Questions tagged [evolution]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
5 votes
1 answer
349 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
80 views

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 ...
14 votes
5 answers
7k views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
23 views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
35 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
67 views

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 ...
3 votes
0 answers
48 views

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?
28 votes
3 answers
6k views

Is the Neanderthal Theory of Autistic brain a reasonable scientific theory?

I've recently learned about The Neanderthal Theory, that explains autistic (and especially Asperger's) brain functioning as the effect of genetical similarity with Neanderthals. The author gives a ...
0 votes
0 answers
31 views

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?
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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
434 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 ...
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
113 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 ...
4 votes
0 answers
292 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
30 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
98 views

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 ...
99 votes
6 answers
34k views

Why do humans have sex in private?

Human couples usually have sex in private, hidden not only from predators, but also - other humans. It is unlike behavior of most species, including our relatives: bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas. ...
5 votes
0 answers
71 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
106 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
72 views

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.
17 votes
1 answer
903 views

Cultural brain hypothesis and gene-culture co-evolution

Recently, Joseph Henrich of UBC has been promoting his cultural brain hypothesis. The goal is to explain a selection pressure behind the development of the human brain and general intelligence. The ...
0 votes
1 answer
77 views

How could siblings rivalry / jealousy be useful to human evolution?

It looks like a useless burden and a waste of energy, why it evolved?
3 votes
0 answers
93 views

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: ...
5 votes
2 answers
96 views

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 ...
21 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why does neuroplasticity decrease in adults?

Although adult brains are malleable and even undergo limited neuorgenesis, the extent of the neuroplasticiy is much lower than in children. This is most obvious in language acquisition, and recovery ...
0 votes
2 answers
205 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 ...
5 votes
0 answers
88 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
60 views

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, ...
2 votes
0 answers
89 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
783 views

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 ...
27 votes
2 answers
9k views

How is intelligence correlated to beauty?

Recently, I read several interesting questions on the web about the relationship between IQ and general intelligence and physiological symmetry. But more importantly, what explains the correlation? Or ...
4 votes
2 answers
10k views

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?
14 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why do humans like being touched?

Why do people like to be touched so much, why would it make sense from a evolutionary perspective. I know people enjoy hugs and company of opposite sex, but even people from the same sex hug and ...
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

What makes someone attractive psychologically?

What makes a person particularly attractive to another person, specifically the opposite sex? Why would the brain evolve this trait to target specific genes (that make someone look pretty), and ...
7 votes
1 answer
926 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
200 views

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 ...
23 votes
1 answer
567 views

Development of social cognition as an alternative to the obstetrical dilemma

Human infants are strange in that they are born more helpless than the infants of other great apes. They are born with about 25-30% of their brain developed, compared to the 40-50% of other great apes....
1 vote
0 answers
90 views

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. ...
12 votes
4 answers
440 views

Can experience alter one's preferences for beauty?

My friend (a woman) is convinced that all men who find those posters of "women scantily clad in their bathing suits or thongs and big breasts (often fake)" attractive are simply brainwashed by society....
1 vote
0 answers
158 views

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 ...
24 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why is the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard so intolerable?

I am curious as to what current research shows regarding why scraping noises such as fingernails on a chalkboard, a knife/fork scraping against a plate, metal grinding against metal or stone etc are ...
0 votes
1 answer
467 views

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 ...
9 votes
1 answer
536 views

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
71 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
226 views

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 ...
6 votes
0 answers
2k views

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 ...
9 votes
1 answer
131 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
52 views

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
78 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

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?