There are ways to temper your toughest critic and take constructive control of your feelings.
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Why we do what we do
Nigel Barber Ph.D.
If head and heart are at odds, emotion often wins out.
As countries grow they generate increasing amounts of pollution and garbage that damage the planet and crash ecosystems. Hence the emergence of frugal environmentalism.
Technology accelerates, a phenomenon that emerged with modern humans and is absent in other species that use tools.
Although we often distinguish narcissists from others, everyone has some degree of narcissism. What advantages could narcissism yield in the evolutionary past?
Humans generally leave more descendants if they marry someone who is not too closely related. Inbreeding is connected to the liberal-conservative continuum.
Agriculture increased food production but introduced hunger, social inequality, warfare, and epidemic diseases.
Skeptics are questioning whether renewable energy can rescue the planet from climate change given hidden costs.
Buying into the afterlife is rather like buying a lottery ticket.
Centenarians may have genetic advantages but there are several behavioral and psychological traits that most share.
Physical activity improves mental as well as physical skills.
In modern times, most people survive and reproduce despite their addictive behaviors. Are these due to a basic flaw in how our motivational systems work?
The social functions of sports change with economic development as young people prepare for a more complex way of life.
Many common airline practices could be interpreted as actual—if unintended—torture.
People divide into those with liberal leanings and those with a conservative slant. Biological theories emphasize differences in brain biology. Why did the difference evolve?
A great deal of evidence suggests that conservatives are more attuned to threat than liberals are. Yet, they seem impervious to the risks of climate change.
Happiness is an individual trait. Yet some countries, such as Denmark, consistently score close to the top on lists of the happiest places to live. Why?
In physically active subsistence societies, there is little obesity despite high food intake. Yet, exercise can have disappointing results in counteracting obesity.
Sexuality is about a lot more than reproduction. For our species, by far the most sex happens in contexts where conception is impossible.
Just as a picture gets divided into figure and ground, we divide the social world into us and them. How does that happen? Can it be reversed?
Alcohol in any quantity may cause health problems, according to recent research. That settles a medical problem, but opens a behavioral one.
When inhabitants move to a developed country, they become wealthier. Their productivity rises and they earn substantially more. How is this miracle accomplished?
The global economy shapes our lives but trade was minor prior to agriculture. Why did our ancestors begin trading? Why have we switched from subsistence to trading?
Prosperity plays favorites in unexpected ways.
War is one evil product of agriculture and industry. Population collapse is another.
Why have modern societies become more accepting of sexual diversity than earlier periods?
As women gain economic and political power, their beauty should matter less, yet this is not happening. Why?
Immigrants have always represented a transfusion of human capital, dynamism, and creativity to the receiving country, despite heated political rhetoric to the contrary.
Popular prescriptions for environmental action make us feel better—like a religious ritual—but may ignore scientific evidence.
Humans prosper everywhere. Are we still evolving?
Women may be achieving greater representation in government around the globe today, but the backdrop is male dominance.
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.