Our eyes, gestures, and tone bring us together in a more profound way than words alone. It’s why we look hopefully toward the return of in-person, face-to-face connection.
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Why we do what we do
Nigel Barber Ph.D.
Animals must benefit from current opportunities to survive, whether to feed, to evade predators, or to mate.
When poets and rock stars die young, we may attribute the tragic early loss to a pattern, such as the seemingly cursed age of 27 years.
Early humans migrated widely through Eurasia. Why were they so restless and why did their great-ape ancestors remain in place?
Even as many of us are trapped indoors due to the pandemic, our moods rise on bright days and plumb the depths after days of rain.
The coronavirus pandemic may tell us whether we can resolve climate change by modifying individual behavior.
In wartime, national leaders generally become extremely popular. Think Winston Churchill during the war, or George W. Bush after 9/11.
Garret Hardin's analysis of commons grazing systems concluded that they are inherently dysfunctional and disintegrate due to human greed— but the commons flourish, even today.
Recent survey data show that Republicans are significantly less likely than Democrats to view the coronavirus as a valid threat.
When our ancestors settled down on permanent farms, agriculture was born. When agriculture became super productive, cities were born.
When it comes to personal appearance, novelist Virginia Woolf was probably correct. Her satirical question may have been rhetorical, but it does have an answer.
If we did not experience emotions, life might not be worth living. Negative emotions also give rise to most of the pain we experience.
The belief in getting something for nothing is a compelling illusion that boosts shopping.
Guilt about weight is unhelpful, but arguing that we have no control over our weight is even worse.
Some occupations remain very segregated by gender. Some of these differences reflect evolutionary specializations of men and women.
The key problem with capitalism is a conflict between workers and owners. We see this in the increasing luxury of owners and the bitter economic struggles of workers.
Some penguin populations are crumbling in the face of Antarctic warming. Others are changing their behavior and prospering telling us a great deal about human adaptability.
If we understood what idleness can do for our brains, perhaps we would encourage it more.
Environmentalists believe that individual actions can save the environment from carbon pollution. One such action is driving electric cars that emit no carbon while running.
The modern human environment is replete with substances that mimic sex hormones. Could these chemicals play a role in contemporary gender fluidity?
Many domestic animals can prosper in the wild despite having adapted to thousands of years in captivity.
Some in-laws get along better than blood relatives. Yet, family conflicts often divide along bloodlines. This reflects real conflicts of interest more than genetic relatedness.
The memories of skilled storytellers may seem remarkable but probably have fairly mundane explanations.
Recent exaggerated claims that owning a dog could increase life expectancy provide a cautionary tale in how scientific research is interpreted.
In an era of increasing gender fluidity, it is worth asking whether gender differences in psychology have been overstated in the past. Non-humans offer helpful hints.
Software developers know what makes us click. So what does Internet addiction really mean?
Environmentalists have finally come up with at least one practical remedy for climate change.
Parkinson's Law sought to explain low productivity for bureaucrats. Is this generalization true?
To mock is to disparage, and to bring down. In a world of political correctness, group differences are played down and so is identity-based humor.
There is little doubt that evolution happens, or that humans are products of evolution by natural selection.
Effects of the two main cannabinoids, CBD and THC, are very different. Unfortunately, the legalization debate conflates the two cannabis products.
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.