Essential Reads

Do Social Odors Build Cities?

New research sheds light on the reach of an ancient sensory system.

Freedom and Its Consequences

Everything we do matters, without exception.

User's Manual for the Male Brain

Three excerpts that will help you get more enjoyment from the device

You Smell. And That's a Good Thing.

The psychology of body odor argues that we may do too much to mask our own.

Recent Posts on Evolutionary Psychology

Cooperation and the public good

Social scientists differ about the relative virtues of top-down verses peer-to-peer actions to secure public goods like clean water and air and safe foods and pharmaceuticals. Recent decision experiments suggest that in modern societies, both dimensions are necessary, and that they’re complementary to each other.

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.

Evolution Runs Through It

Evolution doesn’t just apply to fossils and DNA. It applies to human behavior. But even that’s only a slice of how powerful evolutionary principles are. This is how we use a high-impact, interdisciplinary, team-teaching approach to advancing evolution education where I teach. It’s powerful. And it’s fun.

Rampage as a Team Instinct

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on October 01, 2015 A Swim in Denial
Humans have evolved powerful social bonding that shows up in group rivalry and team spirit. In civilization, where strangers can live together, the lethal competition of warfare is safely symbolized in team sports such as football. In rampage killing, as in the Roseburg Oregon massacre, that symbolic quality breaks down.

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

Why Is Commonsense Common?

Some commonsense is hard-won with experience, yet at the same time infants the world over seem to understand how some things in the world work.

The Life Expectancy of 165 Breeds of Dogs

We all want to know how long our dogs will live. Here is the first large-scale data collection showing the expected lifespan of almost all of the popular dog registered breeds. The data is given on a breed by breed basis.

Can Life Have Meaning Without God?

Compared to traditional religions, naturalistic philosophies aren't very good at providing a transcendent meaning of life. Does this ruin their ability to complete with religion?

What Behaviors Do We Inherit via Genes?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on September 24, 2015 The Human Beast
A pervasive assumption in evolutionary psychology is that how we act is affected by the genes we carry. Is there good concrete evidence of this? Are our outcomes predetermined by our biology? The most intriguing findings on this issue come from twin studies.

Mad Genius: Schizophrenia and Creativity

By Neel Burton M.D. on September 23, 2015 Hide and Seek
What, if anything, is the link between psychosis and creativity?

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.

Macho Macho Men

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

Real Diversity Means Disagreement

By Jesse Marczyk on September 22, 2015 Pop Psych
Social psychologists seems to have something of a diversity problem in their politics. While adding diversity might help people spend less time conducting research to bolster their own biases, there are some cases in which diversity of thought is a bad thing.

Test Your Evolutionary Psychology IQ!

I’ve been teaching courses related to evolutionary psychology since 1999. Here are 10 multiple-choice items that assess understanding of the basics. Good luck!

Aren’t Some People Just Smarter Than Others?

The different races can be analogized to identical twins reared apart.

You Are Not Your Body

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 Ambigamy
If the history of the universe were shrunk to one year, life would have started today, September 21. Here's what happened and how to make sense of what you are as a result.

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.

The Myth of Wanting It All

There is a pervasive mantra that has gone around in the professional world for decades. Women “want it all” – career, family, a work-life balance – but with a few minutes reflection, it is often clear that “it all” is an unattainable goal no matter who you are and how you measure “all.” Yet, the professional world for women doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Are Humans Adapted to Modern Life?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on September 17, 2015 The Human Beast
Did gene-based evolution stop after the Agricultural Revolution? Is the Digital Age inhabited by Stone Age people as many evolutionary psychologists claim? I suggest that evolutionary processes - genetic and non-genetic - continue to this day.

Why There Is No Gene for Language

By David Ludden Ph.D. on September 17, 2015 Talking Apes
All human behavior is influenced by genetics. But claiming there’s a specific gene for language or any other complex psychological phenomenon reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the laws of behavioral genetics.

Good Looks and Executive Success

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on September 17, 2015 A Sideways View
Every movie director and every political PR person knows that if you want to be a leader you need to look like one. What is the physiology of leadership? Is biology destiny when it comes to leadership?

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.

Why We Have Dogs

Humans have had symbiotic relationships with domesticated dogs for more than 20,000 years. If you want to understand your dog today, you need to understand what your dog’s ancestors were doing thousands of years ago – and why humans and canines formed a symbiotic relationship in the first place.

When Is the Best Time to Give Birth?

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on September 14, 2015 How We Do It
Medical intervention in human birth is now so widespread in industrialized countries that deliveries are seldom spontaneous. Yet with no intervention there is clear persistence of a general mammalian 24-hour biorhythm in birth hour. Is this just a carryover from ancestors that gave birth during their inactive period, or is that basic rhythm still biologically important?

No Such Thing as a Free Evolutionary Lunch

By Jesse Marczyk on September 14, 2015 Pop Psych
If you want to do good psychology, you don't get to take the existence of cognitive mechanisms for granted. Brains take energy, and that energy better be doing useful things.

What’s Wrong with Ekaterina Demidova?

By Peter Toohey on September 12, 2015 Annals of the Emotions
Should you feel proud rather than guilty that you’ve been depressed? Why would anyone be proud of being depressed? There are some positive answers to be found in art. They show depression could mean you’re creative and maybe clever too - but also better connected socially. Depression is a painful condition, but I’m not alone in reckoning that it offers some advantages.

Is Heroism a 'Guy Thing?'

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on September 11, 2015 Out of the Ooze
We hold heroes in such high esteem because they act in a noble and virtuous manner, setting aside any thoughts of their own well being for the good of others. Or do they? It turns out that heroism, especially in time of war, positions men (but not women) for high status and enhanced mating opportunities if they survive the heroic action.