Evolutionary Psychology Essential Reads

"Mail Order Brides" Still Exist

The mail order bride business as it now operates may be in the perverse position of attempting to match independent, nontraditional women with very traditional Western men, a situation which frequently leads to dissatisfaction for both parties.

The Qualities of Leaders

By Mark van Vugt Ph.D. on November 23, 2015 Naturally Selected
What makes a good leader? The way leaders are chosen and how they lead may not be so different between humans and others in the animal world. This is important to consider when we make decisions about our political leaders.

An Evolutionist’s List of Thanks

From an evolutionary perspective, gratitude is a significant social emotion. It drives us to connect with others - and it works to remind us of the fact that we are always part of something larger than ourselves. Here is a list of 6 things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving (and all other days of the year as well).

This Is Your Brain at 100%

By Kevin Bennett on November 21, 2015 Modern Minds
Is your brain operating at only 10% capacity? Here is why the answer is a lot like Bigfoot.

Hearing With Our Eyes, Seeing With Our Ears

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 Talking Apes
Consciousness is a virtual reality in the head, the brain’s best guess as to what’s out there in the world.

The Clothes You Wear Can Affect a Dog's Emotional State

Data shows that if your clothing has stripes vs polka-dots or plain color, it can provoke an emotional response in dogs

Chimpanzees Pass the Marshmallow Test

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 13, 2015 Talking Apes
Over the last few decades, research has shown that our primate cousins are much closer to us in mental capacities than we’d previously thought.

Eating Garlic Makes Men Smell More Attractive

New research from psychologists in Scotland and the Czech Republic has revealed that eating this sulfurous bulb could improve your body odor.

The Art (and Science) of “Aping”

Human beings are smart. But, according to Joseph Henrich, the impact of the innate intelligence of individuals may be over-rated. Quite often, for example, European explorers who got lost did not survive. The takeaway, Henrich suggests, in an immensely ambitious new book, is that our species' uniqueness lies less in the power of individual minds than in collective brains.

Don’t Give a Monkey the Finger

In a recent viral video, a young male is attacked by a monkey after giving it the middle finger. This incident provides exceptional evidence for features of emotion systems that cut across primate species while providing some guidance on cross-species etiquette at the same time.

The Evolutionary Psychology of “Above and Beyond”

Some people shoot for meeting minimal standards in life. Others go above and beyond. In my job as a college professor, I get to help bright young minds learn the value of going above and beyond — and, without question, such an approach to all aspects of life has special rewards.

The Genius of Instinct

If you want to thrive in life, begin to use the genius of your instincts.

What Makes a House Feel Haunted?

The portrayal of cinematic haunted houses has remained remarkably consistent across time, and the architects of our annual macabre Halloween rituals incorporate all of the same bells and whistles (or creaks and groans) that we’ve come to expect. What is it in our evolutionary past that makes some types of houses feel so creepy?

Nose to Nose Greeting With Puppies

Nose to nose touching with an adult dog may result in bites to a person's face, however this method of greeting may be a useful and safe technique to use when socializing puppies.

Can We Answer Life's Big Questions?

Evolutionary psychologists are always thinking about the big picture. As such, from the perspective of an evolutionary psychologist, there are actually pretty clear answers to the big questions of life.

The Mating Game Is Changing —And You Won't Believe How

By Hara Estroff Marano on October 26, 2015 Nation of Wimps
Mating is changing in some very surprising ways in response to an increasing shortage of high-quality men. When it comes to mating, it turns out, numbers change psychology.

The Evolutionary Psychology of Politics

Large-scale politics on a national or international scale is often disastrous. Maybe this is because the human mind has evolved to deal with small-scale politics.

Small Acts of Generosity and the Neuroscience of Gratitude

Neuroscientists have identified the brain circuitry that explains how and why small acts of generosity create the positive emotions of gratitude.

Lucky to Be Here at All

Sometimes thinking about ancestral conditions that necessarily existed for the lion's share of human evolutionary history helps us put modern issues into perspective.

The Age of Artificial Consciousness

With the increasing momentum in technological advances, it seems we have reached a turning point in our ability to create advanced artificial intelligence systems. Some would argue that soon we will have a form of human-like consciousness in robots. But is that really the case?

5 Psychological Lessons from Marathon Running

Marathon running is intense and dangerous. So why do some of us take on this kind of superfluous activity? Here are five psychological factors that help us understand the nature of marathon running.

Do Social Odors Build Cities?

By Gayil Nalls Ph.D. on October 02, 2015 Sensoria
Is your smell communicating everything about you, from your state of mind to the foods and drugs you take? Learn how the invisible sense of smell influences every aspects of your daily life.

Freedom and Its Consequences

In his book Freedom Evolves, the philosopher Daniel Dennett tells about a young father who forgot to drop off his infant daughter at her day-care center on his way to work. She spent the day locked in his car in a hot parking lot. When he returned to his car, she was still strapped into her little car seat in the back seat, dead.

User's Manual for the Male Brain

Theory and practice of getting the best and avoiding the worst in male humans

You Smell. And That's a Good Thing.

By David Ludden Ph.D. on September 23, 2015 Talking Apes
American culture has long been obsessed with body odor—and removing any trace of it. But body odor is an important component of our social interactions and can even trump the information received from vision or hearing.

Do 'Macho' Men Get All the Attention in the Dating Pool?

Women's preferences for masculine or feminine faces vary considerably. A new study puts evolutionary explanations of these preferences to the test.

Five Weird Facts About the Brain You Didn't Know

Discover shock and awe inside your own skull

Understanding Primates – and Donald Trump

By Mark van Vugt Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 Naturally Selected
By scientific criteria, Donald Trump is not a natural leader. How can we then explain his popularity among certain groups of American voters? To understand it we need to go way back into our evolutionary history as primates or consider our own childhood experiences in the school play ground.

It Is Incredibly Difficult to Obtain an Evolution Education

Darwin’s big idea has been out since about 1859. Since that time, evolutionary principles have proven to be extraordinarily useful in helping us understand all kinds of things. So you’d think that it would be easy to learn about evolution in modern universities. In reality, finding an evolution education in college is excessively difficult these days.

Say Your Dog's Name and He May Form an Image of Your Face

Recent research suggests that dogs can recognize human voices and have an expectation, or mental image, of which faces go with which voice.