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

What is the Future of Intelligence?

By Richard Yonck on December 11, 2017 in The Intelligence Report
We human beings are continually being changed by our technology. How has this affected us and how might it influence our future?

Back Pages of an Evolutionary Psychologist

An interview with The Native Society.

Love, Trust, and Sexual Infidelity

By Eyal Winter Ph.D. on December 09, 2017 in Feeling Smart
Can a medication based on oxytocin treat sexual infidelity?

Moral Relativism Is Tricky, but Smarter Than the Alternative

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 09, 2017 in Ambigamy
When push comes to shove, we dig in our heels, pretending that nature or the supernatural stands for what we stand for. That's a problem worth keeping an eye on.
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Romantic Love, Casual Sex, and Human Ecology

Do harsh environments foster short-term mating, and rich ones long-term commitment? Environmental effects on reproductive strategies are more complicated than one might think.

Why We Are Conscious

Why are we conscious creatures instead of unconscious ones?

Psychotherapy Is THE Biological Treatment

Psychiatric problems come purely from traumatic adaptations as digested by our temperament. Psychotherapy deactivates problematic brain mappings and activates healthier ones.

Are Dogs Really Smarter Than Cats?

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on December 06, 2017 in Canine Corner
A look at their brain structure might help answer the question.

Smoking in Adaptive Perspective

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on December 06, 2017 in The Human Beast
People continue to smoke at the expense of survival, vigor, and reproductive success. Why?

When Does a Woman Prefer a Feminine to a Masculine Man?

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on December 06, 2017 in Attraction, Evolved
Do women who are attracted to men prefer a macho, masculine appearance? Or is a gentler, more feminine face the ideal?

Could Morality Have a Transcendent Evolved Purpose?

Evolutionary theory can explain morality in terms of survival and reproduction. Could it also explain morality in terms of some larger purpose?

Are Millennials Evolved for a Non-Existent World?

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on December 06, 2017 in ExperiMentations
Don't be a hater. Hate the game, not the player? With millennials, do we have a prayer? A brief idiomatic essay on human evolution.

Don’t Listen to Your Lizard Brain

By Andrew E. Budson M.D. on December 03, 2017 in Managing Your Memory
10 million years of evolution has led to the development of the neocortex to control our primitive drives. So why does it seem to fail so frequently?

10 Evolutionary Psychological Concepts That People Don’t Get

Evolutionary psychology is a powerful framework for understanding human behavior. Unfortunately, the field is woefully misrepresented. Here's how.

The Two Channels of Empathy

By Lydia Denworth on December 02, 2017 in Brain Waves
Is empathy an instinctive sharing of emotion? Or is it understanding how other people feel? According to the latest scientific thinking, it's both.

Do Dogs Respond More Accurately to Words or Gestures?

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on November 30, 2017 in Canine Corner
Voice commands and hand signals are not equally effective when directing a dog's behavior.

Paradigms Lost

By David P. Barash Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in Pura Vida
It is a common myth that the human species is somehow uniquely endowed, the center of the universe and the apple of god's eye. Reality is quite different, and much better.

Roy Moore and Sexual Abuse of Young Women

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 29, 2017 in The Human Beast
Conservative politicians seem compelled by a malicious elf to behave in ways that expose their rabid hypocrisies in public.

The Human Ape

By Rebecca Coffey on November 29, 2017 in The Bejeezus Out of Me
When it comes to sexual politics, why do even the good guys act like apes?

Why We Have Cats

Want to understand cats? Get this: Ancestral humans who domesticated cats selected for both (a) cuteness and (b) killing prowess. Here is a brief story of cat origins.

What Makes a Healthy Face?

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on November 28, 2017 in Attraction, Evolved
Psychologists who study facial appearance judgments have been unsure what makes a face appear healthier: shape or skin color. Until now...

Online Games, Harassment, and Sexism

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on November 26, 2017 in Pop Psych
Examining the reaction of men to male and female player voices in Halo 3

The Original Sex Scandal

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on November 24, 2017 in The Political Animal
Sexual predators are having a hard time. Over 200 years ago, Alexander Hamilton anticipated them.

Evolutionary Psychology and Enlightenment

Programed for dissatisfaction? Thank your evolutionary roots. Consider enlightenment as a strategy to improve your well-being and to become a better person.

On the Virtue of Not Knowing

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on November 24, 2017 in Excellent Beauty
Dawkins's has said that religion teaches the false virtue of accepting our not understanding the world. Is he right?

What Makes Us Human? Dopamine and the Cerebellum Hold Clues

By Christopher Bergland on November 24, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
A pioneering new Yale-led comparative analysis of human, chimpanzee, and macaque brains offers fresh clues about what makes the human brain unique.

The Eyes Have It: Limbal Rings and Attraction

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on November 23, 2017 in Attraction, Evolved
The limbal ring is a part of the eye most of us never consciously notice. But this darkened part of the iris may signal health and beauty.

A Solution to The Biggest Mystery You've Learned to Ignore

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 22, 2017 in Ambigamy
You've probably never thought to ask even though it's the question behind all your big questions: What is trying and how did it start?

Intelligent Men More Likely to Marry and Stay Married

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on November 21, 2017 in Attraction, Evolved
Intelligent men are more likely to be married. But is this because a smart man is more alluring, or because brainboxes happen to possess other desirable qualities?

Charles Manson: The Cult of Personality Surrounding a Killer

Researchers propose that murderers can be idolized and found attractive precisely because of their homicidal behavior.