Tag Archives: evolutionary psychology

Satoshi Kanazawa

If you are chronically spending every Saturday night alone, despite valiant and persistent effort to find a date, then chances are there’s something wrong with you, at least in this area of life. You probably don’t possess the qualities that members of the opposite sex seek in potential mates. Evolutionary psychological research has not only discovered what these traits are that men and women seek in each other, but also that the traits sought after by men and women are culturally universal; men everywhere in the world seek the same traits in women (such as youth and physical attractiveness) and women everywhere in the world seek the same traits in men (such as wealth and status). In fact, one of the themes of evolutionary psychology is that human nature is universal (or “species-typical”) and people are the same everywhere (or their cultural differences can be explained by the interaction of universal human nature and the local conditions). You may be comforted to know that you are not alone in your plight; there are losers like you everywhere in the world, and for the same reasons.

Satoshi Kanazawa, ‘The Evolutionary Psychological Imagination: Why You Can’t Get a Date on a Saturday Night and Why Most Suicide Bombers are Muslim’, Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, vol. 1, no. 2 (2007), p. 8

Tim Harford

On the African Savannah […] our rational male forebears wanted young and beautiful partners while our rational ancestors down the maternal line would have preferred high-status males. Have these preferences, like attitudes to sex, survived to the present day? Folk wisdom would certainly say so. In the song ‘Summertime’ from Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess, there’s a reason why Bess soothes the baby with the line ‘Your daddy’s rich and your momma’s good looking’ rather than the other way round. And how often do you hear of a twenty-six-year-old Chippendale marrying an eighty-nine-year-old heiress?

Tim Harford, The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World, London, 2008, pp. 78-79

Paul Krugman

If you follow trends in psychology, you know that Freud is out and Darwin is in. The basic idea of “evolutionary psych” is that our brains are exquisitely designed to help us cope with our environment—but unfortunately, the environment they are designed for is the one we evolved and lived in for the past two million years, no the alleged civilization we created just a couple of centuries ago. We are, all of us, hunter-gatherers lost in the big city. And therein, say the theorists, lie the roots of many of our bad habits. Our craving for sweets evolved in a world without ice cream; our interest in gossip evolved in a world without tabloids; our emotional response to music evolved in a world without Celine Dion. And we have investment instincts designed for hunting mammoths, not capital gains.

Paul Krugman, The Great Unraveling, New York, 2003, p. 31