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THE NAKED APE: Exploring the science and cultural evolution of human psychology, behavior, cognition, language, memory, intelligence, emotion, and consciousness. (Uh, did I miss anything?)

Location: #science
Members: 56
Latest Activity: yesterday

Welcome to THE NAKED APE

Those who’ve know me for some time know that I have a moderately strong interest in human consciousness and psychology. Although mind and body cannot exist without one another – and indeed they shape one another – it does seem that the very core of the human experience of ‘self’ exists in the brain alone.

We all know that much of the functioning and maintenance of our body is controlled covertly by the brain or by biological systems that work beneath our threshold of awareness. We do not consciously decide to sweat, or digest our food, or replace our cells.

And yet, in spite of the fact that we know this, we still cling to the illusion that the functioning of our thoughts, our decisions, our perceptions, our preferences, our memories, and our reasoning are under our direct, conscious control.

But neuroscience and psychology are now showing us that this simply is not the case—that the processes of mind and awareness function just as covertly as our biological systems.

That fascinates me!

How is it that the mind – that place of concealment – is also the one place in which awareness itself is known to exist?

The truth is that we don’t know ourselves as well as we’d like to believe. We don’t control our decisions, our perceptions, our motivations, or our memories as well as we think we do.

THE NAKED APE was created to explore these important topics. I welcome any post on human psychology, behavior, cognition, perception, language, memory, intelligence, emotion, and consciousness.


Discussion Forum

How Not to Think About Scrotum's

Started by doone. Last reply by Don Jan 5, 2014. 1 Reply

Our Orgastic Future

Started by doone. Last reply by Neal Jun 18, 2013. 3 Replies

E.O. Wilson: Tribalism, Groupism, Globalism

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by A Former Member Jun 4, 2013. 7 Replies

Gestalt psychology

Started by A Former Member May 11, 2013. 0 Replies

On the usefulness of illusions

Started by Michel. Last reply by Chris May 6, 2013. 1 Reply

How Whites Think About Race

Started by Neal. Last reply by Adriana Mar 20, 2013. 13 Replies

How to scare someone who knows no fear

Started by Adriana. Last reply by Adriana Feb 6, 2013. 6 Replies

10 Amazing Things People's Brains Have Done

Started by Michel. Last reply by Marianne Jan 19, 2013. 2 Replies

Paul Bloom: The Psychology of Everything

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Michel Jan 2, 2013. 6 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of THE NAKED APE to add comments!

Comment by doone on March 19, 2011 at 4:11pm

The real data - if you click on the link you can get a Excel spreadsheet with penis sizes from every? country on Earth

Comment by doone on March 18, 2011 at 8:31pm


Greenberg_ftrSelves change. Not just in the course of our little lives, in ways that we therapists try to effect, but in the course of human history. The idea of what it means to be a human being, of what we should expect of ourselves, of what constitutes the good life and why it is good and how we ought to achieve it—this is transformed by time and circumstance, in a way that can be seen only in retrospect, and even then through a glass darkened by the prejudices of whatever kind of self is looking back. Hard as it is to spot our origins by peering into our collective past, it is even harder to glimpse ourselves as we live through epochal change, as our very understanding of who we are is transformed before our eyes. Hardest of all is to know what, if anything, to do about it.

Nicholas Carr, in The Shallows, and William Powers, with Hamlet’s BlackBerry, have undertaken to tell us exactly that: who we are becoming now that we swim in an endless stream of digital data, what ails this new self and how its pathologies should be treated. Their books are in part confessional accounts of their discovery that something has gone wrong in their lives. For Powers, revelation comes when he leans too far over the transom of his motorboat and falls into the waters off Cape Cod. Clambering back aboard, he realizes that his cellphone went into the drink with him and is ruined. He’s immediately aware of the hassle and headache he’s in for—replacing the phone, restoring his contacts, being out of touch, mourning the loss of his photos. But then, on his way back to his mooring,

I notice something funny. It’s not anything I can see or hear. It’s an inner sensation, a subtle awareness. I’m completely unreachable…. Nobody anywhere on the planet can reach me right now, nor can I reach them…. Just minutes ago, I was embarrassed and angry at myself for drowning my phone. Now that it’s gone and connecting is no longer an option, I like what’s happening.

more from Gary Greenberg at The Nation here.
Comment by doone on March 18, 2011 at 8:50am
A cross post to which explains how Naked Apes are related to other Apes and other primates using DNA comparisons.
Comment by Adriana on March 16, 2011 at 3:09pm
You guys may be interested in this discussion I posted in the main Forum: Homophobia an adaptive trait?
Comment by doone on March 16, 2011 at 11:09am

Good news for Women

Longevity Myths

Veronique Greenwood interviews Howard S. Friedman, co-author of The Longevity Project:

One of our longevity myths is "Get married, and you will live longer." The data tell a different story. Marriage was health-promoting primarily for men who were well-suited to marriage and had a good marriage. For the rest, there were all kinds of complications.

For example, women who got divorced often thrived. Even women who were widowed often did exceptionally well. It often seemed as if women who got rid of their troublesome husbands stayed healthy—most women, it seemed, can rely on their friends and other social ties. Men who got and stayed divorced, on the other hand, were at really high risk for premature mortality. It would have been better had they not married at all. 


Comment by doone on March 13, 2011 at 7:49pm
Comment by doone on March 13, 2011 at 3:07pm

A reader writes:

New research supports the view that:

"If you take the promiscuity that is the main feature of chimp society, and replace it with pair bonding, you get many of the most important features of human society," he said." -- 'he' being "Bernard Chapais, a primatologist at the University of Montreal, in his book “Primeval Kinship” (2008).

Dr. Chapais showed how a simple development, the emergence of a pair bond between male and female, would have allowed people to recognize their relatives, something chimps can do only to a limited extent. When family members dispersed to other bands, they would be recognized and neighboring bands would cooperate instead of fighting to the death as chimp groups do."

But there's more to it than that...

"Michael Tomasello, a psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, said the survey provided a strong foundation for the view that cooperative behavior, as distinct from the fierce aggression between chimp groups, was the turning point that shaped human evolution. If kin selection was much weaker than thought, Dr. Tomasello said, “then other factors like reciprocity and safeguarding one’s reputation have to be stronger to make cooperation work.”

An evolutionary bias towards 'morality'? To match the obvious bias towards increasing intelligence?

Richard Dawkins, call your office.

(Photo:A chimpanzee at Edinburgh Zoo looks up at the new ?5.65 million pound enclosure, the world's largest at 1500 square feet, which can hold up to 40 chimpanzees May 1, 2008 in Scotland. By Jeff J Mitchell/Getty.)

Comment by A Former Member on March 12, 2011 at 5:12pm

Thanks for the posts doone. I've been passing them along.

Comment by doone on March 12, 2011 at 8:06am

Giftedness Linked to Prenatal Exposure of Higher Levels of Testosterone

ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2011) — A longstanding debate as to whether genius is a byproduct of good genes or good environment has an upstart challenger that may take the discussion in an entirely new direction. University of Alberta researcher Marty Mrazik says being bright may be due to an excess level of a natural hormone.

A longstanding debate as to whether genius is a byproduct of good genes or good environment has an upstart challenger that may take the discussion in an entirely new direction. University of Alberta researcher Marty Mrazik says being bright may be due to an excess level of a natural hormone. 

Comment by doone on March 12, 2011 at 7:10am


From The New York Times:

Horowitz-popupWhen we meet Joshua Foer, his memory is “nothing special.” A year later, he is able to memorize the order of a shuffled deck of cards in less than two minutes and the names of 99 people he’s just met. He has also etched in his brain images of his friend urinating on Pope Benedict’s skullcap, of Rhea Perlman involved in indelicate acts with Manute Bol, and of other things most of us would try hard to forget. Let it never be claimed that there is no cost to self-improvement.

A mere millennium ago, being able to remember and recite a text verbatim was not a game or a party trick. It was an art. More than that, it was part of being cultured: a person without memory was a person without ethics or humanity. Today, memorization is limited to Shakespeare monologues and Robert Frost poems in high school. Phone numbers and friends’ birthdays are “remembered” by cellphones and computers. Indeed, much of our daily memory has been offloaded onto external devices. The advantage to this is clear: information is portable and searchable, and not taking up valuable space in our noggins. Until you lose your iPhone.

More here.


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