Lying liars lie!

Lying liars lie!

We lie for many reasons: Glory. Money. Both. Something else. Is there a science of detecting lies? Does the digital realm make lying harder? Easier? Both? More »

Screaming about screen time?

Screaming about screen time?

We spend ever-more hours with TV, cellphones, tablets and computers, is it rude or necessary to always answer your phone? Does distraction make you dumb? What about multitasking? More »

Emotional expressions: The face isn’t the whole story

Emotional expressions: The face isn't the whole story

At the moment of loss or victory, an athlete’s face shows intense … what? Without seeing the body, you can’t tell whether an important point was won or lost. Adding the body language makes all the difference — and can even overwhelm the message of the face! More »

Losing in politics & sports

Losing in politics & sports

What’s the attachment to “my” team? How do we deal with the inevitable disappointment? Are murder and suicide now “part of the game”? And what about politics? More »

To play, and therefore to mate

To play, and therefore to mate

Are we affecting the character of future generations by the way we choose mates? If choosing attractive mates tends to make the grandchildren more attractive, what about choosing mates who like to laugh or have fun? More »

Finding the killers — in advance

Finding the killers -- in advance

Can we spot young, male, angry, frustrated killers in advance? Will science help us identify them in time? Learn the lessons of Aurora, Colo. More »

Farming, Native American style

Farming, Native American style

Native agriculture could be a sophisticated response to a challenging environment. What were the secrets of permaculture, companion cropping and corn farming? Could these techniques contribute to modern farming? More »

Know thy genes, know thyself?

Know thy genes, know thyself?

Advances in genetics raise the stakes in genetic counseling, but the genetic role in disease can be complicated, elusive. What role do faith, personality and knowledge play in the complex discussions over genetic disease? More »

Garbage, lipstick and flat-screens

Garbage, lipstick and flat-screens

Sick of stats on GDP or stocks? Some of the alternative economic indicators are sensible, some are zany, and some are misleading, even dangerous. More »

Bookin’ science: Best of the batch.

If (gasp!) the subject is too big for a Whyfile, hit the books. Here, we review four great science books, on evolution, environment, fighting nature, and discovering motherly love.

Holiday blue? NOT!

Holiday blue? NOT!

Sick of the scare stories about holiday stress? Over-eating, over-this, over-that? What’s the upside of holidays, in terms of ritual and getting together with family and friends? What’s more conducive to happiness: giving or receiving? More »

Brain under threat

black and white graphic of frightened eyes

In just a moment, our brains can go from calm, deliberate and focused, to alert, agitated and aroused. New neural networks get activated during the transition. Now a study of the fight-or flight-response fingers a common hormone in triggering the brainwide changes. More »

The psychological price of job loss

black and white photos of men in soup kitchen line during the great depression

What does long-term job loss do to depression, anxiety, brooding? Could long-term job loss shorten your life? Does job loss lead to shaken baby syndrome? More »

Civil war: Changing a stuck mind

2 men with arms around each other smiling

After six decades, the Palestine-Israel stalemate seems hopeless. But could that very hopelessness be blocking a solution? A new study of people on both sides of the struggle shows that learning about the peaceful resolution of other intractable conflicts can increase their willingness to compromise – a key to peace. More »

Honor thy mother

Bolivian mother and child smile at camera

Mother is your first — and most important — relationship. What does science tell us about the effects of mothering? What happens when groups of monkeys are raised without a mother? How does a “fragile family” affect young people? What are “social risk factors,” and why should we care about them? More »