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

Did Social Contagion Cause the Great London Pet Massacre?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 18, 2017 in Animals and Us
Did social contagion cause nearly half a million Londoners to kill their dogs and cats at the beginning of World War II?

A Simpler Way to Get Along Without Asking About Feelings

By Kimberly Key on August 18, 2017 in Counseling Keys
Some people, and lots of men, have been raised not to feel and are at a loss when they are asked to identify a feeling. Or worse, they have been abused for their feelings.

Animals R Us, or Are They?

What is your cat really thinking about?

Fated to Fear

By Jeffrey Lockwood Ph.D. on August 17, 2017 in The Infested Mind
Is there evidence that our fear of insects is rooted in evolution? Studies of human genetics and results of controlled experiments support the inheritance of the infested mind.

How Awful is Work, Really?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on August 17, 2017 in The Human Beast
People talk about work as though it were before the Industrial Revolution. In reality work today is much better but our perceptions have not kept track.
By Lizbeth Jacobs, with permission

The Virtues of Science-Based Thinking

By Mona S Weissmark Ph.D. on August 17, 2017 in Justice Matters
Did science-based thinking help pave the way for the Gates Foundation motto, “All lives have equal value"?

Is There a "Superior” Sex?

Whether we are talking about academic, emotional, or social success, young males these days are struggling. Let’s acknowledge and address this problem.

The Secret Life of Procrastinators and the Stigma of Delay

Rather than shame procrastinators for the way they get things done, instead let's understand motivational style differences.

Mourning a Legacy of Racial Violence

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on August 13, 2017 in The Me in We
How narrative can help us understand racial terror and heal intergenerational trauma.

Diversity Includes Intellectual Diversity

James Damore, an engineer with Google, was fired for sending out a memo suggesting that our understanding of human nature should inform corporate policy. We have a long way to go.

The Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon effect is a psychological phenomenon whereby people do something primarily because others are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs.

Why Too Many Sperms Spoil the Egg

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on August 11, 2017 in How We Do It
Men can produce too many sperms as well as too few. Excessive sperm numbers around an egg can result in multiple fertilization, abnormal chromosome numbers, and miscarriage.

An In-depth Analysis of the Crisis at Google

The crisis at Google in the wake of the Damore memo controversy is an unfortunate symptom of our hyperpolarized society. This post explains how to understand it and move forward.

Preventing Hangovers

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on August 10, 2017 in The Human Beast
They can have adverse effects on productivity, health, and well being. Is there an effective remedy?

What Makes a Dog Notice a Person

Is it the sight of you, the sounds you make, or your scent that is most likely to make a dog aware that you are nearby?

The Psychology of First Impressions

By David Ludden Ph.D. on August 08, 2017 in Talking Apes
Researchers identify four facial features that drive our first impressions of others.

On That Google Memo About Sex Differences

Are sex differences in personality real? A response to the Google memo.

Sally Hemings

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on August 06, 2017 in The Political Animal
This summer, Sally Hemings of Monticello is getting her own room. Just steps from where Thomas Jefferson slept.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Caring and Caregiving

Providing care to a loved one who is dependent, fragile, or in need shows love in a basic way. Those who give with generosity and reliability rewards themselves as well as others.

Evolved for Activism

Political activism has deep ancestral roots - going back to foundational features of what it means to be human. Understanding this fact can help make this world a better place.

Why Do We Kiss on the Lips?

The startling answer is more than tongue in cheek.

Does Science Really Say There’s No Purpose to Life?

Many scientists see humanity as just a cosmic accident. But in a recent journal article, I describe a natural process that could have endowed humanity with an ultimate purpose.

What Keeps Partners From Cheating?

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on August 04, 2017 in ExperiMentations
Infidelity generally leads to pain and suffering for all involved, and is the most common factor in divorce. How do we resist temptation, making it more likely we'll stay together?

Chewing on the Twizzler Coincidence

Out of the mundane discover of a package of Twizzlers comes a meaning loaded sequence that challenges the materialist view of how the world works.

Why Religions Support Elites

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on August 02, 2017 in The Human Beast
Pope Francis acts out the humility preached by Christian ascetics for two millennia. Yet, he owns what is probably the most valuable art collection in the world.

Predictability of the Unexpected: The Yin and Yang of Life

By Saul Levine M.D. on August 01, 2017 in Our Emotional Footprint
As wonderful (or painful) as our lives can sometimes be, we will all experience unexpected dramatic changes. How we handle successes and setbacks is what is of most importance.

Science and Religion: Compatible or Not?

Is there a worldview that would satisfy our psychological cravings for religion, without requiring us to sacrifice any dedication to science? There probably is, so stay tuned.

Why Do Your Facebook Friends Have So Much Political Bias?

Myside bias makes us notice, search for, and favor evidence that supports what we already believe. Why do we do this? And is it worse on social media?

What Is the Sexiest Emotion for Men to Display?

By Alec Beall, Ph.D. on July 27, 2017 in Aesthetics 101
Why are bad boys so dreamy? Emotion research may help to explain.

What Does Self-Actualization Really Mean?

Self-actualization, rather than being a mystical pursuit of personal grown and realization, is grounded in basic functional motives. Clear understanding helps us find ourselves.