Thinking collectively to understand the social intelligence of animals-including us
Could the key to social intelligence lie in the synchronization of brains, allowing group interactions to be made? If so, should social neuroscience now focus on the group rather than the individual?
Amazon indigenous group's lifestyle may hold a key to slowing down aging
As a young PhD student, I spent a year living with hunter-gatherers. One of the things I noticed was an almost complete absence of cognitive decline with old age. I surmised that this lifestyle was far more in tune with our human “design-specs” and therefore created far less stress on their overall system.
Innovation is widespread in rural areas, not just cities
This “hidden” innovation brings economic benefits to businesses and communities, according to researchers, whose findings will help decision makers think in new ways about innovation and how they can support it.
Climate change felled the Assyrian Empire
Survival of our civilization may be what the next elections in developed nations are all about. And that may be the least of it. Recent discoveries have suggested that our late cousins the Neanderthals, and our ancestors, homo erectus, were both wiped out by climate change. Is this what we really want for us?
How human population growth came from our ability to cooperate
Humans may owe their place as Earth’s dominating species to their ability to share and cooperate with each other. The hunter-gatherer hunting or gathering teams consisted of between three and seven individuals. This is exactly the number that modern high performing teams are made up of.
The problem of Post-urban development
Contemporary mega cities have lost normal city features, according to an interesting research piece. This puts us all in some mental danger.
Affable apes live longer.
The study that stands out is one that shows that male chimps who are less aggressive and form strong social bonds tend to live longer. There is a growing realization that personality traits have an effect on health in all species—even chickens—and this study adds to this body of research.
We’re hardwired for envy.
A study on macaques by researchers at the US National Institute for Physiological Sciences has identified part of the brain that registers when another macaque receives a reward, showing that this affects the value we place on our own resources and rewards, thus providing an insight into the emotion of envy.
People show confirmation bias even in trivial things
It has been long known that people tend to interpret new information in a way that supports their pre-existing beliefs, a phenomenon known as confirmation bias. Once they’ve decided which house to buy, which school to send their kids to, or which political candidate to vote for, they tend to interpret new evidence such that it reassures them they’ve made the right call. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology have shown that people will do the same thing even when the decision they’ve made pertains to a choice that is rather less consequential, for example: which direction a series of dots is moving and whether the average of a series of numbers is greater or less than 50?
The value of pride
The intensity of pride people feel in a given act or trait is governed by what others value, according to a piece of really interesting research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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