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

Self-Actualization, Actually

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.

Have Dogs Specifically Evolved to Eat Bread and Pasta?

Do dogs benefit from a raw meat diet? While wolves are genetically programmed to eat meat, dogs have genes that allow them to digest carbohydrates.

Twins and More: Too Much of a Good Thing?

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on July 25, 2017 in How We Do It
Multiple pregnancies bring more bundles of joy, but premature birth is more common. Delayed motherhood and fertility treatments are boosting the frequency of multiple births.

How To Explain How Genes Affect Politics

How do genes affect political attitudes and behavior? At least one guy knows how to explain it.

The Mental Health Crisis is upon the Internet Generation

College-Aged students are undergoing nothing less than an all-out crisis in terms of mental health issues. Perhaps being raised with cell phones is part of the problem. Here's why.

Hypotheses About Gender Imbalance in Expressing Opinions

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on July 21, 2017 in Cui Bono
Why are more opinion letters published in the NYT written by male authors? I explore both hypotheses about the answer to this question and how theories determine our hypotheses.

Fatal Attraction

By R. Douglas Fields Ph.D. on July 20, 2017 in The New Brain
An intriguing link has been identified between unconventional sexual behavior and a common parasite, which is acquired from cats.

How Good Is a Dog's Ability to Remember People?

There are suggestions that dogs can remember and may recognize particular people even after years of separation.

Real Reasons for Sex Before Marriage

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 19, 2017 in The Human Beast
More people today are sexually active before marriage than ever before. The true reasons are practical and have little to do with changing belief systems.

Looking for Social Behavior?

An encounter with a species of beetles that pair bonds, communicates with their offspring through sound, and deals with infanticide threats from other pairs.

Get the Science Right!

What popular books get wrong about human evolution.

Make Up or Break Up? 5 Ways Couples Reconcile After a Fight

New research has identified what men and women think are the most effective tactics used by couples to reconcile after a conflict.

Small Acts of Generous Behavior Can Make Your Brain Happier

New research shows that very small amounts of generosity can affect you on a neurobiological level.

Does Testosterone Really Just Make Men Aggressive?

The conventional wisdom about testosterone is that it drives aggressiveness and competition. But new research reveals that social rank is also important.
RelaxingMusic/Flikr

Mindfulness for Beginners

Mindfulness is all the rage, and with a promise to improve concentration, mood, and energy, reduce stress, improve immune function, and even fight obesity, it should be.

Secrets of Sexual Attraction

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 12, 2017 in The Human Beast
The problem of how different tastes in physical attraction emerge is surprisingly complex. Influences range from brain biology to fashions.

The Power of Total Isolation: Why We Hate Being Alone

By Kevin Bennett on July 12, 2017 in Modern Minds
The pain of extreme isolation results from a conflict between evolved social mechanisms and impersonal modern environments containing built structures that cut us off from others.

Can We Trust What Men and Women Reveal on Sex Surveys?

Sex surveys have limitations, but can be useful if administered correctly.

Intimacy Across Cultures—and Species

By Rebecca Coffey on July 11, 2017 in The Bejeezus Out of Me
Do you like gentlemanly/ladylike kisses or meaty, beastly ones? And what might that say about you as a human—and about humans as a species?

A Face Fit for the Job

Research from Canada suggests that people who rise to the top of their organisations have distinctive faces that advertise traits rare among their peers.

Four Underappreciated Markers of Female Beauty

It is no secret that when it comes to physical beauty, women are held to higher standards than are men; here are a few of the subtle things that seem to matter a lot.

Short Term Sexual Flings and the Narcissistic Personality

By Kevin Bennett on July 10, 2017 in Modern Minds
Do narcissists all over the world go after short-term sexual relationships? Cross-cultural research reveals universal links between narcissism and sex without commitment.

The ABC of the Diametric Model, Twenty Years On

Twenty years after it was first published, the diametric model can be seen as a striking co-discovery like so many others in the history of science.

Who Gives a Dog a Command and How It Is Given Matters

Dogs respond differently to hand signals and voice commands, and who is giving the commands also matters.

How Our Kids Learn Naturally

How do we stimulate the natural learning capacities of our children better in classrooms around the world?

Does Your Name Fit Your Face?

New research by psychologists from New Zealand suggests that there are negative social consequences if our name doesn't match our face.

Large Study Finds Pet Owners Are Different

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on July 03, 2017 in Animals and Us
New research shows pet owners and non-pet owners differ in important ways. Does this explain the positive impact of dogs and cats on human health?

Why You Should Fear Failure

Shame avoidance is a way in which evolution has provided humans with a useful tool to reach desired goals.

Language, Geological Time, and Evolution

Language is one of the most important revolutionary advances of human beings. We will explore language with its individual development and relationship to emotions and cognition.