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human behavior

Online Civility

Aug 1, 2011
Photo by Basheer Tome (Flickr)

We used to discuss the news around the water cooler, at the barbershop and sometimes at dinner. Now, we can get right online and tell people how we REALLY feel...

Is there anyplace more cringe-worthy than the “comments section” of a news website?

The intentions were good: providing readers with a place to discuss the stories.

But all too frequently there’s name-calling and hateful comments, all disguised by anonymous “handles.”

Do Children Get the Short End of the Stick?

Aug 1, 2011
blakespot via Flickr

WNPR & Your Public Media contributor Heather Brandon has accepted our challenge to complete a media fast. She'll be abstaining from all media Monday, August 1 - Thursday, August 4 and will be interviewed, along with Tom Cooper, author of Fast Media, Media Fast: How to Clear Your Mind and Invigorate Your Life In an Age of Media Overload about her fast on the Thursday, August 4 edition of "Where We Live."  No internet surfing, no television, no video games. This is her diary.

Saying Goodbye to Facebook, Twitter

Jul 29, 2011
Rachel Chapman

WNPR & Your Public Media contributor Heather Brandon has accepted our challenge to complete a media fast. She'll be abstaining from all media Monday, August 1 - Thursday, August 4 and will be interviewed, along with Tom Cooper, author of Fast Media, Media Fast: How to Clear Your Mind and Invigorate Your Life In an Age of Media Overload about her fast on the Thursday, August 4 edition of "Where We Live."  No internet surfing, no television, no video games. This is her diary.

Collaborative Consumption

Jul 28, 2011
Book Cover Design by Nicholas Blechman

We all have junk...maybe too much. You know, the stuff we just don’t use that much. But what if there was a way to make better use of it?

For instance, you use a lawn mower once every few weeks. Your weed-whacker might get used once a year. So why spend hundreds of dollars on something that only occasionally gets used?

That’s one of the questions being asked by people taking part in what is being called “Collaborative Consumption.” Why buy something when you can swap, share, barter, trade or rent for it instead?

When Is It OK To Applaud?

Jul 5, 2011
Flickr Creative Commons, Cameraman Phil

A couple of weeks ago, I got a press release from a Connecticut theater company touting the merits of a play they had up and running.

Putting Humanity Back Into Medicine

Jun 6, 2011
Brittany G, Creative Commons

Doctors get years of training in medicine, but what’s often left out is humanity.

The relationship between doctor and patient is among the most important many of us will have in their lives, yet it’s becoming increasingly depersonalized thanks to overwhelming patient loads.

But there’s a growing field of study - and practice - that aims at putting the humanities back into doctor’s training...to better treat the humans they serve.

Traffic

Jun 1, 2011

How do we heal difficult relationships and nurture healthy ones?  What is the significance of relationships in our spiritual life?  In his book, John E. Welshons says:  

Memorials

May 31, 2011
karu101, Creative Commons

Connecticut is host to hundreds of war memorials and monuments dating back all the way back to the Civil War. These memorials are usually very literal - depictions of heroic figures or commemorations of the war dead. Or they are truly monumental: points of civic pride meant to be gathering places for the community. But over time, memorials have grown increasingly conceptual and abstract, and are often a touchstone for controversy.

In The Liar in Your Life, psychology professor Robert Feldman, one of the world's leading authorities on deception, draws on his immense body of knowledge to give fresh insights into how and why we lie, how our culture has become increasingly tolerant of deception, the cost it exacts on us, and what to do about it. His work is at once surprising and sobering, full of corrections for common myths and explanations of pervasive oversimplifications. 

Loyalty

May 27, 2011
Hartford J Strong

Playdate

May 26, 2011

Inside their picture-perfect homes, the residents of this quiet California suburb are not at all what they seem.

Lance is a former weatherman, now a buff yogi, stay-at-home dad, and manager of his daughter’s Girl Scout troop’s cookie distribution. Belle is his precocious and quick-witted daughter. Darlene is a classic Type A work-a-holic, she has little time or patience for the needs of her husband and daughter.

The Science Of Annoying

May 19, 2011
Editor B, Creative Commons

You’re on the train, listening to only one half of somebody else’s inane conversation.  That is so annoying!

What else annoys you?  Lip-smacking at the dinner table, slow drivers in the left lane, someone singing (ever so slightly) off key.  Let’s see, I’ve gotten some of these from people: Close talkers, crying kids on a plane, the toilet seat left up (sorry ladies), texting during a movie (or during dinner, or during an important conversation)...

Being Pagan

May 16, 2011
Flickr Creative Commons, epimetheus

In 1979, Margot Adler's book "Drawing Down the Moon" drew back the curtain on a highly developed and surprisingly well-populated world of of wiccans, covens, neopagans, goddess-worshipers, druids and even a group of people calling themselves "Radical faeries."

Roots of Prejudice

May 16, 2011
Linda, Creative Commons

Prejudice is one of the more troubling and baffling aspects of human nature

It has been the subject of scientific study for years.  But while social psychologists have learned a great deal about attitudes and societal influences that cause intergroup conflict, little effort has been devoted to understanding how adult humans come to have these biases in the first place.  So a Yale study set out to discover the roots of human prejudice, by studying groups of rhesus monkeys.

creative commons, t.spang

Addicted to Food

Apr 25, 2011
stev.ie, creative commons

Cocaine v. Chocolate Milkshake? Could there be a similarity?  

One Yale researcher says that addictions to both food and drugs have similar reactions on the brain. Using an MRI, participants’ brains were scanned while looking at and eating a chocolate milkshake.

Roots of Prejudice

Apr 6, 2011
Linda, Creative Commons

Prejudice is one of the more troubling and baffling aspects of human nature

It has been the subject of scientific study for years.  But while social psychologists have learned a great deal about attitudes and societal influences that cause intergroup conflict, little effort has been devoted to understanding how adult humans come to have these biases in the first place.  So a Yale study set out to discover the roots of human prejudice, by studying groups of rhesus monkeys.

creative commons, Mr. Muggles

Winning

Mar 14, 2011
D. Basu, Creative commons

You can win the peace, win the future, win the game, win the lottery, or if you’re Charlie Sheen you can just be “A Winner.”

You’ve heard variations on the saying, “Winning isn’t everything…it’s the only thing.”  Motivational, to be sure – but when winning is the only goal, does that make most of us “losers?

What UConn Huskies and Crows Have in Common

Mar 14, 2011
photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/malfet/

A Yale University ecologist has turned to college basketball to explain patterns of biodiversity. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen takes us down the court.

Ecologist Robert Warren is a post-doc at Yale’s environmental school. He says in any natural system you’ll find “a remarkably consistent” pattern:

"No matter what system you're in... jungle, woodland, you get a few very common species and lots of uncommon. And this is really intriguing for ecologists because there are very few patterns that we see repeatedly that are kind of universal.”

creative commons, TarahDawdy

We have oceans of information at our disposal, yet we increasingly seek knowledge in online headlines glimpsed on the run. We are networked as never before, but we connect with friends and family via e-mail and fleeting face-to-face moments that are rescheduled and interrupted a dozen times. Despite our wondrous technologies and scientific advances, we are nurturing a culture of diffusion, fragmentation, and detachment.

Stuck

Mar 10, 2011

In this book, Anneli Rufus identifies an intriguing aspect of our culture: Many of us are stuck. Be it in the wrong relationship, career, or town, or just with bad habits we can't seem to quit, we even say we want to make a change, but . . . Merging interviews, personal anecdotes, and cultural criticism, Stuck is a wise and passionate exploration of the dreams we hold dearest for ourselves-and the road to actually achieving them.

Emerging Adults

Feb 28, 2011
archie4oz, creative commons

Step aside “quarter life crisis” -  there’s a new term for 20-somethings in that transition phase of their lives.  He calls it “emerging adulthood”

Dr. Jeffrey Arnett claims that in the past half century, the experience of people aged 18 to 29 has changed dramatically - at least in some societies.

Most young people now postpone marriage and parenthood until at least their late twenties, and spend their late teens through their mid-20s in self-focused exploration, trying out different possibilities in love and work.

Flickr Creative Commons, Chascow

Earlier this week, Bernie Madoff gave an interview to a reporter working on a book called "Wizard of Lies, Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust." Wow. Prison must be really boring if he's willing to give that writer his time.

Flickr Creative Commons, dickuhne

There's a kind of madness overtaking us.

In The Liar in Your Life, psychology professor Robert Feldman, one of the world's leading authorities on deception, draws on his immense body of knowledge to give fresh insights into how and why we lie, how our culture has become increasingly tolerant of deception, the cost it exacts on us, and what to do about it. His work is at once surprising and sobering, full of corrections for common myths and explanations of pervasive oversimplifications. 

Packing A Political Punch

Oct 29, 2010

If you've noticed the political campaigns this year, they haven't exactly been rich with issues and evidence.   You're more likely to hear emotions, anger, empathy and fear. This is the world that Drew Westen studies. He is professor of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University, and author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation (2007), an  investigation into the role of emotion in determining the political life of the nation.

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