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" A cockroach likely has no less brainpower than a butterfly, but we're quicker to deny it consciousness because it's a species we dislike. "
" It's a deep and all but certain truth about narcissistic personalities that to meet them is to love them, but to know them well is to find them unbearable. Confidence quickly curdles into arrogance; smarts turn to smugness, charm turns to smarm. "
" We're learning how important it is both to preserve sibling relationships if they work and repair them if they're broken. We're also learning a lot about nonliteral siblings - stepsiblings, half-siblings - and the surprising power they can have. "
" Sisters have ways of socializing brothers into the mysteries of girls. Brothers have ways of socializing sisters into the puzzle that is boys. "
" If you're an older sibling and you have a younger sibling who needs mentoring or is afraid of the dark, you develop nurturing and empathic skills that you wouldn't otherwise have. "
" Psychopaths know the technical difference between right and wrong - which is one of the reasons their insanity pleas in criminal cases so rarely succeed; they just fail to act on that knowledge. "
" There's only one thing harder than living in a home with an adolescent - and that's being an adolescent. The moodiness, the volatility, the wholesale lack of impulse control, all would be close to clinical conditions if they occurred at another point in life. In adolescence, they're just part of the behavioral portfolio. "
" A close family member once offered his opinion that I exhibit the phone manners of a goat, then promptly withdrew the charge - out of fairness to goats. "
" Overspending is as certain a part of the holiday season as overeating. But pushing away from both the table and the cash register at least a little bit sooner can make the post-holiday hangover hurt a little bit less. "
" At the root of the shy temperament is a deep fear of social judgment, one so severe it can sometimes be crippling. Introverted people don't worry unduly about whether they'll be found wanting, they just find too much socializing exhausting and would prefer either to be alone or in the company of a select few people. "
" Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities. But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless. "
" Humans have a fraught relationship with beasts. They are our companions and our chattel, our family members and our laborers, our household pets and our household pests. We love them and cage them, admire them and abuse them. And, of course, we cook and eat them. "
" Spending $1 for a brand new house would feel very, very good. Spending $1,000 for a ham sandwich would feel very, very bad. Spending $19,000 for a small family car would feel, well, more or less right. But as with physical pain, fiscal pain can depend on the individual, and everyone has a different threshold. "
" Older siblings get more total-immersion mentoring with their parents before younger siblings come along. As a result, they get an IQ and linguistic advantage because they are the exclusive focus of their parents' attention. "
" Older fatherhood isn't all bad: testosterone rates drop about 1% per year as men age, making them less reactive and more patient, and a professionally established middle-aged man is likely to have more time and money to devote to his kids than a twenty-something who's just getting started. "
" For years now, Chinese parents and teachers have lamented what's known as the 'xiao huangdi' - or little emperor - phenomenon, a generation of pampered and entitled children who believe they sit at the center of the social universe because that's exactly how they've been treated. "
" Your parents leave you too soon and your kids and spouse come along late, but your siblings know you when you are in your most inchoate form. "
" Certainly, people can get along without siblings. Single children do, and there are people who have irreparably estranged relationships with their siblings who live full and satisfying lives, but to have siblings and not make the most of that resource is squandering one of the greatest interpersonal resources you'll ever have. "
" Jellyfish serve as a model for bioengineers for the same reason yeast were once so valuable to geneticists: they're simple to deconstruct. "
" Spare a thought for the poor introverts among us. In a world of party animals and glad-handers, they're the ones who stand by the punch bowl. In a world of mixers and pub crawls, they prefer to stay home with a book. Everywhere around them, cell phones ring and e-mails chime and they just want a little quiet. "
" Vaccines save lives; fear endangers them. It's a simple message parents need to keep hearing. "
" Scarily, football helmets, which do a fine job of protecting against scalp laceration and skull fracture, do little to prevent concussions and may even exacerbate them, since even as the brain is rattling around inside the skull, the head is rattling around inside the helmet. "
" A fishnet is made up of a lot more holes than strings, but you can't therefore argue that the net doesn't exist. Just ask the fish. "
" Indeed, the best way to think of willpower is not as some shapeless behavioral trait but as a sort of psychic muscle, one that can atrophy or grow stronger depending on how it's used. "
" All behavioral or mood disorders - including depression, OCD, ADHD and addiction - have some neurochemical components, but sufferers can still work to overcome them. "