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

Does Trump’s Election Disprove the Existence of God?

Trump's handy win among Christians, who value traits such as kindness, humility, and non-violence, raises interesting questions about the psychological functions of religion.

If No One Else Is Around, How Attractive Are You?

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on December 10, 2016 in Pop Psych
While it doesn't hurt to be the most attractive member of your group when you're going out, they probably won't help you look anymore attractive than you would be on your own.

The Long Reach of Diet

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on December 08, 2016 in The Human Beast
Dietary recommendations are often faddish as illustrated by flip-flops on whether to take vitamins. Now researchers are grasping how diet interacts genes and offspring.

How Do People View Men With Tattoos?

By Vinita Mehta Ph.D., Ed.M. on December 08, 2016 in Head Games
A forthcoming study reveals our altered perceptions of tattooed men.

Do You Have the "Right" Amount of Ex-Partners?

By Ryan Anderson on December 08, 2016 in The Mating Game
A recent study has found some surprising results regarding an individual's sexual history. Neither men nor women want with either too much or too little sexual experience.

Don’t Be a Drone, Get Up and Roam!

By Jaime L. Kurtz Ph.D. on December 07, 2016 in Happy Trails
One easy change can make your work life more enjoyable and productive and might even make you healthier.

Receptors and Personality

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on December 05, 2016 in The Human Beast
Most personality traits are highly heritable. Still, there is a great deal of doubt about whether complex human behavior can be genetically determined.

Media Highlights Transhumanism Politics Near End of Election

By Zoltan Istvan on December 04, 2016 in The Transhumanist Philosopher
After 731 days, I finally finished my run for the US Presidency as a transhumanist. Transhumanism was covered in a major way by the media in the weeks leading up to the elections.

Fidel

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on December 04, 2016 in The Political Animal
Fidel Castro has been laid to rest. His words, and his descendants, live on.
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When Robots Reign: Getting Along with Robo Sapiens

Since power can be used not only to serve yourself, but to silence those who object to how you use it, self-aggrandizement and corruption are endemic.

What is Psychology’s Single Most Brilliant Discovery?

What is the most profoundly important thing we've learned from 150 years of scientific psychology? Here is one nomination.

Clinical Linguistics: What a Mess! Part 1

Clinical linguistics may benefit from the ongoing biolinguistic turn in language sciences.

Pet Ownership Impact on Well-being Depends on Marital Status

By Roni Beth Tower Ph.D., ABPP on November 30, 2016 in Life, Refracted
Pet ownership is unrelated to well-being in married Americans. Single women benefit from having a pet, yet single men appear to be burdened by it.

Vanishing Grandmothers and the Decline of Empathy

Find out why empathy is declining, why grandmothers matter, and why disappearing cultures can show us a unique recipe to nurture compassionate children and happy people.

How Parents Raise Children to Fit In

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 29, 2016 in The Human Beast
There is a lot of skepticism about whether parents truly affect their children. Comparing kids in different societies finds links between parenting and outcomes.

The Power of Curiosity

Might one consider eliciting the child's interests, rather than imposing interests upon the child?

Where Does Our Moral Sense Come From?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 29, 2016 in Talking Apes
Our intuitive morality may have been shaped not by the day-to-day dilemmas we face but rather by the opinions of others.

Modern Hunter-Gatherers Show We Evolved to Stay Active

By Christopher Bergland on November 29, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
New research on the lifestyle habits of a rare population of hunter-gatherers reaffirms the universal health benefits of staying physically active.

The Dangerous “Reveries” of HBO's Westworld Series

By Amy Fries on November 28, 2016 in The Power of Daydreaming
What do Stephen Hawking and HBO's new series Westworld have in common? Dire warnings of ways in which artificial intelligence can learn to out-maneuver us.

Darwin’s Parenting Tips

For many of us, parenting is our #1 priority and challenge. Here is some guidance on the process brought to you by good old evolutionary psychology.
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When Robots Reign: Getting Along with Robo Sapiens

Immortality lies not in identifying with any one model of Homo or Robo Sapiens, but in participating in the progression.

Why Do Dogs Have Tails?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 24, 2016 in Canine Corner
The dog's tail is not simply a signal flag conveying his mood. It has some other important purposes.

Fear and Voting

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on November 23, 2016 in Excellent Beauty
We all live in groups defined by shared fears, and shared ways of allaying those fears. Our fears therefore function as shibboleths. And thus my fears are invisible to you.
“Chimpanzee_selfie” by Frontierofficial/CC by 2.0

The Evolution of Humor: From Grunts to Poop Jokes

By Christopher A. Robert Ph.D. on November 23, 2016 in Humor at Work
The human capacity for humor distinguishes our species from others. Humor is the result of millions of years of evolution.

Prehistoric Languages… and Prehistoric Minds? Part II

The linguistic mind of our great, great [...] great grandparents

Hey Straight Women: Need Dating Advice? Ask a Gay Man.

The bond between straight women and gay men is real, and here to stay.

Do Men Really Get Over Breakups Faster Than Women?

By Jen Kim on November 22, 2016 in Valley Girl With a Brain
Despite what your ex is posting on Instagram, he's suffering, too. Just maybe not as much as you—and not in the way you are.

The New Evolutionary Socialism

Darwinian models applied to society need not be red in tooth and claw. Here is a plan for how an evolutionarily informed approach to society can help advance a socialist agenda.

The Politics of Faking Orgasm: Saving Time, Saving Face

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on November 21, 2016 in Insight Therapy
People who fake orgasms deprive themselves of great pleasure for an empty show of it, introduce a lie into an act of trust, distance into an occasion for closeness. Why?

The Psychology of Insults

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 21, 2016 in The Human Beast
Having been through an election that was won on the basis of insults, it's time to study why we so often put others down.