Cookie-Based Research Suggests Powerful People Are Sloppier Eaters

This week's video in the University of California system's Fig. 1 YouTube series (tag line: "Get inside the mind of a researcher!") offers a bite-sized lesson in why, exactly, powerful people tend to be so selfish. » 1/14/15 4:30pm 1/14/15 4:30pm

Why Narcissism Is a Profoundly Misunderstood Psychological Disorder

The word 'narcissist' is used so much these days that you might think we're in the midst of an epidemic. But pathological narcissism is not just about having an inflated ego — it's a very serious psychological disorder. Here's why certain people are obsessed with themselves, and the gnawing fear that drives them. » 6/11/14 11:22am 6/11/14 11:22am

Can Animal Behavior Help Us Understand Empathy and Dehumanization?

She was just thirteen years old when my grandmother last saw her parents at Auschwitz. On Holocaust Remembrance Day, it's worth pausing to reflect on how our species led my grandmother to find herself in such a horrific place, and how it might have been avoided. » 4/28/14 8:04pm 4/28/14 8:04pm

When Was the Last Time You Felt Schadenfreude, and What Did It Mean?

So you've suffered an embarrassing and public setback, and the people who dislike you are rejoicing. Their glee at your misfortune is called schadenfreude. Should you hang your head in shame, or should you consider their happiness a huge compliment? » 4/16/14 10:00am 4/16/14 10:00am

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

Soldiers are developing relationships with their battlefield robots

Robots are playing an ever-increasing role on the battlefield. As a consequence, soldiers are becoming attached to their robots, assigning names, gender — and even holding funerals when they're destroyed. But could these emotional bonds affect outcomes in the war zone? » 9/19/13 8:40am 9/19/13 8:40am

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… » 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

Yawns are most contagious between family members

According to a study published yesterday in PLoS ONE, you're more likely to respond with a yawn to a family member's yawn than to a friend's yawn. (Be honest, how many of you just yawned?) » 12/08/11 2:42pm 12/08/11 2:42pm

Chimpanzee yawning could explain human empathy

Just like humans, chimpanzees yawn when they're bored or sleepy, and they also yawn contagiously when they see another chimp do it. That discovery could help unlock the secrets of human empathy. » 4/07/11 10:41am 4/07/11 10:41am

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