social behavior

17 Stories

Touching Robot Privates Gives Us the Heebie-Jeebies

Humans turn out to be very good at thinking robots are more than mere circuitry

(Newser) - "Please touch my buttocks." Most people feel uncomfortable obeying this command, and scientists have just discovered that this discomfort extends to, well, boxes of circuitry. Researchers at Stanford University are presenting their findings from a study on touching robots at the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association... More »

How Men React When You Question Their Manhood

Study finds men will lie about their height, past relationships, and more

(Newser) - News flash: Men will lie to appear more masculine when their masculinity is called into question. So report researchers at the University of Washington in a study published last week in the journal Social Psychology . Men who were led to believe they fall short of the ideals of manliness (e.... More »

Painkillers Could Ease Social Rejection

Physical, social hurt function similarly: researchers

(Newser) - Someday, painkillers might battle more than just physical pain. The medications could be used to fight the pain of social rejection, too, researchers say. That's because the brain handles physical pain and the hurt of rejection similarly, a study finds. Scientists picked up on the connection while looking at... More »

Political Parties Act Like Schools of Fish

Vocal minorities can temporarily sway the masses

(Newser) - Wondering about the future of the Tea Party, or what affect the Occupy Movement might have on Democrats? Try asking a bunch of fish. Scientists have found that in a school of fish, a "vocal minority"—that is, a group determined to swim in a certain direction—can... More »

No Need for Guilt: Gossip Helps Us

It can actually protect us, researchers say

(Newser) - Gossip needn’t prompt guilt: It’s an evolved self-protection technique, scientists say. Researchers showed subjects images of people and provided a little information about them, some of it banal, some of it positive or negative gossip, the Daily Mail reports. An image of a person was then placed in... More »

4-Second Silences Make Us Feel ... Awkward

Researchers cite ancient fears of exclusion

(Newser) - Just four seconds of silence in the middle of a conversation can be excruciating, research finds: That pause can leave us feeling left out and awkward, reports Time . “Conversational flow is associated with positive emotions, and a heightened sense of belonging, self-esteem, social validation and consensus,” researchers report... More »

Kids Curse, Oldsters Ramble: Facebook Study

Analysts probe data for behavioral trends

(Newser) - You can learn a lot when you’re listening to 550 million people. Using linguistic software, Facebook analysts investigated what people were saying in status updates, and came up with a number of interesting trends, Business Insider reports:
  • The oldsters chatter quite a bit: Status update length was the best
... More »

Nature Makes You Nicer

People more focused on others when primed with natural imagery, research shows

(Newser) - Being around the natural world or representations of it makes you a better person, Miller-McCune reports. A study finds that people shown slides of natural landscapes rated community-oriented goals—such as “to work for the betterment of society”—as more important to them than self-oriented goals—for example,... More »

Whales and Dolphins May Deserve 'Personhood' Status

(Newser) - Whales and dolphins have highly evolved social structures and may deserve a “personhood” status similar to that being considered for members of the great ape family, Wired reports. The emotional and social areas of the cetacean brain are “enormously complex,” notes one researcher, “and in many... More »

Globalization Is Changing Our Brains

(Newser) - Having boogied in 70 countries on all seven continents, Matt Harding concludes that “globalization is forcing our brains to evolve." Known via the Internet for dancing poorly with locals in far-flung locations, Harding argues that our brains were designed for social interaction within a small tribe—but we... More »

Solitary Confinement: Looks a Lot Like Torture

(Newser) - Rhesus monkeys raised in isolation are anti-social, catatonic, and profoundly disturbed even after they are introduced to their peers. The same is true of humans kept in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time, whether as hostages or prisoners, writes Atul Gawande in the New Yorker. As months roll on,... More »

Wallflower or Life of the Party? It's in Your Genes

Study of twins finds genetic link to social position

(Newser) - Whether a person becomes a wallflower or social butterfly and what group of friends they develop is apparently significantly affected by their genes, National Geographic reports. Scientists examined social groupings of more than 1,000 pairs of teenage twins and discovered that identical twins, who share the same genes, were... More »

No Kidding: Teasing Is Good for Us

More than just goofing, ribbing regulates relationships

(Newser) - A little teasing actually helps us all get along, Dacher Keltner argues in the New York Times Magazine. From the schoolyard to the NBA hardwood, America has come to oppose teasing, mostly because we too often confuse good-natured ribbing with bullying. “In rejecting teasing,” Keltner writes, “we... More »

Between Home and Work, Public Life Declines

More than ever, we need surprises of 'third spaces': Rodriguez

(Newser) - In the 1980s sociologists introduced the term "third place," neither home nor work, to encompass the bars, restaurants, and other public spaces that allow us to build relationships. Today, with global economic woes besetting even the iconic French cafe culture, our "public living rooms" are... More »

The Pitfalls of De-Friending

Peer pressure just one of the social aspects that translates well to Facebook and the like

(Newser) - De-friending is an unfortunate reality for social networks. It happens for many reasons, but is always awkward. Here are some de-friending stories from Mashable (names have been changed to protect the embarrassed):
  • Social opportunists: Andrew got a friend request from Jane, who he didn’t know but was friends with
... More »

Sure, I'm Offended— I'm Human!

People are extra sensitive these days, and science knows why

(Newser) - From Larry David to John McCain, we’re all getting a little touchy these days, writes Emily Yoffe in Slate: “People are like tuning forks, ready to vibrate with indignation.” While economists argue humans are rational, “it seems we live in a culture devoted to retribution on... More »

'Social Siberia' Isn't Just a Metaphor

Icy behavior cools body temperatures: study

(Newser) - Icy stares and chilly receptions can leave you feeling—well, cold. Metaphors about social behavior, like "warm welcome" and "cold shoulder," seem to relate to physical reality, new research finds. People who had experienced and recalled social rejection perceived a 5-degree temperature drop in the lab and... More »

17 Stories