No Two Human Brains Are Alike

The uniqueness of each mind is written in its ever-changing circuitry. BY WILLIAM A. HARRIS The brains of human beings are different from those of every other species of animal, because all species’ brains have been tuned to their lifestyles through millions of years of evolution. A spider’s brain is geared to weaving webs and catching flies, a fish’s brain is tuned for a life in the water, and a human brain is geared to human affairs. But what mental functions separate us most from other animals? What makes us human? Answering this question is a continuous quest of philosophy, … Continue reading No Two Human Brains Are Alike

Orgasm gap: The insidious reason women have fewer orgasms than men

It’s the clitoris, stupid! KEY TAKEAWAYS Heterosexual men have far more orgasms during partnered sex than heterosexual women, resulting in a significant pleasure disparity.  New research suggests that the explanation for the gap is simple: Men don’t take the time to stimulate women’s clitorises. The clitoris is the primary anatomical source of female sexual pleasure.  The reasons for this inattention are more complicated. It seems that cultural norms around gender place the focus on men’s pleasure and vaginal sex while downplaying women’s desire for their own pleasure. by Ross Pomeroy There exists a significant “orgasm gap” between heterosexual women and … Continue reading Orgasm gap: The insidious reason women have fewer orgasms than men

The Science of Working Out the Body and the Soul: How the Art of Exercise Was Born, Lost, and Rediscovered

“A history of exercise is not really — or certainly not only — a history of the body. It is, equally, perhaps even primarily, a history of the mind.” BY MARIA POPOVA “And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?” wondered Whitman two years before he wrote a manual on “manly health and training” and two decades before he recovered from his paralytic stroke with a rigorous exercise regimen in the gymnasium of the wilderness. But this natural equivalence, as obvious as it was to Whitman and as evident as the neurophysiology of consciousness is making it in … Continue reading The Science of Working Out the Body and the Soul: How the Art of Exercise Was Born, Lost, and Rediscovered

Is watching pornography bad for men — but good for women?

A large study links pornography use to decreased sexual performance for men and increased sexual performance for women. KEY TAKEAWAYS A recent study reported that increasing porn use is linked to decreased sexual performance in men and increased sexual performance in women.  The diverging effects could be because men tend to watch a lot more porn than women and often view more unrealistic hardcore and fetish-focused porn.  It’s overly simplistic to say that porn is bad for men or good for women. Like almost everything, porn is probably best consumed in moderation. by Ross Pomeroy Pornography is a male-dominated industry … Continue reading Is watching pornography bad for men — but good for women?

Why does swearing make us stronger?

Profanity offers surprising benefits. But why? KEY TAKEAWAYS Repeating a swear word has been shown to dull painful sensations, as well as boost physical strength.  Scientists still don’t know the exact reason for this curious effect, but they theorize that profanity serves as a distraction, allowing us to ignore pain or push past physiological barriers.  If you want to see if swearing helps in your own physical exploits, try using the “S-word” or “F-word,” as these produced the best results in experiments. by Ross Pomeroy Swearing: Though almost all of our parents probably told us not to use profane language, … Continue reading Why does swearing make us stronger?

Beer and spirits have more detrimental effects on the waistline and on cardiovascular disease risk than red or white wine

Researchers are working to tease apart how various alcohol types contribute to weight gain and disease risk.  Author Brittany Larsen Ph.D. Candidate in Neuroscience & Graduate Assistant, Iowa State University Disclosure statement Brittany Larsen does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. The big idea Drinking beer and spirits is linked to elevated levels of visceral fat – the harmful type of fat that is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and other health … Continue reading Beer and spirits have more detrimental effects on the waistline and on cardiovascular disease risk than red or white wine

Can’t buy me meaning? Money cuts a quicker path to happiness

In the pursuit of happiness, money probably trumps meaning. KEY TAKEAWAYS Researchers and philosophers identify two types of psychological wellbeing, which can be summarized as the purposeful and the pleasurable.  Previous research has already established that, on average, wealthy people experience happier, more meaningful lives. A new study asks a more nuanced question: Does meaning predict happiness, regardless of wealth?  The results suggest that meaning is less important to happiness for wealthy people. More importantly, meaning may be extra important for people without much money. by Elizabeth Gilbert The search for meaning is woven tightly into the pursuit of a life well lived. … Continue reading Can’t buy me meaning? Money cuts a quicker path to happiness

You Can Change Your Mind About Virtually Anything

From the archives of We Are Not Divided, we revisit three stories that explore our surprising — and encouraging — openness to others’ points of view. By: RTBC Staff What unites us? How do we overcome our divisions and differences? Can we discover ways to bridge the chasms that separate us? What tools can we turn to? Amid the turmoil of 2020’s U.S. elections, we launched a project devoted to exploring these questions. We called it “We Are Not Divided” — a cheeky name, but cheeky with a purpose. We wanted to encourage readers to rethink and reexamine their assumptions about … Continue reading You Can Change Your Mind About Virtually Anything

The Science of Bad Vibes: Can Some Places Really Hold Onto Negative Energy?

PATRICK CHONDON / EYEEMGETTY IMAGES Our physical surroundings—plus a few tricks of the human mind—could literally give us the heebie-jeebies. Our habitat may not be as neutral as we perceive it to be. According to one theory, some places hold onto leftover traces of emotions from people who previously lived there. In another theory, spots like tunnels, sewers, or geological faults wreck Earth’s natural vibration—and maybe even your health. BY STAV DIMITROPOULOS Visitors to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland report feelings of tightness in their chests, nervousness in their hands, and feelings of depression—it’s almost like the place is haunted by tremendous amounts of bad energy. … Continue reading The Science of Bad Vibes: Can Some Places Really Hold Onto Negative Energy?

Is violence always wrong? A hands-on ethics lesson from Will Smith slapping Chris Rock

The attitude we take to Will Smith’s slap will mirror our attitudes to violence, masculinity, and protecting others more generally. KEY TAKEAWAYS At the 2022 Oscars, actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock for an offensive joke the latter made about his wife.  The issue raises interesting questions about whether it is ever permissible to slap another human for offending a loved one.  Our attitudes to Will Smith’s slap also mirror our attitudes to violence, masculinity, and protecting others more generally.  by Jonny Thomson At the 2022 Oscars, the comedian Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife. Rock … Continue reading Is violence always wrong? A hands-on ethics lesson from Will Smith slapping Chris Rock