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

The 2017 Nobel in Medicine: Good News for Dream Research

Anything that sheds new light on sleep has the potential to shed new light on dreams, since dreaming naturally emerges out of the state of sleep.

8 Great Books on the Evolved Psychology of Sex and Passion

By Kevin Bennett on October 22, 2017 in Modern Minds
Every intensely emotional thing you do is inked to an adaptive problem and solution. These books will open doors.

Why Does Cerebral Brain Power Gobble Up So Much Energy?

By Christopher Bergland on October 21, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
New research explains why it's difficult for our brains and bodies to optimize cognitive and physical performance simultaneously.

What Is the Sexiest Emotion for Women to Display?

By Alec Beall, Ph.D. on October 18, 2017 in Aesthetics 101
Emotion research may provide happy women with yet another reason to smile.

Spirit Molecules: Allies for Healing from Trauma

Spirit molecules: Allies for healing from Trauma.

Why Do Dogs Have Cold, Wet Noses?

A dog's wet nose can improve his scenting ability but it also does more than that.

The Role of Creepy Characters in Popular Culture

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on October 16, 2017 in Out of the Ooze
Watching disturbing people onscreen in the safety of a movie theater or in our living room may provide an opportunity for learning vicariously from the mistakes of others.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Look at the Big Picture

Daily events can derail a relationship all too easily. Remember the reasons why you came together, appreciate the glue that maintains your bonds, and understand what threatens.

Bigfoot Parents Have Small Brains

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on October 12, 2017 in How We Do It
Birds and mammals mostly show intensive parenting, linked to their “warm-blooded” nature and quite large brains. Incubator birds show no care of their chicks and have tiny brains.

Does Cutting Taxes Sap Productivity?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on October 12, 2017 in The Human Beast
The bigger the government, the more productive the workers.

Why Are So Many Millennials Pursuing Side Hustles?

By Mariana Plata on October 11, 2017 in The Gen Y Psy
Is side hustling the new trend? This is why millennials are choosing to pursue it. Spoiler alert: it's not about the money.

Neither Free Will Nor Determinism

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 10, 2017 in Ambigamy
We haven't resolved the free-will debate because we don't know what will is. Here's an explanation from will's origins in chemistry with intuitive implications for your own life.

Very Young Male Syndrome

Perceiving life as short has many outcomes associated with it. Being male and having gotten stitches at some point are among them. Evolutionary psychology tells us why.

Anxiety Springs Eternal

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on October 05, 2017 in The Human Beast
Anxiety is the unsolvable problem that gives rise to many others, from addiction and suicide to depression, obesity, and economic failure.

All-Female "Lord of the Flies" Remake

How would a Muslim girl, a transgender boy, a girl suffering from autism (and, of course, a female 'Piggy') influence dynamics in an all-female Lord of the Flies remake?

Mass Killings: An Evolutionary Perspective

By Robert J King Ph.D. on October 04, 2017 in Hive Mind
What insights does evolutionary psychology offer about mass killings? Some; but we are still a long way from complete understanding.

Why Is a Dog Combative and Aggressive toward Other Dogs?

Recent research shows that the balance between two common hormones may account for aggressive behaviors in some dogs.

Your Neanderthal Quotient and Your Personality

Thought the Neanderthals were extinct? Think again. Their DNA is likely alive in all the cells of your body. What’s more? This heritage may affect how you act each day.

We Are Programmed for Gluttony and Weight Gain

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on October 03, 2017 in Beastly Behavior
The key to understanding our struggles with healthy weight management lies in our evolutionary past.

Why Would Anyone Run For Office? It’s In Their Genes?

By Gregg R. Murray Ph.D. on October 01, 2017 in Caveman Politics
For the life of me I’ve never understood why someone would want to run for office. This may help explain it.

How Much Diversity Can We Handle?

When we embrace diversity, we reap benefits in the long term, with much conflict in the short term.

Hillbilly Elegy

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in Excellent Beauty
Psychological science could help alleviate or even end poverty. Clearly the United States won't pursue this, but perhaps some other country will, eventually.

Why Buy Fine Art?

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on September 28, 2017 in The Me in We
The reasons for buying fine art are mostly psychological.

The Sexiest Time of the Year

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on September 27, 2017 in The Human Beast
Like many other mammals, humans are seasonal breeders.

The Kneeling Anthem Seen as a Ritual "Failure"

By Nick Hobson Ph.D. on September 27, 2017 in Ritual and the Brain
Why do people think it's wrong to kneel during the anthem? The science of ritual investigates.
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Cognition

Infants express their feelings through facial expressions, bodily movements, and vocalizations. Babies can express built-in feelings almost from day one...

Our Civiliation is Doomed!

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on September 21, 2017 in The Human Beast
If one studies ancient complex civilizations, the prognosis is bleak. All failed, generally quite spectacularly and with remarkable speed. Can ours be any different?

Mend the Gap Between Rich and Poor in School Achievement

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on September 20, 2017 in Freedom to Learn
The more rigid and authoritarian the school program is, the greater is the achievement gap between rich and poor. The more trusting and empowering it is, the smaller is the gap.

Why Do We Love the View From High Above?

By Andrea Bartz on September 19, 2017 in The Wandering Mind
The weird psychological reason you'll take an elevator to the 102nd floor.
Mack Hicks

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

By Mack R. Hicks Ph.D. on September 15, 2017 in Digital Pandemic
Do our observations of gender differences hold up to scientific inquiry?