Smoking in Adaptive Perspective

People continue to smoke at the expense of survival, vigor, and reproductive success. Why?

Roy Moore and Sexual Abuse of Young Women

Conservative politicians seem compelled by a malicious elf to behave in ways that expose their rabid hypocrisies in public.

Sexual Variety

There is an astonishing amount of variation in sexual behavior around the globe and over time. Many of these differences can be explained as adaptive responses to the environment.

Is Psychology Responsible for the Unabomber?

According to the documentary “Manhunt," unethical research by Henry Murray motivated terrorism.

High Self-Esteem: Good or Bad?

Americans have high self-esteem and young people feel particularly good about themselves. Is this beneficial for health and well-being?

Does Cutting Taxes Sap Productivity?

The bigger the government, the more productive the workers.

Anxiety Springs Eternal

Anxiety is the unsolvable problem that gives rise to many others, from addiction and suicide to depression, obesity, and economic failure.

The Sexiest Time of the Year

Like many other mammals, humans are seasonal breeders.

Our Civiliation is Doomed!

If one studies ancient complex civilizations, the prognosis is bleak. All failed, generally quite spectacularly and with remarkable speed. Can ours be any different?

The Shrinking Breast Fashion

Women seeking breast augmentation are opting for smaller sizes than previously. Why the change?

Wealthy Is as Wealthy Feels

How satisfied people are with their lifestyle has almost nothing to do with objective realities and everything to do with where they see themselves in the pecking order.

Can Woodpeckers Save Football?

Woodpeckers hurl their heads at massive trees a hundred times a minute. Yet, they evidently experience no brain damage. How do they do it?

How Awful is Work, Really?

People talk about work as though it were before the Industrial Revolution. In reality work today is much better but our perceptions have not kept track.

Preventing Hangovers

They can have adverse effects on productivity, health, and well being. Is there an effective remedy?

Why Religions Support Elites

Pope Francis acts out the humility preached by Christian ascetics for two millennia. Yet, he owns what is probably the most valuable art collection in the world.

Real Reasons for Sex Before Marriage

More people today are sexually active before marriage than ever before. The true reasons are practical and have little to do with changing belief systems.

Secrets of Sexual Attraction

The problem of how different tastes in physical attraction emerge is surprisingly complex. Influences range from brain biology to fashions.

What It Means to Be a Human

From Darwin onwards, scholars struggled to define our species. There are two leading theories, but neither seems workable.

Hating the Elite

Many deride the wealthy elite as symbols of inequality in democratic societies supposedly founded on equality. Why do people hate them so much?

Going Cold Turkey on Screens

Modern humans enjoy a much faster pace of life than our subsistence ancestors, makes us smarter but contributing to anxiety and health problems. Can we slow to a healthier pace?

Taking One's Cue from Others

All social animals are affected by what others around them are doing. Humans are no exception.

Are Dogs Self-Aware?

The standard test of self-awareness is being able to recognize ourselves in a mirror. Although chimpanzees pass this test with flying colors, dogs flunk.

The Autism-Genius Connection

Some people are exceptionally good at focusing on rarefied abstract problems. Some of these have exceptionally high IQ. Some are autistic. Some are both.

Is The Digital Age Inhabited by Stone-Age People?

Pessimists cite our reptilian brain as the source of random acts of violence. Even optimists brood darkly about the inner caveman who indulges in road rage.

Why Religion Evolved

Religion consumes up to a tenth of economic productivity in some societies. So it must produce corresponding benefits. What are they?

How Men Attract Women

How men attract women is a much more difficult question than vice-versa because women are both more selective, and also more individualistic in what they want.

Are Humans Adapted to Modern Environments?

Our two main theories of human behavior do a poor job of explaining how humans change to meet the demands of varied environments – but we do.

Your Brain on Text

Athletes look different from non athletes. Similarly, the brains of literate people are different from those who do not read.

Can Modern People Survive in the Wild?

The history of European explorers contains nasty stories of intelligent people failing to adapt to harsh new environments. One exception may be Viking colony in Greenland.

Why Women Want to Lose Weight

In subsistence societies, heavier women are perceived as fertile and sexually attractive. In developed countries, women strive to be more slender. Why?