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human behavior

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.

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. 

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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