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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.
  • 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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    A Baker’s Dozen Old-Fashioned Anti-Erection Gadgets for Men (with Illustrations)

    It should come as no surprise that an archival search of the U.S. Patent Office yields an embarrassment of riches regarding various contraptions for guarding against “self-abuse” (masturbation) and “nocturnal seminal emissions” (wet dreams) in human males. We Americans, after all, have long been unrivaled in both our spirit of entrepreneurial inventiveness and our pathological [...]

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    Darwin’s Morning After Pill: How Couples Who Want Children Can Increase Their Chances

      If you’re desperate for a child but have been having trouble in this area, semen may be the solution to your reproductive woes. That may sound like the most obvious sentence ever written in the history of the English language, but sometimes beneath the most ancient truisms lie remarkable secrets. People have known semen [...]

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    Ian Stevenson’s Case for the Afterlife: Are We ‘Skeptics’ Really Just Cynics?

    If you’re anything like me, with eyes that roll over to the back of your head whenever you hear words like “reincarnation” or “parapsychology,” if you suffer great paroxysms of despair for human intelligence whenever you catch a glimpse of that dandelion-colored cover of Heaven Is For Real or other such books, and become angry when [...]

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    The Lustful Human Animal: Cultural Differences in Sexual Harm and Consent

    Most of us are convinced that we excel at being clearheaded, humane thinkers when it comes to sex. We appeal, and admirably so, to notions such as harm and consent. But since most of us aren’t anthropologists, we W.E.I.R.D. people (the anthropologist Joe Henrich’s apt acronym for “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic”) often assume [...]

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    Of Cultures Destroyed by Western Sexual Exploitation and Violent Religious Prudery

    H. Laval (1807-1880)

    In working on my latest book Perv, some of the saddest material I came across involved the stormy cross-cultural conflicts erupting between Western ideals of sex and those discovered among other “exotic” societies. The field of cultural anthropology has its own dark history in this regard. For an embarrassingly long time, in fact, some unethical scholars [...]

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