Porn problems + Captive apes are curious, wild ones are not + Bilingualism overrated

In What Ways Can Porn Use Cause Problems?

EXCERPT: The impact of pornography on relationships, individual health and society is in the public eye more than ever before. Pornography use is widespread, and often problematic, and has been shown to generally have a negative impact on couples and gender relations, leading men and women to devalue one another. While there may be exceptions in which pornography depicts healthy sexual activity and respectful gender relations, the rule is that pornography is dominated by hostile sexism, frequently violent, and generally dehumanization and objectification. Because of how sex impacts the brain, pornography essentially short-circuits other systems, becoming not only addictive but also undermining secure attachment, mutual relatedness, and intimacy. As with other similar behaviors, pornography use may also be stigmatized, responded to with judgment and criticism, rather than from a potentially more constructive, curious and non-judgmental point of view....


Captive Orangutans Are Curious (But Wild Ones Are Not)

EXCERPT: . . . He [ Carel van Schaik] and his team at the University of Zurich have spent several years confirming that observation in dozens of individuals. They’ve shown that wild orangutans are decidedly incurious. They eschew the new. They abhor the unfamiliar. Captive orangutans couldn’t be more different. They readily explore what their wild counterparts ignore. Something about captivity, whether it’s the close contact with humans or the absence of predators, unlocks a latent capacity for curiosity. And if that happens early enough, it boosts their problem-solving abilities as adults. “This dormant potential lies there waiting to be used,” van Schaik says.

[...] Scientists rarely study curiosity in other animals, and perhaps for good reason. It’s “a difficult concept to define, even for humans,” says Jill Pruetz from Texas State University, “but it has very intriguing implications for understanding human evolution.”

For example, our ancestors had developed large brains, upright bodies, and basic tools hundreds of thousands of years before they acquired language, art, and other more sophisticated cultural innovations. “We’ve always wondered what unleashed that, and it may have something to do with curiosity,” says van Schaik. Perhaps some change in our society, whether larger groups or the advent of new weapons, afforded us the safety that zoos provide to orangutans. That, in turn, could have unlocked the latent curiosity in our own minds, turning us into explorers and innovators....


New Study: Cognitive Benefits of Bilingualism Overstated

EXCERPT: Finnish investigators have found that prior research suggesting acquisition and active use of two languages enhances executive function is overly optimistic. In the meta-analysis, researchers discovered that bilingualism is very useful in communication between people, but it does not seem to increase the cognitive skills related to executive functions....

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