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

Scans Reveal Diametric Differences in More Detail

A followup study to a previous one that showed striking diametric differences between autistic and psychotic brains also reveals similarities in the so-called social brain.

Dogs Prefer Advice From People Who Actually Have the Answers

Data shows that dogs try to "read your mind" to see if you have reliable information before responding to your instructions.

When Should You Go With Your Intuitions?

Do you trust your gut? Going with your intuitions can be dangerous in some situations. This article helps you see when you should go with your gut, and when you shouldn't.

Why Religion Evolved

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 25, 2017 in The Human Beast
Religion consumes up to a tenth of economic productivity in some societies. So it must produce corresponding benefits. What are they?

What Men Desire in a Woman

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 25, 2017 in A Sideways View
What is the evolutionary psychology of mate choice? What really "turns men on" and why?

Love and Exile: Decoding the Many Rules of the Girl Code

By Jen Kim on April 24, 2017 in Valley Girl With a Brain
What do women want from their female friendships? Decoding the rules of the Girl Code.

Femme Fatale: Sexy Women Sway Men to Do Bad Things

Do sexy women send a man's moral compass haywire? New research shows that exposure to sexy images makes a man more likely to cheat, lie, and steal.

Morality: Seeds Must Be Planted Rightly in Early LIfe

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on April 23, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
It’s easy to believe that reasoning is the most important aspect of morality. But it isn't. Morality "goes all the way down" to how well our neurobiological systems work.

The Science of Religion for Everyone

Why insist that religion is immune from scientific study when cognitive and evolutionary theories have already made great strides in explaining a wide array of religious phenomena?

Imprinting and the Epigenetics of the Brain and Sleep

One of the best-understood epigenetic mechanisms—genomic imprinting—explains much about both sleep and the brain.

The Rise and Fall of Monogamy

By Neel Burton M.D. on April 19, 2017 in Hide and Seek
What future for monogamy and polyamory?

How Men Attract Women

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in The Human Beast
How men attract women is a much more difficult question than vice-versa because women are both more selective, and also more individualistic in what they want.

Why Are We All so frightened?

By Gary L. Wenk Ph.D. on April 16, 2017 in Your Brain on Food
Humans fear everything that is unfamiliar or not-like-me: we fear unfamiliar dogs, people who look or dress differently, unfamiliar places, things that go bump in the night, etc.

Helping Your Neighbor

We often help others with expectations of help in return at a future point. Turns out, this is a basic feature of what it means to be human.

How Universal Is Body Language?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in Media Spotlight
Are emotional signals shaped by different cultures or are they universal to all humans? An ambitious new research project seeks to answer that question,

The "Guilty Dog" Look and Other Borrowed Signals

The guilty dog look and the human handshake have similar roots in the evolution of animal communication.

The Nature of a Dog's Eye Can Make Problem-Solving Difficult

Dogs have limited visual abilities when compared to humans, and this may make solving certain problems difficult.

Disorganized Attachment: Fears That Go Unanswered

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in The Me in We
How disorganized attachment in infancy impacts emotional and social development.

The Brain's Fixation on the Short Term Is Hurting Politics

By David B. Feldman Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in Supersurvivors
When the Senate used the nuclear option, changing how it confirms Supreme Court nominees, some who voted for it said it was a bad idea. A cognitive bias explains why they did it.

Estrogen Promise

By Robert J King Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in Hive Mind
Have the rumors of the death of testosterone been somewhat exaggerated? In a word: Yes.

Are Humans Adapted to Modern Environments?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in The Human Beast
Our two main theories of human behavior do a poor job of explaining how humans change to meet the demands of varied environments – but we do.

Why Do We Stay Single?

Humans, like other animals, have evolved to spread our genes. Which begs the question: why does anyone stay single?

Psychological Consequences of Having Tree-Dwelling Ancestors

Renowned evolutionist Gordon Gallup has extensively studied the psychological correlates of handgrip strength. To understand why, we need to look to our arboreal past.

We Are Programmed for Fairness

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on April 07, 2017 in Am I Right?
You know when you're not treated fairly; it's built into your biology.

Hope

Hope remains, psychologically, a paradoxical mental phenomenon.

Semen Quality and the Menstrual Cycle

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on April 06, 2017 in Pop Psych
Biology is costly, and organisms only invest in it when the probability of returns is deemed high enough

What Is the Importance of Nonverbal Communications?

By Joe Navarro M.A. on April 05, 2017 in Spycatcher
Why study nonverbals? Because as you will see, they matter more than we think.

What’s in a Name?

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on April 05, 2017 in The Me in We
How does one's name influence identity and guide one's destiny?

Your Brain on Text

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 04, 2017 in The Human Beast
Athletes look different from non athletes. Similarly, the brains of literate people are different from those who do not read.

Consciousness in Other Animals

This post discusses the challenge of determining whether or not the experiences of other organisms have the same phenomenal quality of our typical conscious experiences.