Neanderthal sculture

Neanderthals Might Have Evolved a Taste for Jewelry On Their Own

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Sexual Selection | 2 Comments

The Evolution of Emotion Precedes the Evolution of Cognition This blog proposes that the primary innovation of our own 200,000-year Homo sapiens species occurred in the emotional sphere and consisted of a marked increase in the motivation for “display” behavior, the function of which can be compared to the emotion-and-motivation of a peacock to display …

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Bill Clinton's infidelity

An Evolutionary Analysis of Infidelity

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Monogamy | 2 Comments

This week the blog tackles the biological relevance of infidelity, apparently the next big campaign issue. First, in order to stay focused on the blog’s contribution to this wide-ranging topic we must narrow it down to just a categorical analysis of extramarital sex (while married), disregarding judgements about how it was conducted (discretion, hurtfulness and …

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Trump's Hair-3

Advice (and hope) for Trump from the BMA (Bald Men of America)

Filed under: Author narrative, Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, My Favorites | 5 Comments

Science from a peculiar source indicates that our bodies have been hairless for at least 3.3 million years. The DNA of the lice that infest our head hair has a continuous ancestry for 12 million years, well prior to appearance of our hominin tribe six million years ago. However, the lice that reside on our …

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Mental illness stigma

Hidden Evolutionary Benefits to Mental Illness?

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Mental illness

I recently got a note from someone about Old Mind, New Mind who has suffered from mental illness. As soon as he found out that the book was about the relationship between mental illness and human evolution, he assumed that I thought that mental illnesses are adaptive in some way and expressed his reservations about …

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The urban planet and the history of life

The Urban Planet & the History of Life

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, History | 2 Comments

The May 20th Issue of Science is entitled The Urban Planet. The lead article starts out: In 2014, 54% of the world’s population, or 3.9 billion people, lived in urban areas. That’s up from one-third in 1950, and forecasters say the proportion will rise to 66% by 2050. More than half of urbanites live in …

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Freudian ego.

on the subject of consciousness

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolutionary psychology, Two Mind Hypothesis

From Old Mind, New Mind: Emotional Fossils and the Evolution of the Human Spirit Being conscious is one thing, but being conscious of being conscious is quite another . . . . I had been thinking about thinking from the very beginning of my journey as a philosopher. My original notion, drawn from my observations …

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Old Mind New Mind

Filed under: Author narrative, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Mental illness

An Evolved Will for Justice Separates Us from Apes Perhaps the world’s foremost scientist on the subject of mind evolution, Michael Tomasello, states in his recent book, A Natural History of Human Thinking (2014): The main problem is that collaboration, communication, and thinking do not fossilize, so we will always be in a position of …

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The Hobbits lived on the island of Flores for 700,000 yrs.

Hobbits Lived On Flores Island For 700,000 Years!

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, History | 2 Comments

  From June 10 Science by Elizabeth Culatta: From the moment the announcement of a 1-meter-tall ancient human nicknamed “the hobbit” shocked the world in 2004, supporters and sceptics alike have longed for more fossils. After the first burst of discoveries, the team kept digging, at the original find site and at other sites in …

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Blaming the victim


Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, History, Human Nature | 2 Comments

Social psychologists, Laura Niemi and Liane Young wrote a piece in the NYTimes Review section on a study they conducted on what determines the degree to which people tend to blame the victims of crimes: In a recent series of studies, we found that the critical factor lies in a particular set of moral values. …

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Obedient dog


Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection | 1 Comment

In the June 3rd Issue of Science, a research report appeared on the status of a large collaborative effort to nail down the origin of dogs. The Abstract: The geographic and temporal origins of dogs remain controversial. We generated genetic sequences from 59 ancient dogs and a complete (28x) genome of a late Neolithic dog …

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Hiding in a hole


Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Mental illness

We pick up the narrative as I am describing a prison inmate: He spoke slowly and deliberately with no emotion whatsoever. He had shot his wife dead after drinking one night. He said that he would always love her and was just waiting to die. He then went on to describe in spare, clear language …

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The Charisma of Ali


Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature | 1 Comment

Boxing on TV was huge when I was growing up in New York in the 50s. My friend’s father had his TV in a little alcove in the living room, and every Friday night he would watch them all alone while violently punching the air and grunting in his chair. We followed my friend’s mother’s …

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Templeton Foundation Logo

Does Human Evolution Fit The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis?

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, Group Selection, Human Nature | 4 Comments

The John Templeton Foundation was established by the late investment tycoon to “encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians.” Reported in the April 22nd issue of Science: the Foundation is now offering “an $8.7 million grant to researchers for experimental and theoretical work intended to put a revisionist view of evolution, the so-called …

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Authority's Evolution

The Epic Shift In Human Evolution

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Monogamy, Sexual Selection, Summary of Philosophy, The Ascension of the Human Spirit

The social structure of humans was due to a decisive-and-then-stable shift in the level of selection: from the selection of individuals (for fitness) in apes to the selection associations between individuals (for fecundity & productivity) in humans.

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10,000 yr old war

Our Intense Sexuality Is Why We Are We So Violent

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, History, Sexual Selection

The strengthening of across-group marital-family bonds has exerted a relentless “ground-level” cohesive force that has resulted in the capacity to cohabitate in ever larger groups-of-groups—which is our species root adaptive advantage, upon which all our cognitive and cultural achievements rest.

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It's a Wonderful Life

It’s A Wonderful Life!

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Monogamy, Popular, Two Mind Hypothesis | 2 Comments

George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life has never felt that his altruistic, group-oriented behavior is really part of “him” (he’s the one who feels trapped and wants the bigger life); and the revelation that he has been existing in this other spiritual, old-mind realm all along is a wondrous surprise to him—so much so that he now doesn’t care whether he goes to jail or not!

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