Essential Reads

Custodians of the Neighborhood

The evolutionary psychology of keeping things straight and secure

How Drug Addiction Impacts Infant Care

Substance abuse short circuits neural connections.

10 Things Your Psychology Professors Want You to Know

The Products of a Psychology Education

Why Childhood Stress Crimps Academic Performance

It reflects an ancient evolutionary pattern but calls for urgent change.

Recent Posts on Evolutionary Psychology

The Flynn Effect as Adaptive Change

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in The Human Beast
All living creatures can change to fit in with their environment. Some of that flexibility is due to gene selection but a lot is developmental. The Flynn effect of rising IQ in developed countries is an enrichment effect of modern life. It arises due to the adaptive response of our brain to the increased challenges it faces.

Jealousy Hurts Love, or Does It?

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in Insight Therapy
Jealousy in relationships is common and universal, with deep evolutionary origins. Research shows it can affect relationships in complicated and surprising ways.

Custodians of the Neighborhood

We like to keep our neighborhoods in good condition—free of graffiti, broken streetlights, litter, and potholes. Who are the custodians of our neighborhoods? And are they wasting their time?

One Thing You Must Know About Jealousy

Evolutionary psychology explain a critical gender difference in jealousy responses. Men have more to gain from sex with multiple partners so they respond by looking for someone new. Women have more to gain from keeping their partner committed so they respond by enhancing themselves and the relationship.

Monkey Business

By David Ludden Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Talking Apes
Humans have a number of brain regions that are dedicated to language processing, but other primates also have these same neural structures.

Three Ways Your Romantic Instincts Can Lead You Astray

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on March 29, 2015 in In Love and War
Romantic instincts are subject to a number of biases that can lead us to trust the wrong people and overlook the right ones.

Fear the Future

By James Sherlock on March 29, 2015 in Ape Expectations
In our modern world, anxiety is a burden to many. In our past, however, it may have been the difference between life and death.

The Real Reason People Think Promiscuity Is Wrong

Why do many people think promiscuity is morally wrong? STDs may sound like the simplest explanation, but it's probably not the correct one.

What Makes You Say You’re Lonely?

By Peter Toohey on March 26, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
What does it mean to be lonely and how do say that you are lonely? Is language enough to describe it? Are you lonely just because you think you are lonely and say you are lonely? Or are specific circumstances required for there to be loneliness? What does loneliness mean for the animal and human brain? Is loneliness and the word “loneliness” common to all cultures?

How Drug Addiction Impacts Infant Care

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in The Me in We
Drug abuse short circuits neural connections between child and caregiver.

Is Digital Life Risky?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in The Human Beast
Young people who grew up with digital technologies and cannot conceive of a life without the Internet, digital games, and social media are sometimes called “digital natives” whereas older generations who acquired these technologies as adults are “digital immigrants.” Digital natives have many advantages but “addiction” to screens has its critics.

Are People Inequality Averse?

By Jesse Marczyk on March 23, 2015 in Pop Psych
There have been claims made that inequality—not losses—are a major motivator of human punishment. My research disagrees.

Why We Like (Or Don't Like) Comfort Foods

By Vinita Mehta Ph.D., Ed.M. on March 23, 2015 in Head Games
We all know that stress can affect your diet. But a new study finds that there's much more to the story.

If Selfish Genes Build Brains, Why Aren’t We All Solipsists?

Contrary to what you might think, the “selfish gene” paradigm does not imply that we should be self-centered to the point of believing that only we exist.

Does Anxiety Help You Survive in the Modern World?

Might the worrisome symptoms of anxiety have a useful function? Our ancestors needed to worry about lions, tigers, bears, and the headhunters over the next hill. But is anxiety still useful in the modern world? There are some scientific findings on this question.

10 Things Your Psychology Professors Want You to Know

An education in psychology is enormous - including information on such diverse topics ranging from how infants perceive shapes to how rats learn to complete mazes - and more. Way more. The list found here distills a traditional education in psychology to 10 things that psychology professors really want their students to walk away with.

The Urge to Connect

A 3 billion year perspective on where the human race is headed

Why Childhood Stress Crimps Academic Performance

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 18, 2015 in The Human Beast
Animals from an environment full of risk remain vigilant and avoid exploring their surroundings. This promotes survival but has the indirect consequence of reducing their cognitive ability. A similar pattern applies to humans and shows up as academic under performance.

Science and the Online Dating Profile

Online dating is the new singles bar, one in which your words won't be drowned out by the music. But which words should you use? There is some scientific evidence about relatively more effective ways to turn an online contact into a real huggable moment.

Why Caring About Celebrities Can Be Good for You

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
When you cut away its many layers, our fixation on popular culture reflects an intense interest in the doings of other people; this preoccupation with the lives of others is a byproduct of the psychology that evolved in prehistoric times to make our ancestors socially successful. Thus, it appears that we are hardwired to be fascinated by gossip.

Foraging Through Our Memories

By David Ludden Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in Talking Apes
The idea that human thought processes arose suddenly and fairly recently in our past is just as improbable as angels’ wings.

Humans vs Honeybees

Honeybees are truly social; humans are not. When, 75 years ago, Arthur Koestler wrote Darkness at Noon, the differences were obvious.

How the Menstrual Cycle Affects Women's Libido

By Michael Castleman M.A. on March 15, 2015 in All About Sex
Unlike dogs and cats, women don't experience "heat," but studies show a libido spike around ovulation.

Women Like Men With Big Medals

By Gregg Murray Ph.D. on March 15, 2015 in Caveman Politics
If our basic drive is to survive and reproduce, why do men, who have been the primary war fighters throughout human history, volunteer to subject themselves to the life-threatening dangers of war?

5 Ways to Motivate and Encourage Seniors

Caring for, and having successful relationships with older adults often require unique interpersonal skills and strategies.

Are Environmentalists Better Romantic Partners?

Choosing eco-friendly vs luxury goods may have an impact on your love life.

Are Men More Caring Where They Outnumber Women?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 13, 2015 in The Human Beast
In romance, as in real estate it is either a buyer's market, or a seller's market. If there is a scarcity of men (or women) in a society, they get the best deal. If men are in demand, they can play the field. If women are in demand, they can hold out for a desirable partner who is kind, intelligent, and affluent.

It’s Spring! It’s Spring!

What is it about spring that is so special? Why does this season of re-birth set people into such a positive mindset? The answer, at least partly, is this: Humans have a natural love of life—we are "biophiles"—and spring is a celebration of this major facet of human psychology.

Womb for One

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on March 10, 2015 in How We Do It
The single-chambered womb of women is rare among mammals, which mostly have two separate womb chambers. Through developmental accident, a double womb occasionally recurs in women, but surprisingly does not stand in the way of successful pregnancy. Reduction from two chambers to one in evolutionary has some connection with single births, but there are twists in the story.

Falling Out of Love

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 09, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Though there has been extensive research looking at the psychology of romantic love, is it possible to learn what can cause people to fall out of love with their significant other? For that matter, how is it possible to move on after a relationship comes to an end? A new article published in Review of General Psychology raises some intriguing questions about this.