Evolutionary Psychology Essential Reads

There Is Grandeur in This View of Life

Some people think that evolution somehow diminishes what it means to be human and strips us of any spirituality. As I see it, this does not need to be the case at all. And here is why.

Is Music a Universal Language?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on July 31, 2015 in Talking Apes
Both music and language are universals of the human experience, even though the forms they take vary greatly from culture to culture.

Can Artificial Intelligence Make Us Stupid?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in The Human Beast
Changing technology stimulates the brain and increases intelligence. But that may only be true if the technology challenges us. In a world run by intelligent machines, our lives could get a lot simpler. Would that make us less intelligent?

To Date or Not to Date

By Wendy Paris on July 28, 2015 in Splitopia
We may think that divorce opens the door to a rousing round of nonstop dating, but many people find they need a break between marriage and getting back out there. Taking a break can bring real benefits.

Why High School Stays With You Forever

For some of us, high school shines like an enchanted kingdom; for others, it is remembered as an endless Hell of daily torments. For most of us, it is something in between, but memorable nonetheless. Is it the collision between evolved psychological mechanisms and the nature of the modern high school that is to blame?

When Men Aren't As Good-Looking As They Think

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on July 27, 2015 in Social Instincts
Research finds, again, that men tend to overestimate their own attractiveness.

Should Polygamy Really Be Legal?

With gay marriage now legal across the USA, some are suggesting that legal polygamy should be next. But would this really be a good idea?

Are You Tone Deaf?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on July 24, 2015 in Talking Apes
The musically gifted often foist the “tone deaf” label on those whose music production abilities aren’t up to their expectations, but most have music perception skills in the normal range.

The Power of Evolutionary Psychology

A good scientific discipline should provide tangible new findings about some phenomena. Evolutionary psychology consistently provides new insights into what it means to be human. Here are three of the biggies – things we simply would now know without evolutionary psychology.

Evolutionary Psychology 2.0

Evolutionary psychology got its start with a large focus on evolved behavioral sex differences. Since its inception, the field has broadened to the entirety of topics studied within the behavioral sciences. It may be time to start talking EP 2.0.

The Stanford Prison Experiment Hits the Big Screen

Humans are clearly capable of greatness. But one of the best-known studies in the behavioral sciences tells us that human nature also has a dark side. A VERY dark side. And you can now see this for yourself in a theater new you …

Should a Dog's Name Be Part of an Obedience Command?

Most dog trainers believe that you must use a dog's name before you give him an obedience command if you want to get a reliable response. Are they correct?

Does Human Nature Make Genocide Inevitable?

I just appeared in a BBC debate about whether future genocide is inevitable. I said that it wasn't, especially if we utilize knowledge about human nature. Here's why I'm so optimistic about our evolved psychology and potential for peace.

Whole Language or No Language?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on July 10, 2015 in Talking Apes
There are more things in reading and writing, Educators, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

5 Signs That Men and Women Are Converging

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 08, 2015 in The Human Beast
Fairly rigid gender divisions of the past are giving way to a much more equal relationship for Millennials. Men's actions and sensibilities are converging with women in remarkable ways even as women begin to act, and feel more like men. What are the key signs that this is happening?

Why Good Looks Don't Guarantee a Great Relationship

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on June 30, 2015 in Social Instincts
New research finds that attractiveness does little to guarantee a healthy relationship.

The X Factor: Genetics and Female Mental Health

XIST, the gene that controls X chromosome gene expression, is up regulated in psychosis, just as the imprinted brain theory predicts.

Humanism: To Think Is to Act

Humanism: Moving towards pre-frontal cortex functioning and moving away from reptilian brain functioning

Can Evolution Explain All Human Behavior?

Evolutionary explanations of human behavior abound and they call on what we know about evolution. However, proving the validity of these explanations is another story. Why is that?

Born in the USA

When the 4th of July comes around, do you find yourself getting all patriotic? That’s OK – it’s part of our evolved coalitional psychology. Read on to find out why!

The Psychology of Competition

Competitions are fun, let’s be honest. At one point or another, you probably have enjoyed being part of some kind of competition. Of course, competitions are more fun if you actually “win” (but for you to win, someone else must lose). Given this basic inequality: can competitions promote pro-social behavior?

Nice Guys Really Do Finish Last

A new study shows that being over-confident may not make you more desirable, but can still help you get the girl.

Why Violent Crime Is Shrinking

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on June 23, 2015 in The Human Beast
Rising crime rates during the twentieth century were a small blip on a very steep decline extending back to the fourteenth century and earlier. That stunning conclusion emerged only in the last decade. Causes of most of the long-term decline are currently unknown. That of the past few decades seems simpler.

Holy Heisenberg!

By David Ludden Ph.D. on June 19, 2015 in Talking Apes
Evolution has crafted human brains to be efficient processors of social information, and our intuitions aren’t nearly as illogical as many psychologists have portrayed them.

Encounters with Dead Pets: A Study of the Evolution of Grief

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on June 17, 2015 in Animals and Us
Bereaved pet owners sometimes think they have seen or heard their dead dogs or cats. Here's what these errors reveal about the evolutionary functions of grief.

Hippies as the Original Ancestral Lifestyle Proponents

Modern evolutionary science has implications for living a relatively natural life – a life that may resemble the lives of our pre-agrarian ancestors. In many ways, this is exactly what the hippies of the 1960s and 1970s were going for!

Rejecting Evolutionary Psychology Is Rejecting Evolution

Behavior is the result of the nervous system – which is the result of eons of natural selection. Rejecting evolutionary psychology, thus, is the same as rejecting evolution itself.

Happiness versus Success

Over the decades - as both a psychiatrist practicing in Silicon Valley and a civilian living here locally - I have witnessed so much success and yet so little happiness. In our valley of material riches and natural beauty, the two are regrettably too often in opposition.

Happy Birthday Edward Gibbon

227 years ago this month, the last installment of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire came out. Gibbon was wrong about Roman emperors, and he was wrong about the Church. But he was right that democracy depends on the ability to sail away from a tyrant.

Our Children's Children's Children*

On top of old worries about whether humankind will survive the next few centuries come new concerns about whether our descendants will even be human in a sense that we would recognize. The centuries ahead could be very interesting, indeed.