human behavior

Survival
3:48 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Eeek, Snake! Your Brain Has A Special Corner Just For Them

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:17 pm

Anthropologist Lynne Isbell was running through a glade in central Kenya in 1992 when something suddenly caused her to freeze in her tracks. "I stopped just in front of a cobra," she says. "It was raised with its hood spread out."

Isbell, who is at the University of California, Davis, says she has spent the past couple of decades trying to understand how she could have reacted before her conscious brain even had a chance to think — cobra!

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Laughter
6:35 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Losing It On The Air

Credit Pulse12, Flickr Creative Commons

I don't know why we love it so much when anyone in front of a live audience loses their composure and bursts out into laughter. Maybe because it shows them for what they really are - human. It's so fascinating to witness a spontaneous surrender to, well, giddiness, and because of good ol' fashioned empathy, we can't help but laugh along. 

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StoryCorps
3:25 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Best Friends, Sharing 'Two Sides Of The Same Heart'

Starr Cookman (left) says she and Kylee Moreland Fenton have been "connected at the hip" since they were kids in Tucson, Ariz.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 12:23 pm

Starr Cookman and Kylee Moreland Fenton have been inseparable since childhood. They live on the same street. Kylee, a nurse, was present for the delivery of Starr's son, Rowan. And when Rowan came home from the hospital breathing rapidly and spitting up his food, both friends were alarmed — even when the pediatrician said he was doing fine.

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Heaven and Hell
4:39 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Heaven Is Waiting; Hell Is A Different Question, Nun Says

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 6:38 pm

Perhaps it's no surprise that Mary Catherine Hilkert, a Catholic theologian, a professor at Notre Dame and a Dominican Sister of Peace, believes that people can find love, mercy and union with God after death. In her eyes, however, the concept of hell is far less definitive.

As part of All Things Considered's series on the concept of life after death, Hilkert spoke with host Robert Siegel about her perspectives on heaven and hell, why she thinks of banquets when she imagines the afterlife and why people hold such strong beliefs about what happens when life ends.

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Mea Culpa
9:09 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Coming to Grips With Guilt

There is wringing of Chion Wolf's hands.
Credit John Dankosky

Near the beginning of Thursday's Colin McEnroe Show about guilt, Colin referenced a selection from the Book of Common Prayer:

"Almighty and most merciful Father;
We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep
We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have offended against thy holy laws.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
8:00 am
Thu October 10, 2013

I Wish I Hadn't Done That!

Dr. Hank Schwartz is the Psychiatrist-in-chief at Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living. "Guilt gets a bad rap because we tend to think of it in excess," Schwartz said. "Moderate amounts of guilt motivate us.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

I really meant to donate to the NPR fund drive. I just forgot. Well, actually I didn't. But still, I should have donated. I feel so guilty! Guilt is a funny thing. It's a pervasive emotion with the power to both motivate--and oppress.

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:19 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Having Traditions

Credit Jack Newton/flickr creative commons

by Faith Middleton

Traditions can be fun and make life feel better. Join our brainstorming session to become inspired to start your own traditions, from apple-picking; the holiday party; the army buddy reunion; the Vermont Mud Race; to maple syrup on the first snow; and sampling away at The Faith Middleton Show's annual Martini Competition. (Do you know how strange it is to refer to yourself in the third person?)

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Recycling
3:06 am
Fri September 27, 2013

How Recycling Bias Affects What You Toss Where

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:07 am

During an experiment, marketing professor Remi Trudel noticed a pattern in what his volunteers were recycling versus throwing in the garbage. He then went through his colleagues' trash and recycling bins at Boston University for more data.

He found the same pattern, says NPR's Shankar Vedantam: "Whole sheets of paper typically went in the recycling, but paper fragments went in the trash."

Same type of paper, different shapes, different bins.

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Longevity
12:39 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Healthful Living May Lengthen Telomeres And Lifespans

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:22 pm

Scientists claim they have evidence that explains why lifestyle changes known to be good for you — low-fat diets, exercise, reducing stress — can lengthen your life.

Based on a small, exploratory study, researchers say these good habits work by preventing chromosomes in our cells from unraveling. Basically, they assert that healthy living can reverse the effects of aging at a genetic level.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:08 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

How Asexuals View The World

Kathy Way is a self-identified asexual. It's estimated roughly one percent of the American population is asexual.
Credit Chion Wolf

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, asexuals seem like brothers and sisters from a distant solar system. 

Western societies are gradually growing accustomed -- with varying degrees of comfort -- to the initials in LGBT, but what about A? On our show today we explored the idea that some people have no sexual orientation -- not because of a hormonal deficiency or a position on the autism spectrum or some buried childhood sexual trauma -- but because they don't have a discernable sex drive.

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Host's Diary
2:55 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Asexuality Is Not Funny (Or Is It?)

The flag of the Asexual Awareness movement/

On The Colin McEnroe Show we have a (possibly misguided) notion that we can find at least a little bit of humor in subjects that most public radio shows would treat with utter seriousness. Not everyone agrees, and a certain percent of my negative email is from people who cannot believe that we have injected levity into something deserving only sober contemplation. 

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News
4:39 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

New Study Shows Weight Bias Among Mental Health Professionals

Credit Tony Alter / Creative Commons

People with eating disorders like obesity could be getting treatment from a therapist with their own inherent weight bias, that's according to a new study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

The survey of 329 mental health specialists revealed that while almost all of them agreed it's important to treat obese patients with compassion and respect, they admitted that many of their colleagues have negative biases about their obese patients. 56 percent said they heard or witnessed other professionals making negative comments and fat jokes about obese patients in their care.

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The Faith Middleton Show
4:00 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Drunk Tank Pink

Credit peapodsquadmom/flickr creative commons

Today: The way the thoughts we have and the decisions we make are influenced by forces that aren't always in our control.

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The Faith Middleton Show
3:29 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Faith Middleton Show: Authors of Choke and You Had Me at Woof

elizabeth tersigni/flickr creative commons

Why do the smartest students often do poorly on standardized tests? Why did you tank that interview or miss that golf swing when you should have had it in the bag? Why do you mess up when it matters the most—and how can you perform your best instead?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:10 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Your Call is Important to Us: What a Load of Bullsh-t

Chion Wolf

We're talking today about a word that can refer to the solid waste produced by male cattle. It can also refer to nonsensical talk not grounded in fact. In 1986, the American philosopher Harry Frankfurt published a scholarly analysis of this concept. In some ways it was a groundbreaking paper, but it also constituted a furtherance of an almost constant inquiry by thinking people.

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:06 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Astrophysics and "Strange" Sex

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/flickr creative commons

The world’s most popular astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, joins us. Plus a look at Secret Sex Lives, Suzy Spencer’s year on the fringes of American sexuality.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:31 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Dude, That Nutmegger Was A Total Jerk ...

Benedict Arnold, classic Connecticut jerk.
Wikimedia Commons

I'm forever grateful -- and oddly disappointed -- that in the 24 hours during which we've been promoting today's show about the role of jerks in shaping the history and character of Connecticut, not one person has asked me whether I'm going to be a guest. I feel as though my reputation as a Connecticut jerk is kind of bleaching out in the hot sun of passing time.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:31 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Dude, That Nutmegger Was a Total Jerk

The Faith Middleton Show
4:07 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

A New Understanding of ADHD in Children and Adults and The Thing You Think You

Tom Coppen/flickr creative commons

For over 100 years, ADHD has been seen as essentially a behavior disorder. Recent scientific research has developed a new paradigm which recognizes ADHD as a developmental disorder of the cognitive management system of the brain, its executive functions. Dr. Thomas Brown's A New Understanding of ADHD in Children and Adults pulls together key ideas of this new understanding of ADHD, explaining them and describing in understandable language scientific research that supports this new model.

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:41 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Becoming a Life Change Artist, and Bruce Clements on Trust

Marko Rosic/flickr creative commons

Becoming a Life Change Artist: 7 Creative Skills to Reinvet Yourself at Any Stage of Life

The Artist's Way meets What Color is Your Parachute? in an innovative approach to reinventing yourself at any stage of life.

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The Faith Middleton Show
3:05 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Superstitions

Ryan M./flickr creative commons

Mirrors, ladders, black cats, salt, cracks in the sidewalk, pennies, rabbits' feet, umbrellas, crossed fingers, crossed hearts, crossing yourself…

Today: Superstitions. We'll look at how and why irrational beliefs keep us happy, healthy, and sane.

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The Faith Middleton Show
3:05 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Superstitions

Ryan M./flickr creative commons

Mirrors, ladders, black cats, salt, cracks in the sidewalk, pennies, rabbits' feet, umbrellas, crossed fingers, crossed hearts, crossing yourself…

Today: Superstitions. We'll look at how and why irrational beliefs keep us happy, healthy, and sane.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:19 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Do Pageants Exploit Women or Make Them More Confident?

The Colin McEnroe Show
3:01 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

"Helpful Hints From Heloise" Gives Advice for All Your Housework

Flickr Creative Commons, Public Domain Photos

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:49 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Authors of Occult America and Bound To Last

Indi Samarajiva/flickr creative commons

From its earliest days, America served as an arena for the revolutions in alternative spirituality that eventually swept the globe. Esoteric philosophies and personas—from Freemasonry to Spiritualism, from Madame H. P. Blavatsky to Edgar Cayce—dramatically altered the nation’s culture, politics, and religion. Yet the mystical roots of our identity are often ignored or overlooked. Mitch Horowitz joins us to talk Occult America, his study of the esoteric undercurrents of our history and their profound impact across modern life.

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:44 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

The Secrets of Lost Cats

Stewart Black/flickr creative commons

You've seen them. Hanging on telephone poles and posted on supermarket bulletin boards.

But have you ever wondered about the stories behind them?

When her orange tabby, Zak, disappeared, Nancy Davidson did what countless people before her had done. She made a lost cat poster. And after days of frantic searching, she found him. Nancy was ecstatic. Zak seemed happy, too—although being a cat, it was hard to tell.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:07 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Minding Your Digital Manners

KnitXcorE's on Flickr Creative Commons

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:07 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Minding Your Digital Manners

KnitXcorE's on Flickr Creative Commons

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:29 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

What To Do About Being Too Busy

Courtney Dirks, Flickr Creative Commons

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:29 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

What To Do About Being Too Busy

Courtney Dirks, Flickr Creative Commons

First off, let me apologize to all the people I have spoken to in the last couple of years who have asked me how I am. My response has invariably been, "Busy." Which, I've decided, is a crap answer. In my defense, I really meant it. I sincerely believed that the word that summed up how I am was "Busy."

But what does that even mean? I used to think it meant I have so many different jobs and work responsibilities that I'm unable to do a whole bunch of other things, although I'm not even sure what those things are.

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