Evolutionary Psychology Essential Reads

Hassles Are Part of Being Human, Even for Our Ancestors

Being human, with all its messiness, is worth the hassle

Are Dogs Self-Aware?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 24, 2017 in The Human Beast
The standard test of self-awareness is being able to recognize ourselves in a mirror. Although chimpanzees pass this test with flying colors, dogs flunk.
Wikimedia Commons (John O'Neill)

Survival of the Scaredest

Why are we more afraid of insects than guns? Our emotions and perceptions are evolutionary products, and we can blame genetics for our infested minds.
pixabay.com

Required Summer Reading

In a landmark study of why human beings believe what they believe and do what they do, Robert Sapolsky demonstrates that brains and cultures evolve; genes don't determine anything.

Can Envy Ever Be a Positive Emotion?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on May 12, 2017 in Talking Apes
Envy lets us know about our rank in the pecking order. But how we respond determines whether the outcome will be destructive or help us become better people.

The Autism-Genius Connection

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 11, 2017 in The Human Beast
Some people are exceptionally good at focusing on rarefied abstract problems. Some of these have exceptionally high IQ. Some are autistic. Some are both.

New Details Revealed About an Important Human Ancestor

Another cave of fossils and a surprising young age sheds dramatic new light on the origins of complex behaviors and humanity itself.

Quarks, Quasars and the Mind: Stranger Than We Suppose

Any account of the mind that conveniently dovetails with our common sense should be met with skepticism.

Are We Evolved for Happiness?

A naive take on life suggests that happiness is an end goal. It’s not, and evolutionary psychology tells us why.

Is It Truly Better to Give Than to Receive?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on May 05, 2017 in Talking Apes
When we give, we reap more than we sow, as long as we do so willingly and believe it will help.

Is The Digital Age Inhabited by Stone-Age People?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 02, 2017 in The Human Beast
Pessimists cite our reptilian brain as the source of random acts of violence. Even optimists brood darkly about the inner caveman who indulges in road rage.

The USA Versus the World

For conservatives, the ingroup ends at the border. For liberals, the ingroup spreads across the globe. Here is why.

Love and Exile: Decoding the Many Rules of the Girl Code

By Jen Kim on April 24, 2017 in Valley Girl With a Brain
What do women want from their female friendships? Decoding the rules of the Girl Code.

Femme Fatale: Sexy Women Sway Men to Do Bad Things

Do sexy women send a man's moral compass haywire? New research shows that exposure to sexy images makes a man more likely to cheat, lie, and steal.

The Science of Religion for Everyone

Why insist that religion is immune from scientific study when cognitive and evolutionary theories have already made great strides in explaining a wide array of religious phenomena?

Helping Your Neighbor

We often help others with expectations of help in return at a future point. Turns out, this is a basic feature of what it means to be human.

Disorganized Attachment: Fears That Go Unanswered

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in The Me in We
How disorganized attachment in infancy impacts emotional and social development.

The Brain's Fixation on the Short Term Is Hurting Politics

By David B. Feldman Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in Supersurvivors
When the Senate used the nuclear option, changing how it confirms Supreme Court nominees, some who voted for it said it was a bad idea. A cognitive bias explains why they did it.

Are Humans Adapted to Modern Environments?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in The Human Beast
Our two main theories of human behavior do a poor job of explaining how humans change to meet the demands of varied environments – but we do.

Why Do We Stay Single?

Humans, like other animals, have evolved to spread our genes. Which begs the question: why does anyone stay single?

Psychological Consequences of Having Tree-Dwelling Ancestors

Renowned evolutionist Gordon Gallup has extensively studied the psychological correlates of handgrip strength. To understand why, we need to look to our arboreal past.

What Is the Importance of Nonverbal Communications?

By Joe Navarro M.A. on April 05, 2017 in Spycatcher
Why study nonverbals? Because as you will see, they matter more than we think.

Your Brain on Text

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 04, 2017 in The Human Beast
Athletes look different from non athletes. Similarly, the brains of literate people are different from those who do not read.

Why Do We Exist?

Why do humans exist? Because of evolution. And this is a beautiful thing.

Who Was Psychology's First True Genius?

The first great experimental psychologist did not define himself as a psychologist. But his brilliant ideas and findings remain important in psychology to this day.

5 BIG Ideas on Who We Are

To truly understand what it means to be human, an understanding of evolution is essential. Here are five eye-opening reasons why.

Interpersonal Attraction

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on March 24, 2017 in A Sideways View
What has evolutionary science to say about physical attractiveness?

Want to Build a Dog From A Fox? Here's How To Do It.

Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails that are as friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs—they are foxes.
Richard McDowell/Shutterstock

Self-Deception Helps Us Accomplish Goals

By Tim Cole Ph.D. on March 20, 2017 in Intimate Portrait
More often than not, we lead with our goals and desires, not the facts. New research on how our ability to delude ourselves can be quite useful.

Moral Incentives for Dummies

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 14, 2017 in Ambigamy
What is basic morality and what incentive system does best to promote it?