How is diversity being weaponized?

Striving for diversity is honorable — but the focus should settle on something much deeper than phenotypic traits.

  • In efforts to achieve diversity, whether within workplace teams or elsewhere, leaders often focus on variation of identities regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, and physicality.
  • Evolutionary biologist Heather Heying urges that these efforts be taken a step further to focus on diversity of viewpoints and socioeconomic status — two forms of identity that are less apparent without thoughtful conversation.
  • Achieving diversity in these ways adds varying life experiences and opinions that enrich office or team culture and provide more innovative solutions.
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Is asexuality psychological or biological?

Or is "the hidden orientation" more complex than that?

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  • The term "asexuality" refers to someone who does not feel sexual attraction to others and/or has a lack of interest in sex. According to a UK survey on sexuality, 1% of the population identifies as asexual, although some researchers suspect it's even more.
  • While research on asexuality is limited right now, there has recently been a surge of interest in asexuality with Brock University Professor Anthony Bogaert and Stanford scholar Karli Cerankowski making strides in research on this topic.
  • Studies show people are learning more about the sexual orientation at a younger age than previous generations, making research and discussion about different sexualities more important than ever before.
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Sports and politics: How strong is group identity?

No matter how arbitrary the distinction, human beings take affiliation very seriously.

  • It is often suggested that identity politics is something that marginalized groups do. American journalist and Vox co-founder Ezra Klein argues that it's something we all do. "All politics all the time is influenced by identity."
  • In social psychology, experiments in the minimum viable group paradigm methodology have shown that no matter how arbitrary the distinction, those who belong to one group tend to favor that group and discriminate against others.
  • Group identity trumps all else when it comes to politics and policy decisions.
  • Check out new episodes of Klein's podcast, The Ezra Klein Show, every week.
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#4: What makes someone gay? Science is trying to get it straight. | Top 10 2019

Taking the fourth spot on Big Think's 2019 top 10 countdown is the question: Evolutionarily speaking, is being gay still something of an enigma?

  • Big Think's fourth most popular video of 2019 features bioethicist Alice Dreger. She presents the idea that heterosexual people have been less interesting to scientists than gay people in terms of why they exist. This is because, evolutionarily speaking, being gay doesn't lead to a higher "higher reproductive fitness" — meaning, it doesn't lead to more babies.
  • Huge and rigorous studies have proven the fraternal birth order effect: Statistically, if a mother has lots of pregnancies of males, every successive male child will be a little bit more likely to be gay. This is because the mother's immune system appears to react to the male fetus' hormones and may dampen them down.
  • The Western view of gay and straight isn't the definitive definition. In Samoan culture, there is a third gender: fa'afafine. These are boys who are raised as girls; they become women culturally and partner with men, although they don't change their physical anatomy.
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Self-liberation and the watershed moment of coming out

Sally Susman explains how to use truth-telling moments to your future benefit.

  • The biggest decision of Pfizer executive Sally Susman's life was to come out as gay in 1984, when society was not as accepting as it is now.
  • She was told she would never have a spouse, a career, or children; those were the fears told to her by the people who loved her most.
  • Defying that prediction became her personal north star, and 31 years later she has done it. Susman used that truth-telling moment of coming out as a way to focus her ambitions and plant the seeds for her future.