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Bering in Mind

Bering in Mind


A research psychologist's curious look at human behavior
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    Jesse Bering Jesse Bering is Associate Professor of Science Communication at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He is the author of The Belief Instinct (2011), Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? (2012) and Perv (2013). To learn more about Jesse's work, visit www.jessebering.com or add him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jesse.bering). Follow on Twitter @JesseBering.
  • “I Am a Lonely Soul”: Does Culture Determine How People Commit Suicide?

    In my last post, we saw how suicide rates differ by gender. But when it comes to the myriad ways to terminate one’s subjective existence, there’s far more diversity across cultures than there is between the sexes. Much of this really is about access. Switzerland has the most developed railway travel system in Europe. It [...]

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    Gender and Suicide: Why Do More Men than Women Kill Themselves?

    How far is it from being to nothingness? I hope it’s a journey you never decide to take, but wherever death by firearm is the most common method of suicide, it’s about half an inch. That’s all the distance that your finger—the very same finger which, when you were still new to this world and [...]

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    One Last Goodbye: The Strange Case of Terminal Lucidity

    I’m as sworn to radical rationalism as the next neo-Darwinian materialist. That said, over the years I’ve had to “quarantine,” for lack of a better word, a few anomalous personal experiences that have stubbornly defied my own logical understanding of them. Once, for instance, I was staying at a hotel in Fort Lauderdale when I [...]

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    Nice Grill: You Look Like Your Car (and Your Car Looks Like Your Dog)

    Photograph by Glen Mitchell In a recent article over at Slate, I reviewed an astonishing new set of findings from Japan showing that subjects can correctly match people to their pets when given only a paucity of physical cues. That research by Sadahiko Nakajima revealed that it’s clearly the eyes that give it away: when [...]

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    This Queasy Love: How Having Frequent Diarrhea as a Child Shapes Your Adult Mate Choice

    It’s not everyday that love and diarrhea come together in theoretical matrimony. Recently, however, a study by an interdisciplinary team of scientists managed to form this near-perfect union. Oh relax. I’m not about to share the sordid details of a revolting new sexual fetish. (That’s for another post.) The research I’m about to tell you about [...]

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    The High-Heel Hottie Effect: The Evolutionary Psychology of Women’s Shoes

    On a trip to Italy a few years ago, my partner and I peered into the faraway distance at that famously angled phallus that is the Leaning Tower of Pisa, when suddenly we became aware of a small scene unfolding before us. A young woman’s stiletto heel had become lodged in the cobblestones. Oh my. [...]

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    A Good Man Is Hard to Find, So Here’s an (Evolutionary) Tip

    We’re herd animals… especially the female members of our species when it comes to their dating instincts. That’s the conclusion one might reasonably draw from the results of a new study in press at the journal Human Nature. In it, psychologists Ryan Anderson and Michele Surbey from James Cook University in Australia showcase a common—but [...]

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    Voices Carry (Signals of Your Sexual Intent and Reproductive Value)

    If you really want to know if someone is into you – as in, wants to have your babies – never mind what they say. It’s all in how they say it. A team of researchers led by Juan David Leongómez, a psychologist at the University of Stirling, has discovered that certain “paralingual” features of [...]

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    The Original Cupid Was a Sociopath

    “Winged Cupid, rash and hardy, who by his evil manners, contemning all public justice and law, armed with fire and arrows, running up and down in the nights from house to house, and corrupting lawful marriages of every person, doth nothing but evil.” —Lucius Apuleius, The Tale of Cupid and Psyche (late second century A.D.) [...]

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    Are Straight Women and Gay Men “Natural Allies”? An Evolutionary Account

    Not every gay man has a female best friend, nor does every straight woman have a gay man as her most trusted confidant. But according to a recent article in Evolutionary Psychology, every one should. The authors of this piece, the psychologist Eric Russell and his colleagues from Texas Christian University, claim that the age-old [...]

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