There are many temptations to organize our life around the experience of earlier trauma. But that may short-change the future—which starts by our envisioning something better.
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Why we do what we do
Nigel Barber Ph.D.
A resurgence of facial hair among political extremists, nonconformists, and others is often discussed as a fashion but has an evolutionary history in sexual signaling.
Given constant access to electronic devices, how can young people avoid body image problems?
Human communities are categorized as simple or complex, settled or nomadic, foragers or farmers. Actual human groups may defy sharp social categories and so do other species.
Predators cannot wipe out their prey without disappearing themselves. The development of effective weapons for killing at a distance tipped the balance against our large prey.
Groups encourage, and sometimes enforce, conformity with possible adverse effects.
Dogs are very useful to us. A lesser-told story is the very great reliance of dogs on people for their food, for shelter, and for protection from larger predators.
Hostility can have a defensive function. Yet, grudges often get out of proportion to real threats. Why?
Some economists are calling out Bitcoin and its ilk as just another Ponzi scheme. Is that accurate?
Internet dating is far from an ideal way of meeting new people. Excessive focus on a few criteria excludes many users.
China's decline is predicted by low birth rates, rising xenophobia, political oppression, and creeping inequality.
Animals who run to stay alive, like gazelles, never pause to stretch before running.
Although fewer people die violently today than in earlier history, our contemporary news and entertainment are literally, and figuratively, drenched in blood. Why?
The Viagra and Alzheimer's link may generate useful efforts at forestalling dementia, or it may prove to be a false lead.
Testosterone increases aggression and sex drive in other mammals. What about humans?
High rates of alcohol consumption produce many severe social consequences. If Prohibition had worked out, would we be better off right now?
World leaders have committed to ambitious climate targets. Unfortunately, they are doing little to reach them.
Mentors mainly teach us how to approach success, how to be winners. Few teach us a much more valuable lesson—how to cope with failure.
Is criticism of Facebook, and other social media, a case of the paranoia that greets all new technologies, or is there genuine cause for concern?
Social prominence emerged with hereditary wealth and the rise of states, armies, and religious institutions. Influencers acquire a novel form of status on the Internet.
The inclusion of meme stocks on the Robinhood trading platform suggests it is a great time to revisit the origin of memes in evolutionary theory.
How hard people work in different societies offers a fascinating glimpse into both their quality of life and their aspiration for improvement.
Are we as happy and healthy as our remote ancestors? Can we make our way back to their level of social cohesion?
For most great scientists, one big idea is more than enough!
The central topic of evolution is adaptation. Adaptation means solving problems, and this means reacting appropriately to environmental changes, including by modern humans.
The notion of humans being evil is ancient but is it right?
In Asian countries that had lived through SARS epidemics and prolonged mandatory masking, people had no trouble masking up.
Leading polluters are getting together to tackle climate change, manifesting a shared sense of urgency. Why is this urgency finally peaking now?
When customers buy luxury brands, they are investing as much in product reputation as they are in the product.
Large cities have a remarkable force of attraction that tends to overcome disasters such as the pandemic.
New devices have demonstrated that electrical stimulation from outside sources can alter brain function.
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.