Questions tagged [evolutionary-psychology]

For questions about the empirical evidence for explaining behavior as a function of ancient evolutionary pressures.

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Is there any evolutionary psychology theory of the "hostile intent attribution" phenomenon?

"Hostile intent attribution" (HIA) refers to the tendency of people to think that others have bad intent when bringing about negative situations (e.g. injuries). For instance, people find it ...
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Why do people tend to put stigma on victims of offences against the person such as rape or bullying?

Introduction: Blame against victims, regarding offences against the person, such as rape or bullying, seems to be a generally consistent social phenomenon, regardless of cultural or historical context....
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Is suicide an evolved trait consistent with Hamilton's rule?

In wild turkeys, male turkeys that are related to eachother will band together to form groups where only one male in the group will reproduce and the others will simply exist to help the dominant male....
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Why did humans evolve to be traumatizable?

Why did humans evolve to be traumatizable, instead of being more resilient and treating trauma in a detached manner? Don't symptoms of trauma reduce a person's biological fitness? Is PTSD an ...
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Why is self-deception necessary to better deceive others?

Robert Trivers argues that we deceive ourselves in order to better deceive others, in part because self-deception can reduce unconscious body signals of lying (von Hippel & Trivers, 2011). On ...
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Is there an evolutionary reason why people care so much about politics?

Is there an evolutionary reason why people care so much about politics? I speculate that it is because in ancestral times, politics was a literal life and death matter. Is there any books about this ...
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1 answer
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Predisposition toward organizing information in a hierarchical manner?

I understand someone why we like hierarchical social structures today. They are present across virtually all cultures and we've used them for a very long time. However, it appears we also gravitate ...
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From an evolutionary perspective, why do humans grieve?

I've been trying to understand why humans grief. I read a few articles and come to this conclusion (which I want to check with experts): being separated creates bad feelings because, being ...
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the evolutionary advantage of being embarrassed?

What I am trying to understand is why do I feel embarrassed in certain situation. E.g. when I'm talking to people, why do I think about being judged or sounding stupid that would result me in ...
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4 votes
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Bottom up thinking - what is it?

Mlodinow has book Elastic thinking, which sounds interesting and where he mentions bottom up processes/thinking; which he equates with elastic thinking. I have watched numerous videos about it, and ...
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Is there an evolutionary psychology explanation why children have high pitched voices?

I have come across purely mechanical reasons that explain why children have piping/high pitched voices - length of trachea etc. However, I find myself wondering whether there isn't a deeper ...
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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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Why fear is the opposite of desire and not disgust?

Wikipedia page on desire has the following passage: A 2008 study by the University of Michigan indicated that, while humans experience desire and fear as psychological opposites, they share the ...
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How can be explained from an evolutionary perspective the fact that some successful people do not want to have children?

According to David Funder, Douglas Kenrick proposed a revised version of Maslow's hierarchy from an evolutionary perspective (1). He said that human beings will strive to move from 1 to 7 in a pyramid....
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Are men genetically programmed to seek multiple sexual partners more than women?

I saw this question on Skeptics Stack Exchange. Someone says "obviously, yes". The reasoning is that men have cheap sperm whereas females have expensive eggs. Hence, most males, in most ...
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Why does "name it to tame it" work from an evolutionary psychology perspective?

There seems to exist a phenomenon where being aware of one's feelings gives us power over them. I have seen this in everyday life, but the strongest piece of evidence I've seen is from a talk by UCLA ...
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Why are there still left handed people?

About 90% of all people are right handed. About 10% of people are left handed. So why has left handedness persisted for so long throughout human evolution? Why does it stick around? What are the best ...
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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 ...
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The impact of adverse historical event on individual time preference

I am a Development Economist, I recently get interested in time preference reading several insightful economic papers (Godoy 1998, Godoy 2001, Holden et al 1998, Holden 2013, Galor and Ozak 2015). I ...
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1 answer
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Does female attractiveness correlate with age progression?

I'm interested in Evolutionary Psychology and the male perception of female beauty. One of the ideas I'm trying to investigate is the correlation between female fertility and her attractiveness. A ...
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Why do brains prefer internal consistency?

I need to preface this by saying I know next to nothing about this topic, so if the question is built on wrong premises, feel free to address that in an answer. From and related to: What is the ...
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Predator/prey-like simulations for dark tetrad traits?

Is there research attempting to model & simulate the spread of "negative genes" (and by this I mean just the phenotypic effect thereof) like the dark tetrad traits in a human population? For ...
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Why do we long for freedom?

Psychological reactance is the effect of irrational choice for freedom - we choose to go for a greater loss just because we like to make the bad decision for ourselves. What is the advantage behind ...
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List of nonverbal expressions of primary and secondary emotions

I'm currently looking for reliable scientific sources that might help me with rating emotions in video-material. Ideally a comprehensive list of facial-/postural expressions of primary and secondary ...
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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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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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Is there a script to measure face width to height ratio? [closed]

I´d be interested whether you know a script or anything automated to measure the face width to height ratio of a set of pictures depicting faces. Otherwise, your experience how to do that ...
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Recognizing which object is new, while forgetting original objects [closed]

I was looking at a row of candy bars in a vending machine today. Later on, I found another vending machine in the same building. Most of the bars were the same, but I immediately noticed that one was ...
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Are we trying to motivate ourselves by combinating safe stressful situations with pleasure regards? [closed]

When there's a stressful situation with no real danger like we need a hug or we stress-eat. Are we trying to develop in our brain networks a fear of actually dangerous situations instead of fear of ...
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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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How to test a theory that explains a psychological phenomenon using evolutionary arguments? [closed]

I'm a non-psychologist so would appreciate any guidance from this community. I've heard arguments that people have overconfidence, probability matching tendencies, etc, because that is chosen by ...
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Can human brain neural circuits understand the concept of "other human beings" and their motives? [closed]

I've read that one of the tests of animal intelligence is whether or not the animal recognizes itself in the mirror or can determine that other animals have motives other than it's own (ex: can ...
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Why are people insecure?

Many people, especially teenagers, are insecure about some aspects. They may be insecure about their looks, their (odd) behavior, or may question whether they belong to a group (of friends, colleagues ...
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Is there evidence of a mechanism for transmission of instinct?

DNA would seem to be the only candidate for propagating instinctual behavior, yet I find that not credible. DNA mainly codes for the production of protein structures (like enzymes) and is mainly about ...
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Why are Children always so interested in adults? [closed]

I work as a kindergarten teacher, and it's always fascinating to me that children are so quick to be affectionate and take interest in what their teacher is doing. Is there an evolutionary reason for ...
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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 ...
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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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Are there theories which explain why human beings form and sustain a self-image?

I have always been curious about the concept of a self-image. I used to be very interested in why some people have a positive or negative self-image. Lately I have begun going a bit deeper and I have ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Why do many parents prevent children from being exposed to anything sex-related?

We remove children from anything that is sex related, including talks and photos. When I think about it, it seems deeply and morally wrong to not do it. When I first thought about that, I thought ...
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Any link between IQ and a person's ability to create or mimic sounds?

Reading some articles about animals and speech, and it just brushes a bit of the neurology of it, but that got me curious: Is there any link between a person's (or an animal's) mimicry skill and/or ...
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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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What explains involuntary imitation of behavior such as shrugging?

Recently, I watched a discussion program on TV and one of the participants shrugged. I found that, not only did I do the same, but I seemed to do it in synchrony the speaker. I didn't want to do this, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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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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Why do we like stories?

Almost everyone likes a good story, the way in which it is delivered matters, but most people love a good story in one form or another, whether it's delivered through conversation, a book, a video ...
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Have different mental strengths evolved in men and women?

I think that men and women are different mentally (but nonetheless equals), however this way of thinking is very hard for me to explain philosophically, so I'd like to learn about what roots this ...
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Why do males prefer females with blonde hair?

I would like to know why males prefer blonde women.
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