SNIT DISORDER

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature

I began my career working in a maximum-security prison with a state-mandated treatment program. One of the inmates there, whose countenance still haunts me from time to time, was a gaunt middle-aged man who used to stand in the corner of the common room and blankly stare out the window all day, chain-smoking. His posture, …

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Brain scient reveals that trust is our "default state"

Robert Sapolsky on Trust, Morality, and Justice

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Justice

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE and up-to-date lay book on the science of behavior is Stanford neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky’s Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (2017). The book is an encyclopedic compendium of behavioral science, written with folksy, down-home idiom. Here he lays out evidence that the fundamental “default” of human social behavior …

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A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

Haidt on Us-vs-Them

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice | 2 Comments

Below is a TED talk by Jonathan Haidt, the social psychologist who wrote The Righteous Mind, in which he introduced six belief categories: important issues to Democrats are care/harm, liberty/oppression, and fairness/cheating, whereas for Republicans the most important issues are loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/ degradation. In this video he tells us that openness to new …

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Rules To Live By: Hierarchy

Rules To Live By in a Hierarchy

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, eccology, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature | 2 Comments

The fundamental unit of behavior in a hierarchy consists of a political triangle: two attempting to intimidate a third. When four possible political triangles between four individuals socially interact, the individual with the most alliances ends up at the apex of a stable social pyramid in which all four members are bound together by bonds …

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Stones striking stones

Human Nature – Part V: Upright Posture, Great Big Brains and Only One Hand Ax

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Language

For a fossil to be designated a hominin there must be evidence of upright posture.  However, any orthopedic surgeon can tell you that upright posture produces extreme vulnerability for injuries to the lower back (perennially among the top ER visits), hips and knees, so it is reasonable that the evolutionary advantages of such a costly …

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Human Nature – Part IV: The New Narrative of Human Evolution

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice, Language

Forth in series: click for first, second, or third There is evidence that, in a period of sharply declining temperatures, a collapse in the ape population occurred at the time hominins split off from apes. My view is that in the context of birthrates falling toward extinction, hierarchical dominance competition became a dangerous waste of …

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A Liberal Awakening - Part III

Human Nature – Part III: The Evolution of the Invisible Hand

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Justice, Mental illness

Third in series: click for first or second (two more coming) I entered the field of psychiatry forty-seven years ago imbued by Jung’s theory of a collective unconscious. Jung felt that Freud’s concept of his superego was an attempt to make the collective unconscious personal instead of “universal and deeply historical.” As I began to think …

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