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

Darwin's Classroom

According to a recent study, having an elementary school education that matches features of our ancestral past has positive and far-reaching outcomes in life. Here is why.

Are Dogs Insanely Friendly Because of Their Genetics?

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on November 16, 2017 in Canine Corner
A genetic abnormality which causes extreme friendliness in people also causes the friendliness we observe in dogs.

Sexual Variety

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 16, 2017 in The Human Beast
There is an astonishing amount of variation in sexual behavior around the globe and over time. Many of these differences can be explained as adaptive responses to the environment.

Kindness is a Risky Business

Kindness is the last thing many of us want to try in these ideologically-divided times - but rethinking what kindness is and how to leverage it can reveal new solutions.

Why Undergo Cosmetic Surgery?

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on November 13, 2017 in Attraction, Evolved
Two new studies investigate why women decide to undergo cosmetic surgery. How influential are partners and the culture we live in?

Your Primal Wound: What Happened in Childhood?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on November 12, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
Psychosynthesis considers a human life to move toward self-realization but many get detoured by their primal woundedness. How does that happen?

Bekindr Kindness Study Shows We Put Ourselves Last in Line

By Eva Ritvo M.D. on November 11, 2017 in On Vitality
This general kindness quiz that was completed by more than 1,300 people. I would like to share with you the highlights of this study, along with a few surprises.

On Being "Triggered": How Emotional Memories Affect Us

We cannot erase emotional memories, although we can be aware of what activates them and the interpretations we make.

Why Be Tolerant? Lessons From Bonobos

By Lydia Denworth on November 10, 2017 in Brain Waves
Humans aren't the only species willing to help strangers for no benefit. Bonobos, one of our closest relatives, do it, too.

Is Psychology Responsible for the Unabomber?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 09, 2017 in The Human Beast
According to the documentary “Manhunt," unethical research by Henry Murray motivated terrorism.

Does Evolutionary Psychology Promote Transphobia?

By Gad Saad Ph.D. on November 09, 2017 in Homo Consumericus
Do not promulgate “fixed binaries and biological essentialism” lest you might be accused of being transphobic and pro-genocide!

The Flavors of Everyday Anxiety

The blending of fear with other emotions produces the variety of ways in which anxiety is felt.

Why Do So Many People Fear Public Speaking?

Is the old saying true that it's better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt?

The Lead With Kindness Experiment

By Mica B. Estrada, Ph.D. on November 06, 2017 in Lead with Kindness
Want to learn how to make mean people your great teachers? Sometimes big life lessons come from unlikely places and give us healthier ways to be in the world.

Practice, Hard Work, And Giving Up

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on November 05, 2017 in Pop Psych
When it is is good to give up

The "Deep State" Warns Us About Shallow Thinking

By Eric Haseltine Ph.D. on November 03, 2017 in Long Fuse, Big Bang
Good politicians make the complex simple but good leaders make the complex important.

How Biology Affects Self-Perception

By T. Joel Wade Ph.D. on November 02, 2017 in The Mate Market
Evolutionary psychology explains why women’s self-esteem is based more on physical attractiveness, while men’s self-esteem is based more on relative status.

Regiments of Monstrous Women

By Robert J King Ph.D. on November 01, 2017 in Hive Mind
Contrary to what you may have heard, women in horror stories are not all lingeried chainsaw victims

Professor Kevin Laland On What Made Us Who We Are

By Isaac Lidsky on November 01, 2017 in Mastering Your Reality
Our culture shaped our evolution; by teaching and learning from each other we distinguished ourselves as a species.

Humans and Wine: A Seven Thousand Year Love Affair

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on November 01, 2017 in Beastly Behavior
There's more to wine than bouquets and finishes. Wine may be the badge of civilization and it is an excellent summary of science.

26 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Our Love For Pets

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on October 30, 2017 in Animals and Us
This controversial new book examines the psychology and evolution of our love for animals. (And it explains why you should probably not get a pug if you are looking for a pet.)

High Self-Esteem: Good or Bad?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on October 27, 2017 in The Human Beast
Americans have high self-esteem and young people feel particularly good about themselves. Is this beneficial for health and well-being?

Dogs Smell Your Emotional State and It Affects Their Mood

It is widely believed that dogs can recognize the scent of human fear and they react hostility to it. New data tests this idea.

Finding a Partner You Love, and Loving the Partner You Find

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on October 24, 2017 in Attraction, Evolved
Do we end up with a partner who matches our ideal? Or do we shift our ideal to match the partner we’re with?

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.