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Bering in Mind

Bering in Mind

A research psychologist's curious look at human behavior

If Darwin were a sports psychologist: Evolution and athletics

Surprisingly little evolutionarily informed research has been done on our species’ strange love affair with sports. Why do we care so much about such arbitrary and ostensibly functionless displays of physical and mental prowess?

March 11, 2010 — Jesse Bering

A bushel of facts about the uniqueness of human pubic hair

Like many people, I ask myself continuously about some of life’s biggest mysteries. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Why do we have those strangely sparse, wiry little hairs growing around our genitals—hair that is singularly different from all the other hair on our bodies?

March 1, 2010 — Jesse Bering

Reopening the case of the female orgasm

Now that I’ve written at some length about the curious evolution of the male reproductive system in our species, I thought it only right to devote a column to the natural origins of a biological mechanism that doesn’t involve the Y chromosome.

December 1, 2009 — Jesse Bering

Why do human testicles hang like that?

Earlier this year, I wrote a column about evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup’s “semen displacement hypothesis,” a convincing hypothesis presenting a very plausible, empirically supported account of the evolution of the peculiarly shaped human penis.

November 19, 2009 — Jesse Bering

Who says love hurts? Romantic partners alter our perception of pain

My mother used to say, “there’s somebody out there for everybody.” It sounds sweet, I know, but when you realize she would say this only in jaw-dropping astonishment at seeing a loving couple out in public in which both partners were, shall we say, aesthetically shortchanged in some eye-catching way, my dearly departed mother somehow doesn’t sound like such a Polyanna anymore.

November 12, 2009 — Jesse Bering

God's in Mississippi, where the gettin' is good

At some point over the course of this human life of yours, you may have noticed that wherever there is a trail of woe, God is curiously afoot. At least, since God is often seen both as the cause and the cure of misfortune, the belief in God seems especially likely to be stirred up in the wake of some personal or naturalistic calamity.

October 9, 2009 — Jesse Bering

The problem with psychopaths: a fearful face doesn't deter them

Buon giorno from Florence, where I’m presently under the Tuscan sun—sizzling like bacon, I should add—as a hive of awestruck, pale-legged American tourists wearing Nikes, cargo shorts and Polo shirts descend with digital cameras at the ready on the Renaissance city’s signature Duomo in the Piazza Della Signoria.

September 29, 2009 — Jesse Bering

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