What Is Evolutionary Psychology?

Our bodies evolved over eons, slowly calibrating to the African savanna on which 98 percent of our ancestors lived and died. So, too, did our brains. Evolutionary psychology postulates that the mind is shaped by pressure to survive and reproduce. We jealously guard romantic partners and cherish our closest relatives above all others, lest we fail to pass on our genes. We easily acquire language, which is critical for cooperation and hence survival. Evolutionary psychology acknowledges these forces but stresses the ultimate (and largely unconscious) gene's eye view of behavior.

Recent posts on Evolutionary Psychology

Is Enthusiasm Always Bad in Science?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on January 17, 2018 in The Human Beast
Scientific literature is designed to omit personal feelings and discourage spontaneity and originality. Is that a mistake?

Millennials Can't Afford to Not Be Political Anymore

By Mariana Plata on January 17, 2018 in The Gen Y Psy
Are you tired of your government? An active change is necessary and newer generations hold the key to making this happen.

Does the Flu Trick People into Being Sociable?

From an evolutionary perspective, a virus that manipulates its host’s behavior so as to get into as many bodies as possible could be selected. The flu may be such a virus ...
With permission from Inner City Books

An Interview With the Late Jungian Analyst Edward Edinger

By Pythia Peay on January 13, 2018 in America On The Couch
"America is a kind of advanced laboratory for the world...We are the one nation that on principle has turned itself into a microcosm of the world."

Individual Differences

People come in all shapes and sizes, physically and psychologically. Here are nine of the core personality dimensions on which we vary from each other.

Coming to Terms With Ecoanxiety

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on January 09, 2018 in The Me in We
What is ecoanxiety and how to recognize it.

Why Men Will Always Be More Disgusting Than Women

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on January 09, 2018 in Out of the Ooze
It can be very liberating to be the most disgusting person in the room.

Good Manners in Evolutionary Perspective

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on January 09, 2018 in The Human Beast
Why have the habits of the Upstairs Downstairs world departed? What are they for? Have they always existed?

Some-nipotence: A Real Answer to the Free Will Question

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 08, 2018 in Ambigamy
You have free will and the reason you hear otherwise is that scientists got stuck on the assumption that you're just a complex chemical robot.

Our Attraction to Partners Who Look Like Our Parents

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on January 08, 2018 in Attraction, Evolved
Do we tend to prefer partners who resemble our parents?

Football Fans, Political Partisans, and Evolutionary Forces

By Gregg R. Murray Ph.D. on January 07, 2018 in Caveman Politics
Football fans and political partisans may be motivated by the same forces that motivated humans' ancestors.

"Touch Me There," Said the Robot

Are we physiologically activated when touching robots' bodies? Research begins to sketch out how we respond to humanoid robots.

An Evolutionary Fable

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in Ambigamy
Adaptation got much more complicated once we gained the power of language.

Why Early Experience Matters: Famous Scholars Know

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in Moral Landscapes
We know what humans need in early life to develop well, and the effects of early experience are no longer a mystery.

The Psychology of Star Wars: Dark Side Edition

By David B. Feldman Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in Supersurvivors
Star Wars makes lots of claims about our darker emotions. Are they accurate?

The Animals and Us Year In Review

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in Animals and Us
From the Furry Fandom to the Great Pet British Massacre, its been a good year for Animals and Us.

The Art of Loving in the 21st Century

Our days can be filled with love and happiness—if we really want it.

Yes, Humans and Animals Are 'Not So Different'

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on January 03, 2018 in Beastly Behavior
My book has drawn some predictable creationist criticism. Here I respond and invite dialogue.

What Does Makeup Say About You?

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on January 03, 2018 in Attraction, Evolved
What do we assume about a woman wearing makeup? And do our preconceptions have any basis in fact?

The Arguing Ape Hypothesis

The problem with contemporary political discourse is not bias and laziness. It's tribalism.

Are Emotions a Product of Human Design?

In individualistic but not collective cultures, positive high-arousal affect, such as love of power, is held in high esteem. Paradoxically, this triggers misery and dysphoria.

Do Dogs Think About and Plan For the Future?

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on December 28, 2017 in Canine Corner
The scientific data is not clear, but there are hints.

Explaining the 5 Most Commmon New Year's Resolutions

It turns out that the most common New Year’s resolutions connect strongly with our evolved nature. Perhaps understanding this fact can help us actually keep them in 2018.

Predicting the Future With Faces

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on December 28, 2017 in Pop Psych
Seeing into the future to predict where romantic effort would be best invested may be more doable than previously envisioned.

Can You Predict Whether a Partner Will Cheat?

Research suggests that most people fantasize about cheating, yet simultaneously find infidelity unforgivable. What predicts who is most likely to actually cheat?

Three Reasons to Embrace a Darwinian Worldview

Darwin’s expose on the nature of life was a game-changer. Here are three reasons to embrace this worldview.

Tax Bill Blowback

By David P. Barash Ph.D. on December 22, 2017 in Pura Vida
Pundits have been busy opining about the impact of the newly passed tax bill. They've ignored the impact of the psychology of envy and of relative good fortune.

Emotional Experiences Can Change the Nature of a Dog's Sleep

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on December 22, 2017 in Canine Corner
New data on the brain activity of sleeping dogs shows that the effect of emotional experiences on sleep is different for dogs and people.

Give Yourself 9 Kinds of Happiness

A review of studies from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology suggests 9 distinct positive emotions. Here are some suggestions about how to gratify all nine.
Chris Karidis/Unsplash

Don’t Tread on Me! Psychological Reactance as Omnipresent

By Ryan Smerek, Ph.D. on December 21, 2017 in Learning at Work
Are we pre-wired to react against being told what to do?