The Atlantic - 30 Jun 2018
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, gossip has surprising virtues: a significant body of research suggests that it is in fact healthy. This short article (reads in 3-4 min) is packed with scientific references. The most positive assessment of gossip comes from the anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar who showed that our primate ancestors bonded through grooming, their mutual back scratching ensuring mutual self-defense in the event of attack by predators. As hominids grew more intelligent and more social, their groups became too large to unite by grooming alone. That’s where language and gossip stepped in.
Published in Weekly selection 15 June 2018
Project Syndicate - 31 May 2018
Nothing is more urgent than to do this! The think-tanker argues that reassuring the majority of voters who are fearful about the future requires ambitious policy solutions to help governments increase the economic pie faster and share it more fairly. Three major changes are required to do so: (1) governments must do more to spur productivity growth; (2) authorities must crack down on value extraction; (3) governments must bolster both opportunity and security (reads in 6-7 min).
Published in Weekly selection 1 June 2018
The Atlantic - 24 May 2018
This is an adaptation from the professor of psychology and neuroscience’s latest book: “The Spaces Between Us: A Story of Neuroscience, Evolution, and Human Nature”. Everyone has a personal space, an instinctive protective zone, and the distance we keep from others is an elaborate, instinctive dance, ruled by social norms and genetics. The most consistent and fundamental result in the literature is that personal space expands with anxiety. An interesting read made highly current and vivid by Trump’s famous handshake! (reads in 6-8 min).
Published in Weekly selection 26 May 2018