7 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Fiksdal's user avatar
  • 302
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....
AliceD's user avatar
  • 20.6k
5 votes

Why are there substances that give positive psychological effects but become unhealthy addictions?

Short answer The brain with its reward centers did not evolve with purified plant-based stimulants (nicotine, cocaine) or synthetic variants ((meth)amphetamine and other designer drugs) around. ...
AliceD's user avatar
  • 20.6k
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 (...
Angela Pretorius's user avatar
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 ...
Dadep's user avatar
  • 213
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 ...
mflo-ByeSE's user avatar
  • 1,283
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 ...
Ebbinghaus's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Chris Rogers's user avatar
  • 12.2k
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 ...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 191
3 votes
Accepted

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 ...
AliceD's user avatar
  • 20.6k
3 votes

What is the "nails on a chalkboard" response?

English and German speakers lack a single accessible linguistic label for the pattern of aversive reactions termed by Spanish speaking individuals as ‘grima’, whereas the elicitors of other emotions ...
Chris Rogers's user avatar
  • 12.2k
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 ...
Kramii's user avatar
  • 131
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 ...
Arnon Weinberg's user avatar
  • 19.6k
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 ...
Chris Rogers's user avatar
  • 12.2k
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. ...
Poidah's user avatar
  • 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 ...
Chris Rogers's user avatar
  • 12.2k
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 ...
Ruth's user avatar
  • 106
2 votes

Could we develop a notion of conceivability that would allow us to imagine impossible/inconsistent/illogical things?

There's a serious science of the theoretical limits of representation / information processing in CS, in complexity theory & computability theory. You can pull some of that stuff across to ...
steveLangsford's user avatar
1 vote
Accepted

Do modern personality traits exist with native people

See the study below conducted on Tsimane (indigenous Bolivians). It uses Big-5 traits to assess whether if a general factor of personality can be identified with the natives (who mostly fit your ...
Layman's user avatar
  • 163
1 vote

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

First, it must be understood that not all traits in an animal are evolved or selected traits – some are only variations. Some of these variations may be selected by some evolutionary pressure in the ...
user287279's user avatar
  • 1,825
1 vote

Can new emotions be created or discovered?

The atlas of personality, emotion and behaviour catalogues over 3,000 emotions (Mobbs, 2020). The atlas's approach taken to identifying and cataloguing the emotions was to start with existing lists ...
Tony Mobbs's user avatar
  • 1,728
1 vote

Counterfactual thinking and the origin of language

This is controversial, to say the least, and possibly false according to one interpretation on such experiments with monkeys. But note that there is a subtlety here: the way counterfactuals are ...
the gods from engineering's user avatar
1 vote
Accepted

What stands behind the desire to want things now?

The evolutionary significance of self-regulation is that humans are more capable of this feat than apes. We can solve problems without visual feedback, by visualization. Apes are good problem solvers, ...
noumenal's user avatar
  • 628
1 vote

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

I suspect that it's rooted in primal responses to seeing a human being you are not expecting to see. This would in part explain the gender difference. If you've ever seen two cats unexpectantly try ...
Academicbee's user avatar
1 vote

Why do humans have sex in private?

Perhaps it's just because we are vulnerable during sex? Evolutionary speaking, an animal or other person could attack us so it makes sense to seek a safe environment.
danijar's user avatar
  • 771

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