10 votes

Why do humans need emotions?

This question becomes more complicated if we think in terms of "emotions" (e.g., angry, happy, sad, afraid, etc.) than in terms of "affect" (positive and negative feelings, high and low arousal). I'...
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  • 4,256
10 votes
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Why do humans need emotions?

It appears that there's been a lot of research done by USC professor Antonio Damasio on the importance of emotions. There's some fascinating case studies and interviews that are worth reading and ...
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  • 246
9 votes

How is epigenetic memory expressed in neurons?

There are (at least) two ways epigenetic traits are inherited. The important background in both cases is gene expression: there is a misconception that genes are for this or that, where the reality ...
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9 votes
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Why do humans cry?

The two main folks in crying research (of whom I'm aware) are Ad Vingerhoets and Jonathan Rottenberg. They've (together and separately) published reviews of adult crying and crying across the lifespan,...
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  • 4,256
7 votes
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Body Language: Why do we give each other the grumpy/frowning fake smile?

Since this (excellent) question has been around for a while without any answer, I thought I'd give my two cents. I think we do this as a gesture of respect to the other person. We may fear that if ...
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  • 302
7 votes

How is intelligence correlated to beauty?

The correlation between physical attractiveness and IQ is somewhere between insignificant and mildly positive, with a slightly higher correlation for men. The correlation between physical ...
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6 votes
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Where does instinctual knowledge come from?

In my mind there are two main explanations of this kind of instinct behaviours. The first one is rooted in evolution. There are many examples of human innate behaviours which we can't explain e.g. ...
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5 votes

Why do humans need emotions?

Are emotions really necessary for survival? No, not for survival; lots of living things around us without even a brain. Did emotions provide an evolutionary advantage in the past? The areas of the ...
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5 votes

Is an avoidance of incest/inbreeding learned or instinctive?

This is not my field, but I gave it a quick search. This article seems to speak directly to this question, summarizing and comparing multiple theories to each other. In light of these theories, the ...
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5 votes

Why baby animals seem "cute" to us?

What you are referring to is broadly known as baby schema. However, does this not only apply to human babies, but actually to most mammals which need (parental)care. Certain features in the mammal ...
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5 votes

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

Short answer Self-pity may not have any evolutionary benefit, but may instead be part of the social capabilities allowing to feel empathy. Empathy in turn is a crucial component in social interactions....
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5 votes

Cerebellum question

I don't have a clear and definitive answer to give to you but first you should have a look about brain development (from:https://www.apa.org/education/k12/brain-function): And to the function ...
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  • 203
5 votes

Cerebellum question

Hagfish, the most primitive vertebrates, do not appear to have a cerebellum, or if they do have one it is very primitive. Hagfish have most of the other structures found in vertebrate brains (...
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4 votes
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What do chimpanzees do with fire in the wild, and can they be trained to manipulate burning objects?

Primatologist Jill Pruetz at Iowa State University in Ames was observing savanna chimpanzees in Senegal and found that chimps there have mastered the first step in controlling fire. However there is ...
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4 votes
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Why did humans develop the "sense of humour"?

Interestingly, the same question you asked has been asked since quite some time: The Act of Creation, 1964 - Arthur Koestler What is the survival value of the involuntary, simultaneous contraction ...
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3 votes

Why are children afraid of the dark?

Human's fear of the dark comes from our evolutionary past. Scientists believe it is genetically encoded in our DNA to be afraid of the dark due to the attacks of predators on our ancestors mostly ...
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3 votes

Is an avoidance of incest/inbreeding learned or instinctive?

The answer is that we don't really know. It is understandably difficult to conduct experiments on humans in this field, so many theories remain speculative. The two competing forces (nature and ...
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3 votes

Why do humans cry?

In addition to @mrt's great answer. I feel that the following excerpt from the 'crying' section from the "The Newborn Infant" chapter in my Developmental Psychology classes' textbook would ...
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  • 1,154
3 votes

Evolutionary game theory in the cognitive sciences

There are some mentions of Evolutionary Game Theory in this Behavior & Brain Sciences (BBS) article by Andrew Colman (2003). The main article itself only has a brief section on EGT. However, like ...
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3 votes

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

The evolution of higher intelligence in hominids is an empirically difficult enough evolutionary question that (a) it might be better for biology.se and (b) any answer needs to be taken with a pinch ...
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3 votes

Is The Chimp Model really a thing?

(This isn't a complete answer, as I'm not in a position to comment on the neuroscience, but it should provide some useful background for anyone else who is interested in Peters' work.) While The Chimp ...
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2 votes
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How similar are human brains within the same haplogroup?

The following comes from my research experience using fMRI to study the human visual system. Overall, peoples brains are similar to each other on higher scales, and become very different from each ...
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  • 1,497
2 votes

Cultural brain hypothesis and gene-culture co-evolution

"evidence of recent co-evolution between genes and large-scale culture This 2018 PLOS Computation Biology simulation study - The Cultural Brain Hypothesis examined the data from animals and humans. ...
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  • 1,019
2 votes

Development of social cognition as an alternative to the obstetrical dilemma

Doing some research on this interesting question, I can point you towards a few articles and books which can give you a start. From my research, there are 2 possible reasons for early childbirth ...
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  • 11.1k
2 votes

Why are some people attracted to people of other races?

It is said that American society up to around 1950 came in three flavors, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. That America was intolerant of interracial marriage, which was against the law in many ...
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  • 574
2 votes

Why do humans need emotions?

Short answer Emotions are not necessary for survival, but they may provide evolutionary advantages. Background Although crocodiles cry, they do not feel any remorse in killing their prey when ...
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  • 19.6k
2 votes

Can forgetting labor pain be an evolutionary advantage as animals don't know how to avoid labor?

I agree. The connection between having sex and the pain of labor is so distant, it seems unlikely that it could be selected against. In theory though, there could be enough time in human history for ...
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  • 106
2 votes

Is an avoidance of incest/inbreeding learned or instinctive?

Before I can answer this question, I would like to draw your attention to an iTunesU talk hosted by Professor Ralph Richard (Rick) Banks at Stanford Law about marriage restriction, which covers ...
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  • 11.1k
2 votes
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Why are we the smartest species on the whole known universe?

I just finished a special issue on 'Humans - Why we're unlike any other species on the planet' (Sci Am, September 2018). In this issue, Kevin Laland has a paper (How we became a different kind of ...
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