David P Schmitt Ph.D.

Sexual Personalities

Alas, Poor Darwin Critics

What evolutionary psychologists do not expect when they're expecting

Posted Jan 13, 2013

Because their science is often misportrayed in the popular media, evolutionary psychologists have had to address many undeserved criticisms of their field over and over again (see here). Robert Kurzban has gone to the trouble of outlining the “Pop Anti-Evolutionary Psychology Game” commonly played in this regard (see here). A recent NYT opinion piece of 1/13/2013 is no exception to this regrettable journalistic trend. Alas, it appears in 2013 that it is still necessary for evolutionary psychologists to note that…

No, evolutionary psychologists do not expect all men to be different from all women at all times, or that culture and sex roles are unrelated to evolved psychological sex differences, or that self-report surveys by WEIRD college students are the only way to examine men’s and women’s evolved sexual psychologies. To portray evolutionary psychology that way is, at best, to fundamentally misunderstand evolutionary psychology.

For more on these basic issues, see my previous Psychology Today posts here ("Men and Women are Both Promiscuous by Design [Monogamous, Too]") and here ("Sex, Fertility, and the Origins of Evolved Human Mating Strategies").

For specific details on how a few new studies claim to, but do not, refute evolutionary hypotheses about sex differences, see here, and for more details on how evolutionary psychologists address cross-cultural work on sex differences, see here.