Brain & Behavior

The Primate Diaries

Category archives for Brain & Behavior

The latest issue of the journal Science has an essay by Greg Miller looking at the explosion of research into epigenetics and what this work could suggest about human society. In 2004, Szyf and Meaney published a paper in Nature Neuroscience that helped launch the behavioral epigenetics revolution. It remains one of the most cited…

Sexy Beasts at Seed Magazine

Author’s Note: The following is an excerpt from my review of Sex At Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. For additional information see my posts Reexamining Ardipithecus ramidus in Light of Human Origins, Those Cheating Testicles, or Who’s Your Baby? as well as Helen’s Lament and the Origins of Forbidden Love. Christopher Ryan also…

     New research finds chimpanzees follow  prestigious models when learning new tasks.        Monika Thorpe / Creative Commons If one were to play psychiatrist to the natural world, most human beings would be committed for our certifiable obsession with other peoples’ behavior. We compulsively examine, study, appraise, size up, and scope out what those around us are doing…

A new study shows that chimps sacrifice their own advantage if they earned it unfairly.Image: Owen Booth / Creative Commons Fairness is the basis of the social contract. As citizens we expect that when we contribute our fair share we should receive our just reward. When social benefits are handed out unequally or when prior…

(Source)       But which one should be diagnosed? Diagnostic criteria for 313.81 Oppositional Defiant Disorder A. A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months, during which four (or more) of the following are present: (1) often loses temper (2) often argues with adults (3) often actively defies or refuses to comply…

Bonobos and the Child-Like Joy of Sharing

   Bonobos retain juvenile traits related   to tolerance and cooperation.            Image: Vanessa WoodsHow many times as a kid would your parents tell you to grow up and act your age? It turns out that not acting our age may be the very reason why we’re so successful as a species. Brian Hare and colleagues have just released a…

Bonobos and the Emergence of Culture

In this TED Talk Susan Savage-Rumbaugh discusses bonobos housed in a bispecies environment that have been taught to communicate using pictographs. In the talk she suggests that biology isn’t what made humans unique from nonhuman apes, but rather argues that it was cultural developments and social learning. Quite obviously there are some biological differences (around…

     Dolphins, such as this individual caught and     used by the US Navy, could be granted      personhood rights that protect them from     such abuse.             Image: United Press InternationalIn Douglas Adams’ series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy it turned out that dolphins were super intelligent beings from another world who felt protective of the hairless ape creatures that…

Is Bisphenol-A Turning Our Kids Nasty?

Researchers from Simon Fraser University, just a stone’s throw from where I sit in Vancouver, have determined that the side effects from this endocrine disruptor can alter children’s behavior: Researchers have just linked prenatal exposure to bisphenol-A – a near-ubiquitous industrial chemical – with subtle, gender-specific alterations in behavior among two year olds. Girls whose…

Phineas Gage in the Flesh

The only known photograph of famed head case Phineas Gage was discovered last month (on Flickr of all places!). Jack and Beverly Wilgus had the above daguerreotype for thirty years before realizing what it was. As they describe the image’s history at their website: We called it “The Whaler” because we thought the pole he…