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Posts Tagged "evolutionary psychology"

Bering in Mind

The High-Heel Hottie Effect: The Evolutionary Psychology of Women’s Shoes

On a trip to Italy a few years ago, my partner and I peered into the faraway distance at that famously angled phallus that is the Leaning Tower of Pisa, when suddenly we became aware of a small scene unfolding before us. A young woman’s stiletto heel had become lodged in the cobblestones. Oh my. [...]

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Bering in Mind

A Good Man Is Hard to Find, So Here’s an (Evolutionary) Tip

We’re herd animals… especially the female members of our species when it comes to their dating instincts. That’s the conclusion one might reasonably draw from the results of a new study in press at the journal Human Nature. In it, psychologists Ryan Anderson and Michele Surbey from James Cook University in Australia showcase a common—but [...]

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Bering in Mind

The Lustful Human Animal: Cultural Differences in Sexual Harm and Consent

Most of us are convinced that we excel at being clearheaded, humane thinkers when it comes to sex. We appeal, and admirably so, to notions such as harm and consent. But since most of us aren’t anthropologists, we W.E.I.R.D. people (the anthropologist Joe Henrich’s apt acronym for “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic”) often assume [...]

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Bering in Mind

Getting a Little Racy: On Black Beauty, Evolution and the Science of Interracial Sex

A few weeks ago, Satoshi Kanazawa, a blogger at Psychology Today who was already notorious for his dubious claims about racial differences, especially with respect to intelligence, proclaimed on the basis of a bizarre data analysis that Black women are “objectively” the least attractive females of all the races. Objectively, mind you, which implies that [...]

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Bering in Mind

Homophobia Phobia: Bad Science or Bad Science Comprehension?

Two columns ago, I discussed evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup’s theory about the possible adaptive function of homophobia, or, more broadly defined, negative attitudes toward gay people. Central to his position—which, he assures me, has not since wavered—is that homophobic responses "are proportional to the extent to which the homosexual [is] in a position that might [...]

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Bering in Mind

Why do funny ladies like the ladies? The over-representation of lesbians in comedy

Recently I noticed a queer pattern—something that appears, for whatever reason, to have eluded serious academic consideration. Jerry Seinfeld might have opened up this can of worms by saying, "Have you ever noticed how female comedy is dominated by lesbians? Not that there’s anything wrong with that." Not all comediennes, of course, find men as [...]

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Bering in Mind

If Darwin were a sports psychologist: Evolution and athletics

Surprisingly little evolutionarily informed research has been done on our species’ strange love affair with sports. Why do we care so much about such arbitrary and ostensibly functionless displays of physical and mental prowess? Although data derived directly from evolutionary hypotheses are scant, theories abound. In a recent issue of Perspectives in Biology and Medicine [...]

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Bering in Mind

God’s in Mississippi, where the gettin’ is good

At some point over the course of this human life of yours, you may have noticed that wherever there is a trail of woe, God is curiously afoot. At least, since God is often seen both as the cause and the cure of misfortune, the belief in God seems especially likely to be stirred up [...]

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Brainwaves

Why We Need to Study the Brain’s Evolution in Order to Understand the Modern Mind

In the September 17th issue of The New Yorker, Anthony Gottlieb analyzes Homo Mysterious: Evolutionary Puzzles of Human Nature, a new book by David Barash, a psychology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Gottlieb’s article is more than just a book review—it’s also the latest in a long line of critiques of evolutionary [...]

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Guest Blog

The Data Are In Regarding Satoshi Kanazawa

A Hard Look at Last Week’s "Objective Attractiveness" Analysis in Psychology Today If what I say is wrong (because it is illogical or lacks credible scientific evidence), then it is my problem. If what I say offends you, it is your problem."—Satoshi Kanazawa Satoshi Kanazawa has a problem. It is hard to believe that it [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

To Feel Meaningful Is to Feel Immortal

Still Life with Skull by Philippe de Champagne (1602-1674). (Wikimedia Commons)

Imagine when our ancestors first started to look up at the stars and question their place in the universe. Why are we here? Are we alone? What happens to us when we die? It is difficult to know for sure at what point in time we became a species obsessed with existential questions. We can [...]

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Observations

Evolutionary psycho-logy: Commandeering genetics to explain why Obama really is a Muslim

Okay, here’s one for the annals, something that is going to make it even more difficult for evolutionary psychology to get the respect the field thinks it deserves. A controversial academic from the London School of Economics has recently penned a blog post for Psychology Today called "If Barack Obama Is Christian, Michael Jackson Was [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Acts of Kindness Explained [Video]

helping_Donald_Lee_Pardue

        // Editor’s note: Brain Basics from Scientific American Mind is a series of short video primers on the brain and how we feel, think and act. Below is a synopsis of the sixth video in the series written by a guest on this blog, Roni Jacobson, a science journalist based in [...]

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Talking back

Evolution Did Not Snap the Brain Together like LEGOS

Evolutionary psychology has typically tried to identify the piece parts of human cognition shaped by the rigors of natural selection. New questions have arisen in this contentious discipline about what exactly is on that parts list—or whether the list itself really exists. One of the foremost debating points centers on whether the brain consists of [...]

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