Why Nothing Works Anymore “No… it’s a magic potty,” my daughter used to lament, age 3 or so, before refusing to use a public restroom stall with an automatic-flush toilet. As a small person, she was accustomed to the infrared … Continue reading Does technology serve human users?
Why facts don’t change our minds In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed … Continue reading Reason as an adaptation
A New Theory Explains How Consciousness Evolved Ever since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, evolution has been the grand unifying theory of biology. Yet one of our most important biological traits, consciousness, is rarely studied … Continue reading Is consciousness a solution to information overload?
What I Learned From Tickling Apes Tickling a juvenile chimpanzee is a lot like tickling a child. The ape has the same sensitive spots: under the armpits, on the side, in the belly. He opens his mouth wide, lips relaxed, … Continue reading The animal side of humans
How We Learn Fairness A pair of brown capuchin monkeys is sitting in a cage. From time to time, their caretakers give them tokens, which they can then exchange for food. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that capuchin monkeys prefer … Continue reading Are you a loyalist or a ruthless competitor?
‘Run, Hide, Fight’ Is Not How Our Brains Work In this age of terror, we struggle to figure out how to protect ourselves — especially, of late, from active shooters. One suggestion, promoted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and … Continue reading Our frozen mind
How Humans Ended Up With Freakishly Huge Brains There it was, sitting on the mantelpiece, staring at her with hollow eyes and a naked grin. She could not stop staring back. It looked distinctly like the fossilized skull of an … Continue reading The unique human brain