It takes two to give

My mom was supposed to come visit me this past week while I have been teaching in Paris. She was scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning and in a reprisal of our fabulous time together in 2015 (see picture above), we planned to pack our afternoons with art museums and our evenings with concerts. Then, a few days before she was due […]

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Can rats feel socially rejected?

Three years ago, an incoming University of Chicago student named Haozhe Shan emailed me asking for an opportunity to work in my laboratory. His letter was well written and demonstrated a focussed and specific interest in social neuroscience. I agreed to talk with him and immediately liked him. Even prior to taking a single college class, he had a knowledge of psychology […]

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IFL eye movements

Whenever I teach eye movements, I am reminded of how exciting they are. I like that eye movements appear mundane, common, and perhaps even uninteresting. They fly under most people’s wow-o-cool-o-radar, giving all the appearance of a nuts-and-bolts system without lofty aspirations. Despite this unpretentious appearance, eye movements are incredibly interesting and also of the utmost importance to our social selves. There is so much more to […]

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We help because it feels good

A friend sent me a link to this video in which one tortoise rights another tortoise that is on its back. Watching this video, I sensed that the helping tortoise really wanted to help the upside down tortoise. I was rooting for the helping tortoise to succeed and wholly relieved when s/he successfully rolled the other tortoise onto its feet. I say “s/he” […]

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Exploring the bystander effect

I just finished reading an astounding book, The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn’t He Help? by Bibb Latané and John M Darley (Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1970). Latané and Darley set out to understand what makes the modern bystander so apparently apathetic and callous, watching but not helping as others are hurt, maimed and even die. They ask whether urbanization has created such […]

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