Science is finally making real progress on the question of how our species achieved a mostly nonviolent social harmony. … More The Decline of Violence in Homo sapiens
New research on attraction reveals how this multidimensional phenomenon integrates in our mind. … More Attraction and Mate Choice in Humans
[This is a quick summary of the second chapter of my book, Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals on play and recreation. The thesis of the book is that we can better understand human behaviors by studying their equivalents in other animals.] Isn’t playing a pointless distraction for an animal? At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be any … More What is the value of play?
That “guilty dog” look is the product of millions of years of evolution and is actually a sophisticated social communiqué. … More Borrowed Signals: A Discussion of the “Guilty Dog” Look
The “pain grimace” is quite similar in many mammals, but where did it come from and why do we do it? … More Why do We and Other Animals Wince When in Pain?
A new study shows how immune activity can affect social behavior in order to limit the spread of an infection. … More More evidence Connecting the Immune System with Social Behavior, with Implications for Neurodiversity
A population of Mountain Gorillas recently underwent a complete upheaval in the most central aspects of their gender-based social structures. If they can do it, so can we. … More What Mountain Gorillas Can Teach Us about Gendered Behaviors
Traumatic memories are especially prone to distortion and exaggeration over time, complicating recovery of PTSD. But could this phenomenon have once brought evolutionary value? … More Why does Trauma Cause Memory Distortion?
It is not uncommon among social mammals to engage in division of labor between the sexes. Female lions do all of the hunting; males loaf around and occasionally fight other males. Chimpanzees have a strictly male-dominated social hierarchy, while bonobos employ a matriarchal structure in which dominance is enforced by females. These sex roles can … More Did Neanderthals Have Gender Roles in their Division of Labor?
The complex sets of drives and calculations that we call morality rise from our basic human instincts toward reciprocity, fairness, and empathy. These instincts are called prosocial because they promote cohesion and harmony in the social context of herds, packs, and families. However, humans are not alone in having prosocial instincts. Many, indeed MOST, mammals show prosocial … More The moral codes of other human species