Why do we feel the pain of bad guys more than the good guys?

Whether it be in movies or real life, we don’t tend to feel sorry for the villains. But strangely, and even a bit disturbingly, we often empathize more with the pain they experience. A new study offers a potential answer to this puzzling phenomenon — and it may have something to do with wanting to keep our enemies… » 10/17/13 8:00am 10/17/13 8:00am

So apparently men with small balls are better dads

Researchers from Emory University have discovered that fathers with smaller testicles are more likely to be involved in caregiving activities like diaper changes, feeding, and nap time. Brains scans also show higher activity in their reward system. But the study is far from complete in its assessment. » 9/10/13 9:40am 9/10/13 9:40am

Is human super-intelligence a bad idea?

Advocates of human enhancement often say that we ought to increase our intelligence as a species. But the consequences of actually doing this have never fully been explored. An excessive amount of intelligence might actually prove to be a bad thing — and a distraction from what really matters. » 7/10/13 1:11pm 7/10/13 1:11pm

How could we engineer humans to have more empathy?

People are capable of amazing kindness, but also of unbelievable callousness. We go out of our way to help strangers, but we also turn a blind eye to misery. But what if you could make human beings kind all the time? What does science teach us about empathy, and how to create it in people? We decided to ask the… » 6/19/13 5:14pm 6/19/13 5:14pm

What can we learn from the real superhumans among us?

Humans are a genetically diverse bunch. Some of us are born with extraordinary perceptual powers — neurological gifts that biologists might eventually be able to provide for the rest of us. But do we really want to have some of these 'superhuman' quirks? » 6/05/13 5:05pm 6/05/13 5:05pm

If you can make it through this video without yawning, you're probably…

We're really loving this yawn compilation exercise in sympathetic yawn repression. It's a video by filmmaker Daniel Mercadante (titled "Yawns," naturally). Assembled from clips of the best yawn footage the internet has to offer, it may be the most definitive proof ever that yawns are contagious. Seriously — we defy you… » 2/19/13 10:43am 2/19/13 10:43am

Our brains can be logical and compassionate — just not at the same time

The human brain is unquestioningly an amazing thing. But for all its strengths, it can be pretty glitchy at times. And indeed, as new research from Case Western Reserve has revealed, our brains have two very important functions that tend to work quite well - just not simultaneously. It turns out that when we're being… » 11/01/12 8:02am 11/01/12 8:02am

Empathic Virtual Humans will Pass the Voight-Kampff Test

The robotic Replicants in Blade Runner were indistinguishable from humans except for their lack of empathy. Now researchers are creating virtual humans that can detect human emotions through non-verbal cues and develop appropriate responses. This could lead to artificial life forms who are not only intelligent, but… » 12/08/08 2:07pm 12/08/08 2:07pm