Evolutionary psychology

Evolutionary psychology provides many plausible explanations for why we do the things we do that are otherwise mysterious. One important concept of the theory is that the environment of evolutionary adaptation was much different than the environment we’re in now. This distinction between the environmental contexts of our design and the one we live in now is probably responsible for much psychopathology as well as much suffering of less dramatic sort. Road rage is a commonly proffered example of behavior that may have been adaptive to hunter-gatherers who were both predator and prey in the field, but it’s inappropriate and perhaps dangerous to a driver in traffic.

This should be fun…yes, approached these lines earlier…like in the last month if I recall correctly…I had to use my club to fight off the cavemen…

…I imagine this as bait for some of the fish around here…


…let the games begin…and…if not…then I will add something at a later date…where is my popcorn.?.

It sounds like you are saying that by reacting to a harsh environment - which the humans were adapted to - they created a social isolation from the natural harshness and separated themselves from their own adapted instincts.

That would be like humanity finding a way to never have to eat - yet still be stuck with the compulsion to eat - transhumanists would be delighted about their new found opportunity.

And I’m guessing this only has to do with psychology because people’s drives, desires, and compulsions all stem from instinctive attitudes.

Did I get any of that right?


If I remember correctly, that’s evolutionary ecology.

People have different psychologies if they grow up on a island, inland or by a river. Meaning: literally: the actual environment changes your mind structure.

Growing up in a redwood forest or growing up around dwarf oaks. That kind of thing.

Isn’t this the same as a person getting everything they wanted then becoming spoiled and irrational (such as Jack Dorsey)?

All of humanity becomes spoiled and rotten because social constructs and technology satisfy their needs and wants too much - creating irrational demands - destroying the species.

I think you got it right. Humans have had a profound effect on the environment we live in. And evolution being a slow process, the human organism hasn’t kept up. What’s true of humans is even more true of other species. Hence we’re in the 6th great extinction. Think of roadkill. Most of the dead species laying on the pavement weren’t evolved for avoiding motor vehicles traveling at the speeds they do. Their environment of evolutionary adaptation (EEA) didn’t prepare them for the speed of the automobile.

Evolutionary psychology combines evolutionary biology and cognitive psychology. The idea is that these two sciences are two pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of human nature which need to be synthesized to understand human behavior.

As is well known, evolutionary biology says that human beings are descended from ape-like ancestors and ultimately share a single common ancestor with all other living things on earth.

The common ancestor was the first living thing which existed about 4 billion years ago. It would have been a simple thing far less complex than a single cell.

About 3.5 billion years ago some of these primitive little creatures began to coalesce and form the first cells.

Around 600 million years ago the first multicellular organisms began to appear.

100 million years later the first land dwelling organisms appeared --microbes and then plants. This led to terrestrial animals including insects and amphibians. From amphibians came reptiles birds and mammals.

The first primates appeared about 55 million years ago. They were agile tree dwellers that ate fruit and look like modern lemurs. From these animals descended monkeys apes and humans.

I think the most recent discoveries have pushed the advent of modern humans back to around 200,000 years ago. But, don’t hold me strictly to these dates, the research is ongoing and changing all the time.

From my frame of mind, this argument somewhat mimics the points raised by Satyr over at KT.

Human ancestors have been around for 6 million years. And “modern man” has been around for over 200,000 years.

So, for at least 200,000 years, biological imperatives propelled the human species. Indeed, it is only in the past few hundred years that “social memes” as we know them today have come into existence at all.

Therefore, in terms of things like race and ethnicity and gender and sexual preferences, the “social constructs” of the liberals are completely at odds with natural behavior.

Of course, in many profound ways, there is simply no comparison between hunter and gatherer communities and our postmodern industrial world.

Just ask the Hadza people:

“As recently as 1500 C.E., there were still hunter-gatherers in parts of Europe and throughout the Americas. Over the last 500 years, the population of hunter-gatherers has declined dramatically. Today very few exist, with the Hadza people of Tanzania being one of the last groups to live in this tradition.” National Geographic

Or consider the interactions explored between the old and the new worlds in films like this: youtu.be/FR4riTsF21o

Based on a true story.

What of evolutionary psychology here?

Philosophycal psychology differs because it considers psychology an offshoot of more general type of endeavor.

If psychology has earned a scientific name r or it’s self, even then, it carries within it’s cognative channels the earlier patterns.

The caveman and his modern generation do run parallel programs between sensation and cognition,at least going back to classical times. Below that, reasonable behavior could not have been attributed , arguing reversely.

The evolution of social context has upended individual motivation , as the focus and the starting point , as affect has become arguable from effects, and not vicars versa.

If anything, the changes of brain structure , resulting from increased sophistication of the use of the mind, makes more sense than an incipient evolutionary process through natural selection

How can the process of natural selection start im an evolutionary sense, since back way back, differences which minded brain differences could not set even compatible relations between differing levels of cognative prowess?

There was a break, when Lamarkism was surpassed by Darwinism, but the latter made the mistake of superseding the former for politicAl reasons.

The Case of the Midwife Toad is still a hotly debated item, as an example of the advent of the purely ‘scientific’ ego of researchers.

The point being is not the validity of either theories, but the theory of mind has been replaced by the model of it as the functionality of the brain.
The biggest contension was the way traits were transferred generationally, which is best supported through mind-body interaction-which remains as a viable form of inquery to the present time.

You don’t need to give me a lesson on evolutionary biology and cognitive psychology …

You literally used the word, “environment”

I’m trying to explain to you that there is a completely different branch of cognitive profiling that is being studied…

Literally, I have a dwarf cedar in my front yard. People who have never seen a dwarf cedar are going to psychologically be different than those who have.


For a social species like human beings non-zero social compromise has value for survival procreation and thriving. Liberalism is based on the evolution of successful non-zero kind of adaptive strategies.

Non-zero social compromise.

Cite some specific examples of this. And how it might be understood [psychologically] in different ways by those in a hunter and gatherer community as opposed to our more modern post industrial world. In particular given the points raised by those like Satyr in regard to the tug of war between genes and memes.

Our survival doesn’t matter iambiguous…

The eternal default setting is that we all live forever.

Do yourself a favor and plan your forever.

That’s a lot. I just started laying down some of the biological premises for this theory. I haven’t even gotten to the cognitive psychological piece. Let me say a little bit about that. Cognitive science transformed psychology in the latter part of the 20th century. Two of its basic propositions are:
1 Actions are caused by mental processes
2 the mind is a computer

In the latter half of the 20th century psychologist began to reject behaviorism which saw to explain behavior by stimulus response or contingencies of reinforcement. They realizedthey couldn’t eliminate consideration of beliefs and desires from explanations of human behavior.

And they began using computers and work on artificial intelligence as a way of testing and refuting behaviorist hypotheses about learning. It became acceptable to cognitive scientists to talk about the mind.

Like folk psychology, cognitive psychology explains behavior by referring to mental processes. However psychology has a more precise ideas of what these mental processes are, i. e., computations.

Cognitive psychology defines a computer as a set of operations for processing information. Many different sorts of physical machines can process information in the same way. The essence of a computer is not in the materials it’s made of but in the programs it executes. The program is the key to the behavior.

For cognitive science the mind is a very complicated piece of software. Cognitive scientists describe this program in terms of information processing without needing to describe the details of the brain.

This is just a start. I haven’t even gotten to how evolutionary psychology synthesizes cognitive science with evolutionary biology. But I intend to.


I haven’t read Satyr. Most of the non-zero-sum stuff comes from Robert Wright’s book on the subject.

Like the idea of zero-sum, the idea of non-zero-sum comes from game theory. In series some games The fortunes of the players are inversely related. In tennis, chess and boxing one contestants gain is the other’s loss. In highly non-zero-sum games The players interests overlap entirely. A merchant and a customer, two members of a legislature, two childhood friends sometimes but not always find their interests overlapping. To the extent their interests due overlap their relationship is non-zero-sum. The outcome can be win win or lose lose depending on how they play the game. The prisoner’s dilemma is another example of a non-zero-sum game.

The non zero sum logic goes beyond human behavior and indeed beyond social behavior of any species. Individual genes on one’s chromosomes behave in accordance with non zero sum logic. The proposition is that the logic of biological integration and social integration can be subsumed in a single analytic framework.

There is an overt psychological mutual-benefit for all parties in a well functioning family - properly conducted religion - incorrupt government and its people - apolitical teachers and students - and many other social organizations.

The prisoner’s dilemma is one such a game, with an added dash of bluff.

My own reading of Saytr [no less rooted subjectively in dasein] is of someone [no less rooted subjectively in dasein] who believes that if you wish to truly understand human psychology [and most everything else] you start with this:

“…in terms of things like race and ethnicity and gender and sexual preferences, the “social constructs” of the liberals are completely at odds with natural behavior.”

It’s almost always genes with him. “Social constructs” – memes – are but a relatively recent addition to the human arsenal.

And not just genes but his own dogmatic political agenda derived solely from his own understanding of “biological imperatives”.

The players in games/sports interact largely in the either/or world. With tennis, chess and boxing there are specific rules regarding how the game is played. There is a final outcome in which some win and some lose. Human psychology here would seem to revolve primarily around the brain best able to tell the body what to do in order to win the game. That or the “psychological games” that can be employed. Think Bobby Fisher in the chess world. Trying to “psych-out” the opponent.

With market transactions, legislation and friendship, interactions can often shift over into the is/ought world. Not about the rules and who wins but whether the rules reflect conflicting assessments of social, political and economic justice, and how winning might revolve around conflicting understandings of means and ends.

It is the evolutionary nature of human psychology here that most interest me. And the extent to which some make little or no distinction between either/or psychology and is/ought psychology. The folks I call objectivists.

Thus, a psychologist can compare and contrast the behaviors chosen by the Hadza people above and those of us in the modern post-industrial state, where so much more revolves around “smart” communication technology, social media and things like the internet…behaviors that might appear utterly alien to more “primitive” communities still around today.

What of “evolutionary psychology” here? What might the optimal assessment be in terms of things like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual norms, religion, moral and political values etc.

Again, cite some specific examples of this from your own life of late. How might your own understanding of the points raised in Robert Wright’s book be applicable to the arguments that I make regarding the psychological “I” – dasein – interacting with others given my own take on identity, value judgments and political economy.

Before I get into that, I want to get back to developing the basics how evolutionary psychology combines evolutionary biology and cognitive science. According to evolutionary biology complex designs in nature come about by natural selection. According to cognitive psychology the mind exhibits a very complex design. Therefore the design of the mind must have evolved by a process of natural selection.

Cognitive psychologists used to think that the mind was an abstract general purpose problem solver. But when researchers designed very simple programs that could solve very abstract problems they found that these programs were unable to do many of the things that humans do easily.

For instance, Chomsky showed that a general purpose learning program simply could not learn a language under the same conditions as normal human children. Chomsky concluded that children have an innate language acquisition device in the mind which knows what kinds of rules human languages have. So the human mind contains a special purpose program for learning language.

In another example, although it may seem simple, vision is also very complex. It requires another special-purpose program for processing visual information in terms of phenomena like edges, motion, color and depth.

So the mind can’t possibly be a single general purpose program. Instead it’s a collection of many special purpose programs each with its own rules called modules.

The evolutionary psychologists Tooby and Cosmides picked up on this development. They argue that there are hundreds perhaps even thousands of special purpose modules in the human mind. The mind is like a Swiss army knife with a bunch of gadgets each design for a specific task.

Evolutionary psychology, then, is the research program that attempts to answer the question how these modules evolved.

Suffice it to say for the moment that humans evolved a special modules for calculating social exchanges. The value of a favor depends both on the cost to the donor and the benefit of the recipient. And the costs and benefits of any kind of favor are not fixed in advance. They depend on the context. Social accounting modules must consider all these details.