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Evolutionary Psychology

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A Paris suburb, on the eve of the French Revolution. The shift to democracy and individualism began under conditions of high pathogen prevalence and long before modern sanitation (source) Is stress from parasites a major cause of psychological differences among humans? Yes, if we are to believe a popular theory in evolutionary psychology. According to... Read More
Was the scientific revolution (1540-1700) due to an increase in trade and the discovery of the New World? Or were there just more people around who could understand and appreciate new ideas? (source) The past year has seen the deaths of two scholars who tackled the thorny issue of IQ and race, first Philippe Rushton... Read More
Is groupthink genetically determined? Twin studies suggest that people are prewired to identify and comply with social rules. Where to from here? Will evolutionary psychology ossify and disappear? Or will it redefine itself and move on? In a sense it doesn’t matter. A name is just a name, and the field of evolution and human... Read More
Cover of Time, August 28, 1995. Evolutionary psychology beat out its rivals in the race to win public acceptance. During the 1990s, evolutionary psychology overtook and replaced sociobiology. Its success was total, much like that of many paradigms we now accept as normal science. Did it succeed for the same reason? Did it better fit... Read More
The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness, over a million years ago in the Pleistocene. A founding myth of evolutionary psychology. In the future, how will we look at evolution and human behavior? Perhaps we’ll still be looking through the lens of evolutionary psychology, albeit a more “evolved” one than the current variety. Or perhaps there will... Read More
Illustration from Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872) Evolution has shaped not only our anatomy but also our behavior. This was recognized by Charles Darwin himself in his work The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). Not until the early 20th century, however, would evolution and... Read More
In writing the above words, the evolutionary psychologists John Tooby and Leda Cosmides were denouncing an unwritten agreement that had let researchers study everything about our species in biological terms … except the human mind. Concretely, this modus vivendi denied ‘safe conduct’ to those who wanted to investigate genetic influences on the way the mind... Read More
How much do human populations differ from each other in real, functional terms? The question remains open, but an answer is starting to unfold. In 2007, a team led by anthropologist John Hawks found that natural selection seems to have modified at least 7% of the human genome over the last 40,000 years, i.e., during... Read More
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