Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life

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Old Men, Young Women, and the Psychology of Rejection

An interview with one of the field's "colorful personalities.

I have been posting links to interviews with several of the founders of the field of evolutionary psychology.  Rob Kurzban does a blog for "This View of Life" in which he announced the HBES interview with a fellow named Doug Kenrick (who he describes as one of the field's "colorful personalities!") 

Rather than tell you what a great guy Doug Kenrick is (I can actually tell you more about his faults!) I will simply re-post Rob's announcement below.  

(I myself liked a lot of it, except the parts where it appears that my memory for names is beginning to qualify me for semi-senility, speaking of Kenrick's faults).  

On The Origin Of Human Behavior And Evolution Society: Doug Kenrick

POST: SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 12:25 PM

AUTHOR: ROB KURZBAN        

SOURCE: This View of Life


Doug Kenrick is among the field’s most colorful personalities—have a look at his biography on the Psychology Today page—and among the most prolific, having published around 200 articles during the course of his career. Kenrick also connects with the general public, with his popular blog; indeed, his second book (with Vladas Griskevicius) The Rational Animal is coincidentally being officially released the day after this video was posted.

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Kenrick’s perspective owes a great deal to his academic history, coming as he does from the more social side of the field, and his discussion of his own history in the field to some extent echoes David Buss’ remarks. Kenrick captures the tension between social and clinical psychology (around 6:00), discussing how people in those areas want to “find out how to make people nice,” a goal which practitioners sometimes think might be undermined by the evolutionary approach. 

In addition to discussing his early work on analyzing personal ads, and his more recent work on people’s “fundamental motives,” Kenrick offers some advice to up-and-coming scholars in the field, especially about dealing with rejection (21:30). Kenrick emphasizes that the Great Ones all experience their share of rejection, an inevitable part of even the most successful scholarly career. 

We hope you enjoy this engaging interview with one of the field’s most colorful—and insightful—scholars. 

For other media, see his TEDx talk and his appearances on Discovery. 

Watch more: 

On The Origin Of Human Behavior And Evolution Society: John Tooby

On The Origin Of Human Behavior And Evolution Society: Leda Cosmides

On The Origin Of Human Behavior And Evolution Society: Martin Daly

On the Origins of Human Behavior And Evolution Society: William Irons

Douglas T. Kenrick, Ph.D., is professor of social psychology at Arizona State University.

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