Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

If Tiger Woods Were French, He'd Be President by Now

Question: Is there a seven-year itch?

Ted Fischer:  On the one hand, we could say again from an evolutionary perspective it makes sense for women to want to remain committed to one partner or a small number of partners, and for men to have as many partners as they can.  Because women are limited in many ways in how many children they can have.  And if our biology is telling us we have to reproduce, that that’s our purpose here on Earth, we have to reproduce and have a successful as children as possible.  Women only have a period of, maybe 30, 40 years in which they can have children, and then you have nine-month gestation period, and then you have several months after which most women are infertile after they give birth.  And so, women can only have so many children in their life times.  So mathematically, if we looked at this mathematically, it makes sense for women to try and keep a pair bond going.  And then for men, to keep a solid pair bond and then to have other relationships on the side.  It’s sort of an insurance plan, a backup plan.  And some would say that men have an infidelity gene.  That we are biologically conditioned to cheat.  And again, I would say whether that’s true or not, and we really can’t say culture is powerful enough to overcome those things.  And in either direction it’s powerful enough that, you know, many men, I don’t know if most, I really don’t know the statistics on this, but many men are faithful to their partners.  And so, we can overcome any sort of biological imperative that we have not to.  On the other hand, there have also been times and places where people don't look askance at having extramarital affairs, and as long as you’re a good husband, and you provide for your family, and you know, you sleep around a little bit, or you have a mistress, or whatever it may be.  And not even, you know, look at France today, it’s much more acceptable for a French politician to keep a mistress than for an American.

As the anthropologist explains, women are hardwired to crave a steady, monogamous relationship, whereas it makes much more evolutionary sense for men to always have a few extra options on the side. A feature that France acknowledges fairly openly, but America doesn't.

Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Ready to see the future? Nanotronics CEO Matthew Putman talks innovation and the solutions that are right under our noses.

Big Think LIVE

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Keep reading Show less

Russia claims world's first COVID-19 vaccine but skepticism abounds

President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.

Credit: Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Coronavirus
  • Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in Russia.
  • Scientists around the world are worried that the vaccine is unsafe and that Russia fast-tracked the vaccine without performing the necessary phase 3 trials.
  • To date, Russia has had nearly 900,000 registered cases of coronavirus.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Therapy app Talkspace mined user data for marketing insights, former employees allege

    A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.

    Talkspace.com
    Technology & Innovation
    • In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
    • Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
    • It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
    Keep reading Show less

    The dangers of the chemical imbalance theory of depression

    A new Harvard study finds that the language you use affects patient outcome.

    Image: solarseven / Shutterstock
    Mind & Brain
    • A study at Harvard's McLean Hospital claims that using the language of chemical imbalances worsens patient outcomes.
    • Though psychiatry has largely abandoned DSM categories, professor Joseph E Davis writes that the field continues to strive for a "brain-based diagnostic system."
    • Chemical explanations of mental health appear to benefit pharmaceutical companies far more than patients.
    Keep reading Show less

    Viewing abstract art causes notable cognitive changes

    Viewing art that doesn't look like anything makes your brain take extra steps to try and get it.

    Africa Studio/Shutterstock
    Mind & Brain
    • A new study finds that viewing modern art causes real cognitive changes in the viewer.
    • Abstract art causes the viewer to place more psychological distance between themselves and the art than with more typical works.
    • Exactly how this works is not yet known.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast