Questions tagged [evolution]

For questions about the interaction of biological (or artificial) evolution and the cognitive agents that are influenced by it.

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Why doesn't dendritogenesis continue on mature cortical neurons?

It is theorized that certain genetic disorders are caused by selection pressure for intelligence and overdominance, e.g. a recessive mutation may boost IQ in heterozygotes despite being deleterious in ...
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1 answer
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What is the "nails on a chalkboard" response?

Everyone is familiar with the squirmy, muscle-clenching response to hearing nails on a chalkboard. But I have known people to have this same response to other stimuli, such as: Velvety fabrics ...
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Why are there substances that give positive psychological effects but become unhealthy addictions?

In a very general way, why is the brain a system that responds euphorically in response to certain stimulants yet over time that substance may be addictive and have negative health effects? What is it ...
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Does dissociative amnesia bring any evolutive advantage?

Dissociative amnesia may appear after you have experienced a threat where you are unable to produce either fight or flight response. Can we ascribe any evolutive advantage to this course of events or ...
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3 votes
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Why does smiling indicate happiness? Why couldn’t frowning indicate happiness and smiling indicate sadness?

Is there an evolutionary reason behind this? What about raising eyebrows when surprised, or lowering them when angry?
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Why are there different neurotransmitters in central nervous system?

If an effect of binding the neurotransmitter depends on the receptor type, not the neurotransmitter itself, then why don't we have just one neurotransmitter and many different receptors?
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4 votes
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Is there any evidence for/against the existence of Jungian archetypes?

I was shocked to be unable to find any systematic reviews on the relevance of Jung and particulary his archetypes. In my search, I usually encountered criticism based on definitions too loose to be ...
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287 views

The "Triune brain" model is obsolete, what is the name of the model that replaces it?

The Triune brain model suggests our brains evolved adding more layers, a lizard brain, then a mammal brain, then a new human brain. As that's false, and the same structures have become modified in ...
2 votes
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The BOOM of social media, related with new features of self-promotion, rather than chats to engage with others?

I was involved in a group project were we were connecting people with a PenPal, by receiving their stories. Unfortunately, people were being driven away because of PenPal idea. We changed the project ...
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What is the context of nostalgia?

People often have old watches, old cars or some old articles which are not functional but they don't feel like throwing them away. So what purpose does such a feeling serve and how is it helpful or ...
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Do modern personality traits exist with native people

I am wondering if there is any evidence of personality traits like intro versus extroversion existing in native people without any contact with modern society, or if they are a result of modern life.
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How could siblings rivalry / jealousy be useful to human evolution?

It looks like a useless burden and a waste of energy, why it evolved?
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Can new emotions be created or discovered?

Related: Are there emotions that only some people can feel? Is there any known observed or theoretical process by which new emotions could be observed or discovered? Although one may argue over the ...
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Is a deeper capability of feeling emotions linked to a higher intellectual intelligence?

Kazimierz Dąbrowski, in his Positive disintegration theory talks about overexcitability as the most evident aspect of developmental potential. He distinguishes five types of overexcitabilties: ...
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Is The Chimp Model really a thing?

I've come across 'The Chimp Model' that sports psychologist Steve Peters advocates for understanding human motivations. While this seems intuitive does it have much credibility in neuroscience? If ...
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2 answers
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Cerebellum question

Sorry if this sounds at all like pretentious armchair theorizing(it basically is), but I have a question which I can't really figure out how to search. So, given the resemblance of the cerebellum to ...
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2 answers
192 views

Why are we the smartest species on the whole known universe?

Why? One possible reason would be because intelligent give humans, and only humans, evolutionary edge compared to their peers. Gorilla, for example, are strong because strength give Gorilla ...
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How is the human brain evolving?

I came across this article which states that brain takes about 20% of the body's energy. This is quite a lot compared to its size. Somewhere I read that even if this is a lot, this must be an absolute ...
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Could we develop a notion of conceivability that would allow us to imagine impossible/inconsistent/illogical things?

There are things that we cannot imagine because they are impossible (like a solution to Russell's set theory, since it is impossible to reach that solution because it is illogical.) Some months ago, ...
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Which mental illnesses are probably natural? [closed]

Which states of mind that are classified as mental illnesses might be a natural and useful part of our brains? For example, some evolutionary biologists have suggested that some types of depression ...
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When and how did public nudity and sex become shameful and unacceptable? [closed]

I am thinking about it from the evolutionary perspective. For nudity, I thought that maybe nude bodies may be associated with a higher probability of infection and diseases due to exposed parts. I ...
5 votes
1 answer
105 views

Counterfactual thinking and the origin of language

I want to apologize in advance for my dearth of knowledge concerning cognitive science research and history, I'm an AI student. I've been reading up on cognitive science/linguistics literature mostly ...
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7 votes
1 answer
871 views

Is there a (evolutionary) purpose of self-pity?

I stumbled across the quote from Charlie Munger; Generally speaking, envy, resentment, revenge and self-pity are disastrous modes of thought, self-pity gets pretty close to paranoia, and paranoia ...
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Is an avoidance of incest/inbreeding learned or instinctive?

Is the natural avoidance of incest something that is learned or is the human brain programmed by instinct to have a negative response to incest? This of course would have an evolutionary advantage and ...
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Are there empirical studies that falsify propositions rooted in evolutionary psychology? [closed]

Conway III and Schaller (2002, p. 153) argue that "There is a long history of lodging charges of non-falsifiability against evolutionary thinking in the biological sciences". One of the critics they ...
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1 vote
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Do humans have inborn instincts to spread plant seeds? [closed]

I have been noticing for quite a while that I have this instinct to tear off and throw seeds from trees and plants. This happens quite literally without any thought and I rarely even notice the act. ...
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Evolutionary advantage of nostagia or attachment

I have come across people preserving some old articles with them, which although of little day to day use to them today, they would still like to retain. I myself would love to retain any old article ...
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Why do suicide has been kept in natural selection? [duplicate]

Since I've heard about evolution theory, I tend to think about new things with the help of this theory. While not being always accurate, I find the reasoning that makes this theory possible very ...
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9 votes
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Why baby animals seem "cute" to us?

I understand why babies seem cute to us from an evolutionary point of view: They need our protection and love to grow, so it's beneficial for them to look good for us, or at least their parents, since ...
1 vote
1 answer
67 views

What stands behind the desire to want things now?

We've all heard the sayings that we would rather have half of a chocolate right now, than a whole chocolate in a month, because we, as wild animals, are constantly seeking for sources. But what's ...
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1 answer
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What do chimpanzees do with fire in the wild, and can they be trained to manipulate burning objects?

It seems that most animals run away or avoid fire at all costs. This is especially apparent during wild fires. Humans, obviously, have figured out how to use fire as a tool. Are we the only known ...
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5 votes
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Is "hate towards weakness/inferiority" a general and innate human characteristic?

It is obvious that human beings on many occasions consider others to be inferior, whether this relates to specific individuals, or to groups. However, it also seems to me that humans very often feel ...
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Why do humans feel compassion towards non-humans?

Why is it that humans feel compassion towards non-humans, such as animals? For me, the sight of an injured bird causes an emotional response, but I cannot explain what would cause it. From an ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Can forgetting labor pain be an evolutionary advantage as animals don't know how to avoid labor?

I've often heard the claim that women are forgetting, or remembering labour and birth pain as being less severe. Some people say that this mechanism has an evolutionary advantage, as if it didn't ...
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Why are children afraid of the dark?

Why are children afraid of the dark, in particular more afraid than adults? Is it an evolutionary mechanism? What causes this?
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Why did humans develop the "sense of humour"? [closed]

Speaking from the point of view of evolutionary psychology, is there any research that demonstrates why a 'sense of humor' may be a part of our mental mechanisms? Does research show that it is a way ...
5 votes
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Is it conceivable that even basic human behavior is genetically determinined only to a very limited extent?

I'm wondering whether even basic human behavior (beyond what appears to be directly wired into our nervous systems, like swallowing and face-related mirror neurons) are indeed facilitated by ...
12 votes
4 answers
978 views

Why do humans cry?

People cry when they experience intense emotions. Crying seems to occur most frequently in intense episodes of sadness and fear, but sometimes also happens when people are very happy or angry. What is ...
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Evolution of laughter

In one of his books (cannot recall title now) Konrad Lorentz (ethology study) describes the phenomenon of the appearance of a friendly smile as a spontaneous inversion of a warning grin. He does not ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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Why do humans need emotions?

If the emotions' only purpose is to stimulate certain behavior, why can't this task just as effectively, or even more effectively be done by the reasoning part of the brain? Are emotions really ...
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3 votes
0 answers
67 views

What are some key behaviors that stone-age humans evolved to help them survive and reproduce? [closed]

In Wikipedia's article on evolutionary psychology, two of six given key premises of EP are as follows: Different neural mechanisms are specialized for solving problems in humanity's evolutionary past....
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Why does munching sound unpleasant to most people? [closed]

When someone who eats food is munching, it sounds quite unpleasant for most of the people. What is the reason for this?
16 votes
3 answers
14k views

Body Language: Why do we give each other the grumpy/frowning fake smile?

I've recently become aware of this - I kinda knew I was always doing it, but just now it got me self conscious and thinking about it: When crossing paths with a stranger, you are supposed to be ...
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2 answers
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Why are some people attracted to people of other races?

Is it true that we were evolved to dislike people of other races genetically? If so, why are some people attracted to people of races other than their own?
9 votes
1 answer
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How is epigenetic memory expressed in neurons?

Epigenetic memory is seen as the most evolutionarily plausible way of learning from experiences and gaining instinctual knowledge accross generations, as established by the answer to one of my ...
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1 answer
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Where does instinctual knowledge come from?

From Wikipedia: Instinct or innate behavior is the inherent inclination of a living organism towards a particular complex behavior. The example that I find is the easiest to touch upon is the ...
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2 answers
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Why (and how) do people seek acknowledgement?

I don't think I need to give evidence that people do seek acknowledgement; if it's not from parents, it's from lovers or friends. It can be things as big as life ambitions/achievements (e.g. 'I will ...
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Mulitiple partners: macho man vs. easy woman?

I sometimes hear from my friends that a man who has many female sexual partners is regarded as macho. But on the other hand, a woman with a lot of one-night stands is thought to be easy and desperate (...
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5 votes
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How are sexual cues known by the brain?

Sexual cues have been well established in evolutionary psychology as indicators of genetic compatibility/useful genes. How does the human brain know that a cue is an indicator of a useful trait in ...
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Why are most popular humans pets carnivores? [closed]

Most popular pets are cats, and dogs. They are all carnivores. Few people have pigs as pets. More commonly, people eat pigs. Why are some of the most common human housepets carnivores? Does this ...
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