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Why we do what we do
Nigel Barber Ph.D.
The key question about the adoption of agriculture is motivational. Did our ancestors gravitate to the hard labor on farms because they grasped its potential for increasing food?
A persistent wage gap in pay between men and women is often interpreted as clear evidence of gender discrimination. Another interpretation looks at job choice.
In a period when some politicians are exhibiting stereotypical male primate behavior, it is refreshing to ask whether we are really in control of ourselves.
Environmentalists encourage us to cut down on meat consumption in favor of vegetable foods that are less damaging to the environment. Is that a good idea for our health?
People who are committed to a long term goal that is not purely selfish are happier, healthier and live longer. This challenges Darwinism that presupposes a nastier social order.
Behaviorists used to argue that people were blank slates in the sense that almost all of our behavior was learned. Evolutionary psychologists disagree. Who is correct?
The fact that men and women were reliably different around the globe was a foundation of evolutionary psychology. This idea is challenged by rising gender equality.
Most people make love when they go to bed, which is usually at night. Why are human sex and sleep so intertwined?
Economic development goes along with a temperate climate, such as Europe's. Conversely, most of the poorest countries in the world are concentrated in the steamy tropics. Why?
A recent decision by French news outlets may mark a turning point in our understanding of the phenomenon of modern terrorism.
Narcissism is a personality dimension as well as a clinical diagnosis.
There is little change in happiness between ages 20 to 60. At the age of 60, happiness increases noticeably but there is a strong decline after age 75.
Napoleon said that an army marches on its stomach. Now, economists conclude that how well fed a nation is drives the economy.
Contrary to a well-worn slogan, it really is guns that shoot people. This principle is shockingly revealed by comparisons of police shootings between the US and other countries.
Depersonalized sexuality is typically masculine. That is why most of the customers for pornography and prostitution are still men. But this is changing as more women objectify.
We are all concerned about the environment and about what life will be like for generations yet unborn. So the idea of local sourcing is becoming very popular.
Throughout history, the taller candidate has had an advantage in presidential elections. Why is that? Does the advantage of taller stature make it more difficult for women to win?
Parents send their tearful child to bed with the assertion that tomorrow is another day. Yet, the concept of the future is poorly developed in small children.
The epidemic of depression that emerged with urbanization in the US is often attributed to loneliness in large cities. Perhaps it is also due to less opportunities to express joy.
In an earlier post, I argued that the historicity of Jesus was doubtful. Now, new scholarship comes as close as possible to settling the issue.
A lot of Americans are feeling disgruntled about how they are treated in the current economy – as highlighted by the popularity of presidential candidates like Sanders and Trump.
The key quality of pathological anxiety is that it is out of proportion to any actual threat. Why do people endanger their health by being extremely anxious in this way?
The sexual exploits of male rock stars is legendary and their sexual magnetism draws an endless supply of enthusiastic female partners. So do men get creative for sex?
Most of us struggle to make a living and aspire to a future where money is less of an issue. What would our lives be like if we became wealthy enough to abandon the rat race?
In his book, The rise and Fall of American Growth, Robert Gordon argues that America's exceptional growth is over, and that innovation isn't what it used to be.
Given the pain of conflicts from Ukraine to Syria, it might seem strange to argue that major wars are declining, but they are.
When readers select from an online menu of casual reading, what do they want? Researchers set out to solve this problem by analyzing what gets shared.
A recent find of hunter-gatherer war dead on the shores of Lake Turkana, Kenya, reignited an old controversy. Did our pre-agricultural ancestors fight wars, or were they peaceful?
After years of hearing that vitamin supplementation was protective of health, we are now hearing that they are a waste of money for people with an adequate diet.
We are accustomed to thinking about occupations in terms of opportunity. One assumes that an employee acquires skills and becomes more valuable, better paid, and happier.
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.