Evolutionary Psychology Essential Reads

Can Dogs Teach Other Dogs to Speak?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on September 28, 2016 in Canine Corner
A dog can learn how to make and use specific sounds for communication simply by observing other dogs

Biological Foundations for Self-Directed Education

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on September 28, 2016 in Freedom to Learn
Self-directed education—as it occurs in unschooling families and at democratic schools--operates by allowing these four natural drives to flourish. ....
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How Natural is War to Human Beings?

By Steve Taylor Ph.D. on September 25, 2016 in Out of the Darkness
We were a peaceful species once before, so there’s no reason why we should give up hope of becoming peaceful once again.

"Power Ties" Are Actually Powerless

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on September 23, 2016 in Attraction, Evolved
Donald Trump is hardly a sartorial icon, though he is known for one eye-catching style choice—his “power ties." But does his favored red tie really make him seem more powerful?

Are Men Attracted to Clever Women?

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on September 22, 2016 in Attraction, Evolved
The claim that men are intimidated by clever women has been backed by the results of a new study of speed-dating by Polish economists.
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The Strange Link Between Attitudes Towards Sex and Drugs

According to evolutionary theories, people's attitudes to recreational drug use may be influenced by their preferred mating strategies.

The Mothers of Mankind

Proposed self-domestication of our species raises the issue of who the domesticators were. Insights of the imprinted brain theory argue they were ancestral mothers.

God Is Watching You

By Mark van Vugt Ph.D. on September 15, 2016 in Naturally Selected
Is God our Big Brother who watches over us to make sure we do not do anything bad or foolish?

A Post-Racial America?

America in 2016 offers a sign post on the path from thousands of years of separation through centuries of conflict and exploitation towards a hopeful human family reunion.

Why Do We Wince When We're in Pain?

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on September 12, 2016 in Beastly Behavior
The recent discovery that all mammals make the same pain-face begs the question, why? One reason could be that wincing is a facial expression intended to communicate danger.

The Common Descent Doctrine

While Darwin and Lincoln were born on the same day in 1809, only Darwin can be said to have shown an unwavering stance on human equality. Meet Darwin's doctrine of Common Descent.

How Others See You

By David Ludden Ph.D. on September 10, 2016 in Talking Apes
Our intuition is a powerful information processor that helps us make quick judgments of others, but it also has built-in biases that lead us astray.

What My Cancer Remission Has Taught Me About the Human Mind

The joy we feel following good news often seems more short-lived than the pain we feel following bad news. I explain why, and offer a thought to help bring us back to center.

Life... Don't Talk to Me About Life

By Robert J King Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Hive Mind
The U.K. press recently picked up our paper about violence and gambling. Here's why they (and other traits) tend to go together and why this matters.

Did Religion Evolve to Benefit the Weak or the Powerful?

Who benefits most from religion? You may think you know, but these three observations will make you reconsider.

Do Racial Stereotypes Have Nothing to Do with Race? Part II

Some readers objected to my coverage of research suggesting race stereotypes are often ecology stereotypes. Steve Neuberg, an author of that research, responds thoughtfully.

Are Racial Stereotypes NOT Really About Race?

New research, published in the prestigious journal PNAS, suggests that stereotypes about race are, mostly, not about race at all. How can that be?

So What If You’re Not Securely Attached?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on September 02, 2016 in Talking Apes
Psychologists have long treated people with insecure attachment as deviant. But those with anxious and avoidant relationship styles play important roles in human societies.

Can a Dog's Size Predict Its Intelligence?

New data shows that very large or very small dog breeds rank lower in intelligence.

Yes, Overprotective Parenting Harms Kids

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on August 28, 2016 in Beastly Behavior
Overprotective parenting may cause more than just stunted psychological development; it may actually be bad for children's health.

The Urbanization-Mental Health Connection

During human evolution, the largest human communities rarely surpassed 150 people. An implication for modern living is this: Humans tend to do best in relatively small communities.

Are Animals Conscious?

Are animals conscious? The implications are important.

Why Do We Judge Others So Harshly for One Negative Event?

Psychological research suggests three reasons why one negative event, such as Ryan Lochte’s false report of a robbery in Rio, can change our perceptions so strongly.

Blame It on Rio Part 1

The US swimming debacle in Rio, spearheaded by all-star Ryan Lochte, is a timeless story of Young Male Syndrome.

Alison Gopnik’s Advice to Parents: Stop Parenting!

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on August 19, 2016 in Freedom to Learn
Everything Professor Gopnik says in The Gardener and the Carpenter indicates that our schooling system is very very wrong. So why does she point her finger at parents, not schools?

Why No One Likes a Humblebragger

Research shows that people find humblebragging more off-putting than pure bragging and pure complaining.

De-Fanging the Serpent of Terrorism

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on August 18, 2016 in The Human Beast
A recent decision by French news outlets may mark a turning point in our understanding of the phenomenon of modern terrorism.

Why Aren't We Doing Less With More?

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on August 15, 2016 in Cui Bono
New technologies allow to complete tasks much more quickly, potentially providing us with enormous amounts of free time. So why do we fill that time with more work instead of play?

Key Brain Protein Has Implications for Psychiatric Disorders

Levels of the key brain protein, BDNF, vary as predicted by the diametric model of mental illness: lower in psychotic spectrum disorders, but higher in autistic spectrum ones.

Who Are Psychology's Geniuses? Part 2

I offer a few more nominations for psychologists whose contributions deserve to be called ingenious, and some analysis of what makes them stand out. See if you agree.