Why is the problem so common?
Why do children resemble parents? Since Charles Darwin's time, many of the brightest biologists who wrestled with this problem came away feeling bruised.
When Darwin was a young man, religious people took to the hills, fields, streams, and moors to pursue enthusiasms for birds, butterflies, and flowers. Here's why.
Bitcoin and other crypto currencies may belong with the dot-com boom, and much earlier manias such as the South Sea bubble and tulip mania.
Scientific literature is designed to omit personal feelings and discourage spontaneity and originality. Is that a mistake?
Why have the habits of the Upstairs Downstairs world departed? What are they for? Have they always existed?
Urban societies of the past all collapsed. Ecological instability seems inevitable. This resembles locust swarms that devastate their ecology.
Parents invest more in their children than they receive in return, and such paying forward makes adaptive sense.
People continue to smoke at the expense of survival, vigor, and reproductive success. Why?
Conservative politicians seem compelled by a malicious elf to behave in ways that expose their rabid hypocrisies in public.
There is an astonishing amount of variation in sexual behavior around the globe and over time. Many of these differences can be explained as adaptive responses to the environment.
According to the documentary “Manhunt," unethical research by Henry Murray motivated terrorism.
Americans have high self-esteem and young people feel particularly good about themselves. Is this beneficial for health and well-being?
The bigger the government, the more productive the workers.
Anxiety is the unsolvable problem that gives rise to many others, from addiction and suicide to depression, obesity, and economic failure.
Like many other mammals, humans are seasonal breeders.
If one studies ancient complex civilizations, the prognosis is bleak. All failed, generally quite spectacularly and with remarkable speed. Can ours be any different?
Women seeking breast augmentation are opting for smaller sizes than previously. Why the change?
How satisfied people are with their lifestyle has almost nothing to do with objective realities and everything to do with where they see themselves in the pecking order.
Woodpeckers hurl their heads at massive trees a hundred times a minute. Yet, they evidently experience no brain damage. How do they do it?
People talk about work as though it were before the Industrial Revolution. In reality work today is much better but our perceptions have not kept track.
They can have adverse effects on productivity, health, and well being. Is there an effective remedy?
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.
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.
The problem of how different tastes in physical attraction emerge is surprisingly complex. Influences range from brain biology to fashions.
Nigel Barber, Ph.D., is an evolutionary psychologist as well as the author of Why Parents Matter and The Science of Romance, among other books.