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The Great Parenting Debates

Are We Wired to be Selfish? Maybe not.

Are humans wired to be selfish? No,not necessarily: evidence is mounting that shows we humans are are evolving to become more compassionate. One reason is that studies show when you're generous, others respect you more. Other research finds that compassion -- sympathetic emotion from others -- makes you feel happy and relaxed, because it stimulates the vagus nerve to release oxytocin, the "cuddle hormone." Check out this article about UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.

These are all findings from "positive psychology," which tries to look at resilience, optimism, and happiness rather than mental illness and dysfunction. Which -- if the reviews are accurate --makes me not so eager to read Barbara Ehrenreich's latest book, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, which attacks this new trend of positive psychology in the same way that many attacked the self-esteem movement: citing egregious exaggerations and distortions of the idea and using them to attack the entire movement.


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