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

God, Satan, and Our Moral Bias

By Hector A Garcia Psy.D. on August 02, 2015 in Alpha God
Monuments to God or Satan? Exposing our moral biases.

Make Me a Match Made in Heaven - A New Crash Course

By Eyal Winter on July 31, 2015 in Feeling Smart
"Make Me a Match Made in Heaven" What Evolution, Psychology and Economics say about romance and reproduction. Stay Tuned!

There Is Grandeur in This View of Life

Some people think that evolution somehow diminishes what it means to be human and strips us of any spirituality. As I see it, this does not need to be the case at all. And here is why.

Is Music a Universal Language?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on July 31, 2015 in Talking Apes
Both music and language are universals of the human experience, even though the forms they take vary greatly from culture to culture.

The Paradox at the Heart of Psychology

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on July 30, 2015 in Excellent Beauty
Human minds are pattern-hungry. This fact destroys any blithe confidence we have that our sciences are unearthing deeper knowledge. Yet, we cannot live our lives without this so-called knowledge. Certainly we cannot do science without it, and we cannot live our lives without science. Yet, are we doing science, or are we merely mapping the insides of our minds?

Betrayal and Abandonment in Therapy

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on July 30, 2015 in The Me in We
When sudden death, suicide, or a sexual advance shatters the clinical alliance.

Can Artificial Intelligence Make Us Stupid?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in The Human Beast
Changing technology stimulates the brain and increases intelligence. But that may only be true if the technology challenges us. In a world run by intelligent machines, our lives could get a lot simpler. Would that make us less intelligent?

To Date or Not to Date

By Wendy Paris on July 28, 2015 in Splitopia
We may think that divorce opens the door to a rousing round of nonstop dating, but many people find they need a break between marriage and getting back out there. Taking a break can bring real benefits.

Why High School Stays With You Forever

For some of us, high school shines like an enchanted kingdom; for others, it is remembered as an endless Hell of daily torments. For most of us, it is something in between, but memorable nonetheless. Is it the collision between evolved psychological mechanisms and the nature of the modern high school that is to blame?

When Men Aren't As Good-Looking As They Think

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on July 27, 2015 in Social Instincts
Research finds, again, that men tend to overestimate their own attractiveness.

Understanding Conspicuous Consumption (Via Race)

By Jesse Marczyk on July 27, 2015 in Pop Psych
Highlighting the accuracy of some racial stereotypes, different racial groups tend to spend more of their income on highly-visible luxury goods. Understanding why presents us with an interesting puzzle to solve.

The Excellent Beauty of Scientific Mysteries

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on July 26, 2015 in Excellent Beauty
Science finally reveals that though we are a part of the universe, it definitely does not revolve around us. It does this by unearthing mysteries that are completely resistant to resolution. These "excellent beauties," far from showing us where science has failed, show us instead what the universe -- with intelligent African apes in it -- is really like.

Should Polygamy Really Be Legal?

With gay marriage now legal across the USA, some are suggesting that legal polygamy should be next. But would this really be a good idea?

Why Sex and Violence Go Together: Insights of Other Species

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 24, 2015 in The Human Beast
In a recent post, I addressed links between violent crime and male sexual competition. Now, I want to ask whether animal analogies really illumine human aggression. If a young man kills an acquaintance in a Detroit bar, does this have anything to do with elephant seals battering each other to death in the breeding season?

Are You Tone Deaf?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on July 24, 2015 in Talking Apes
The musically gifted often foist the “tone deaf” label on those whose music production abilities aren’t up to their expectations, but most have music perception skills in the normal range.

Republicans, Rape, God, and Evolution

By Hector A Garcia Psy.D. on July 23, 2015 in Alpha God
What is the ultimate relationship between our evolved psychology and conservative views on female sexuality?

What Facial Features Do Men Really Find Attractive?

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on July 23, 2015 in Social Instincts
New science reveals a gender discrepancy in judgments of facial attractiveness.

The Power of Evolutionary Psychology

A good scientific discipline should provide tangible new findings about some phenomena. Evolutionary psychology consistently provides new insights into what it means to be human. Here are three of the biggies – things we simply would now know without evolutionary psychology.

Joining the Dodo

By Vyv Evans Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in Language in the Mind
Universal Grammar has had its day in the sun; like that paradigmatic examle of the extinct, the dodo, Universal Grammar has lived beyond its sell by date. The science is in: and the future is not Universal Grammar.

Waists, Hips and the Sexy Hourglass Shape

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in How We Do It
Various studies have recorded men’s attractiveness ratings of alternative representations of women’s body shape. Tests often involve simple features such as the ratio between waist and hip widths. The aim has been to identify features that evolved as signals of mate breeding potential. But could such simple indicators influence the complex process of human partner choice?

New developments in sleep and development

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on July 18, 2015 in Dream Catcher
in order to understand functions of sleep we need to study the ways in which it develops in the child

Evolutionary Psychology 2.0

Evolutionary psychology got its start with a large focus on evolved behavioral sex differences. Since its inception, the field has broadened to the entirety of topics studied within the behavioral sciences. It may be time to start talking EP 2.0.

Top 5 Signs That Women Are Converging With Men

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 16, 2015 in The Human Beast
Fairly rigid gender divisions of the past are giving way to a much more equal relationship. Women are begin to act, and feel more like men even as men's actions and sensibilities are converging with women What are the unmistakable signs that women are becoming more like men?

The Stanford Prison Experiment Hits the Big Screen

Humans are clearly capable of greatness. But one of the best-known studies in the behavioral sciences tells us that human nature also has a dark side. A VERY dark side. And you can now see this for yourself in a theater new you …

Should a Dog's Name Be Part of an Obedience Command?

Most dog trainers believe that you must use a dog's name before you give him an obedience command if you want to get a reliable response. Are they correct?

Looking in the Cultural Mirror at 100, The Top 10

Five years ago I began writing pieces for Looking in the Cultural Mirror. While psychology may define itself as the science of behavior, when it comes to people it often seems more like the science of American behavior than of human behavior everywhere. This, my 100th piece, discusses the blog’s background and aims. It offers links to most popular 10.

Does Human Nature Make Genocide Inevitable?

I just appeared in a BBC debate about whether future genocide is inevitable. I said that it wasn't, especially if we utilize knowledge about human nature. Here's why I'm so optimistic about our evolved psychology and potential for peace.

When Dating, Confidence Will Get You Far (But Only So Far)

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 in Social Instincts
Implications for you, and your online dating profile.

Baboons Might Kidnap Puppies (But Not As Pets)

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on July 13, 2015 in Animals and Us
A wildlife documentary film claims that Saudi Arabian baboons kidnap puppies and raise them as pets. Here a distinguished animal behaviorist explains why this behavior makes sense from a baboon's point of view—and why it is not a form of pet-keeping.

The One Quality Guaranteed to Make You More Attractive

Do you think your mate desires you? Do you think he or she wants to be with you? Here's one way to make yourself more desirable.