Archive | Culture

Trust Your Fear Instinct

Most people spend their lives avoiding things that scare them but the key to self-protection might be to trust your fear instinct. Fear is a natural response to physical and emotional danger, based on an evolutionary survival mechanism. The physical response, known as “fight or flight,” includes sweating, increased heart rate, and high adrenaline levels…

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The Art of Countersignaling

Not long after I wrote about humblebragging, a reader asked me if humblebragging was an example of countersignaling. My short answer is ‘no’ but it deserves a more nuanced explanation. Signaling is a biological concept in which information is implicitly conveyed to others. Red mushrooms signal to would-be predators that they are poisonous. Peacocks bare…

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Fun With Palindromes, Without Aibohphobia

A palindrome is a word, sentence, or number that reads the same backward or forward. It derives from the Greek palindromos (palin is “again, back” and dromos, “running”), suggesting the palindrome “runs back” on itself. Most credit author Henry Peacham for introducing the word palindrome into English in 1638. Palindromes are quite common in English, especially three letter ones: mom,…

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Post-traumatic growth

The theory of post-traumatic growth (PTG) suggests people who go through psychological trauma can have positive growth as a result. Developed by psychologists in the mid 1990’s, PTG is a process by which people develop new understandings of themselves and the world they live in, making it easier for them to face the future and…

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Dogs Understand Human Intention

Throughout the ages, dogs have been human’s closest companions. Research suggests one of the reasons might be that dogs understand human intention. Recent research tested whether dogs were able to distinguish intentional human actions from unintentional ones, even when the outcomes were the same. In the experiment, dogs were fed rewards (i.e. treats) through a…

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