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Bering in Mind

Bering in Mind

A research psychologist's curious look at human behavior

  • “I Am a Lonely Soul”: Does Culture Determine How People Commit Suicide?

    “I Am a Lonely Soul”: Does Culture Determine How People Commit Suicide?

    By Jesse Bering | November 27, 2014 |

    "Lucretia" by Rembrandt (1664) 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 . […]

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

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

    By Jesse Bering | November 26, 2014 |

    Le Suicidé (1881) by Édouard Manet 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 in a very different frame of mind, once pointed in breathless wonderment at the stars and the moon above you—must travel to break the trigger on the average 9-mm handgun, shattering irreparably the material you that is your brain. […]

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  • One Last Goodbye: The Strange Case of Terminal Lucidity

    One Last Goodbye: The Strange Case of Terminal Lucidity

    By Jesse Bering | November 25, 2014 |

    Deathbed, 1886 (oil on canvas) by Jessen, Carl Ludwig (1833-1917) 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. […]

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

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

    By Jesse Bering | August 25, 2014 |

    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 you cover the eyes of either the dog or the dog’s owner in the images participants choose from, their ability to match the right interspecies pair falls to chance. […]

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

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

    By Jesse Bering | August 25, 2014 |

    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 you cover the eyes of either the dog or the dog’s owner in the images participants choose from, their ability to match the right interspecies pair falls to chance. […]

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

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

    By Jesse Bering | August 12, 2014 |

    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. […]

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

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

    By Jesse Bering | July 23, 2014 |

    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. […]

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

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

    By Jesse Bering | July 15, 2014 |

    Scene From "Between Two Women" (1937, MGM Studios) 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 . […]

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

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

    By Jesse Bering | July 10, 2014 |

    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 the human voice, particularly changes to pitch and modulation, can betray the speaker’s hidden sexual attraction to his or her listener. […]

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  • The Original Cupid Was a Sociopath

    The Original Cupid Was a Sociopath

    By Jesse Bering | February 14, 2014 |

    "Jupiter and Antiope" by Anthony Van Dyck, c. 1620 "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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