Evolutionary Psychology Essential Reads

The Uses of Shame

By Joseph Burgo Ph.D. on May 20, 2015 in Shame
In different ways, the religious right and the liberal left both make use of shame to enforce their values.

On the Nature of Creepiness

Given how frequently creepiness gets discussed in everyday life, it is amazing that it has not yet been studied in a scientific way. What I found in an exploratory study suggests that creepiness is a response to the ambiguity of threat; it is not the clear presence of danger that creeps us out, but rather the uncertainty of whether danger is present or not.

Democracy and the Pro-social Impulse

Governments answerable to the people can exist only due to the fact that we’re emotional, social creatures, not isolated, rational, strictly selfish individuals. A better appreciation of human nature can help us secure a democratic future.

The One Graduation Message We All Need to Hear

The field of evolutionary psychology has enormous implications for how to guide the next generation of leaders. In particular, the field helps illuminate the nature of giving—a value that we expect all of our graduates to internalize.

How Can You Tell if Your Loved One Is Jealous?

You know you've done it - peeped at your significant other's open Facebook messenger - who hasn't ? What happens when what you see makes you jealous? Do you confront them? Do you cyberstalk the person who sent the message? Would an emoticon included in the message make you respond differently? Do women and men react differently? Recent answers to these questions and more!

Can God Be Its Own Cause?

Many humans find First Cause arguments for the existence of God compelling. Why? There are two collaborating reasons: Our confusion over infinity, and our lack of confusion over the strange notion of being self-caused -- a property often attributed to God. Both of these implicate our amazing and puzzling ability to conceive.

A Crash Course on Gender Differences - Session 1

By Eyal Winter on May 09, 2015 in Feeling Smart
The Evolutionary Role of Love Romance and Sexuality

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort?

Dogs and humans seem to respond in the same way when they hear the crying sounds of the distressed baby.

Do Sounds Have Shapes?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on May 06, 2015 in Talking Apes
Synesthesia, or a mixing of the senses, may tell us something about the origin of speech.

Makings of a Child

What is a father? How does assisted reproduction reshape how we think of fathers and mothers, and what are the consequences for children's genetic, epigenetic and cultural legacies?

Why We Care So Much About What Others Think of Us

By Peg Streep on May 05, 2015 in Tech Support
Are we hardwired to crave status and to respond to people in programmed ways depending on their status? Is status about what money can buy or something else? A close look at what the research shows...

What Do Women Really Want?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on May 04, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Some researchers have named those qualities that women look at in choosing a mate as the Three Gees - good genes, good providers, and good fathers. Men who can demonstrate all three of these qualities stand the greatest chance of winning the mate selection competition. But how important are these traits? New research from China puts the Three Gees to the test.

Wife Swapping in the Stone Age

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 in The Human Beast
Anthropologists are all too familiar with the violence and bloodshed triggered by marital infidelity. Now they are coming to terms with a more mysterious phenomenon—consensual wife sharing. If a man flies into homicidal rages when his wife cheats on him, why would he encourage another man to sleep with her?

Life in the Slow Lane

Modern middle American life is a blessed experience from an evolutionary perspective. If you're "in the middle," then you have the luxury of experience a "high k" life history strategy. Read on to see how lucky you are for this fact!

Has a Universal Preference Just Been Challenged?

By Jesse Marczyk on April 26, 2015 in Pop Psych
A new paper seeks to challenge the assertion that the preference for women's waist-to-hip ratio is universal and invariant

Gossip in Your Workplace Probably Does More Good Than Harm

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on April 25, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
Campaigns to stamp out workplace gossip overlook the fact that gossip is part of who we are and an essential part of what makes work groups function as well as they do. It is more productive to think of gossip as a social skill rather than as a character flaw, because it is only when we do not do it well that we get into trouble.

Does Emotional Attachment to an Owner Change in Older Dogs?

Although older dogs may appear to be more placid and less emotionally responsive, physiological measures show that this is not the case. They may actually be reacting to stress to a greater degree than they did when they were younger.

Ivan Denisovich vs Ants

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn admitted that Russians were occasionally like insects. But he didn't like it.

5 Natural Reasons Why Life Is Hard

If you're like me, you've got a computer, a smart phone, a TV, a couch, some pets, a great family, and lots of awesome things - but you still often find that life is hard. Evolutionary psychology can help explain why.

When Women Use Jealousy

By Duana C. Welch Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Love Proof
Common knowledge says jealousy always backfires. Common knowledge is wrong.

Cities Are Green After All

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 15, 2015 in The Human Beast
Many of us are accustomed to think of urban smog as a root cause of global warming and environmental degradation that is pushing us to an existential precipice. Leading environmentalist Stewart Brand thinks otherwise. He explains why he was weaned from the village romanticism of a Mahatma Gandhi.

Evolutionary Psychology Is Not About "Bettering the Species"

People often think that since "evolution" has a lot to do with speciation, then "evolutionary psychology" must be about "bettering the human species" in some way. It's not. At all. Read this if you want to know what evolutionary psychology is really about.

Putting Music to the Words

By David Ludden Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in Talking Apes
In animal communication systems, you can have either syntax or semantics. Human language, however, integrates the two. As a result, our range of expression is almost limitless.

Are Men or Women More in Demand?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in The Human Beast
Men generally want to have sex earlier in a relationship than women. This is consistent with the pattern for other species where males are more eager to mate whereas females invest more in young and are more discriminating. How does this pattern play out in modern environments?

Why Are There So Many Religions?

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on April 07, 2015 in Excellent Beauty
There are thousands of religions on Earth today. The best explanation for this puzzlingly high number is that being religious is an evolutionary adaptation.

Looking in the Cultural Mirror at 100, the Top 10

Five years ago, I began writing pieces for Looking in the Cultural Mirror. While psychology may define itself as the science of behavior, when it comes to people it often seems more like the science of American behavior than of human behavior everywhere. This, my 100th piece, discusses the blog’s background and aims. It offers links to the most popular 10.

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.

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?

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.