ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    30 May 2007, Volume 39 Issue 03 Previous Issue    Next Issue

    For Selected: Toggle Thumbnails
    The Future of Psychology: Evolutionary Approach to Scientific Psychology

    Chang Lei,David C. Geary

    2007, 39 (03):  381-382. 
    Abstract ( 1421 )  
    Related Articles | Metrics
    An Integrative Model of Human Brain, Cognitive, and Behavioral Evolution
    2007, 39 (03):  383-397. 
    Abstract ( 1562 )  
    The evolved function of brain, cognitive, and behavioral systems is to allow organisms to attempt to gain control of the social, biological, and physical resources that have covaried with survival and reproductive options during the species’ evolutionary history. The information generated by these resources ranges from stable (e.g., prototypical shape of human face) to unpredictable (e.g., changing facial expressions). Stable information is predicted to result in the evolution of modular brain and cognitive systems and implicit, automatic behavioral responses. For humans, these systems coalesce around the domains of folk psychology, folk biology, and folk physics. Unpredictable information is predicted to be associated with the evolution of brain and cognitive systems that enable explicit, consciously driven top-down behavioral responses. For humans, the evolution of these explicit systems resulted in the emergence of self-awareness and the ability to consciously simulate control-related problem solving behavioral strategies. A motivation-to-control theory that incorporates these folk domains and conscious, self-aware problem solving is described
    Related Articles | Metrics
    The (In)flexibility of Evolved Frequency Representations for Statistical Reasoning:
    Cognitive Styles and Brief Prompts Do Not Influence Bayesian Inference
    2007, 39 (03):  398-405. 
    Abstract ( 1039 )  
    What happens when format manipulations improve Bayesian reasoning? One view is that naturally sampled frequencies help induce a privileged representational system that is relatively specific in its operation. A contrasting view is that naturally sampled frequencies are but one way to induce a more general process of appreciating nested set relationships. This later view implies that fairly brief and immediate interventions (e.g., simple directives) should produce improvement, whereas the former view implies that more extensive interventions and/or more insightful understanding are necessary for improvement. The present research indicates that neither brief and immediate interventions nor pre-existing representational biases or representational flexibility facilitate performance. Some evidence emerged, on the other hand, that frequentist problem interpretation can improve statistical reasoning performance and increase confidence in responses at times. These results support the privileged representational system view
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Evolutionary Psychology of Investment Decisions: Expected Allocation of Personal Money and Differential Parental Investment in Sons and Daughters
    2007, 39 (03):  406-414. 
    Abstract ( 2150 )  
    This paper reports experimental and field studies of risky investment. Evolution by natural selection should have equipped humans with a kith-and-kin rationality for investment decisions while sexual selection entailed a higher expectation for investments from a man than from a woman. In Study 1, participants estimated how a typical man or woman in the same age cohort would allocate lottery money to self and other possible recipients. The results showed that (1) the degree of kith-and-kin relatedness largely determined the amount of investment. (2) An imagined typical man was more generous than an imagined woman. However, male participants were more selfish than female participants. (3) Women were more accurate in estimating the other sex’s investment distribution than men. (4) Women invested in more recipients, thus had a larger scope of social sharing. Study 2 tested the evolutionary psychological hypothesis that differential parental investment in sons and daughters would be affected by the family’s relative rather than absolute wealth. Using breastfeeding and interbirth interval as the measurements of parental investment, the results showed that (1) real household income affected overall amount of parental investment irrespective of the sex of a child; and (2) relative wealth perceived by parents against their neighborhood households affected differential investment in sons versus daughters. Parental investment in sons is viewed as a riskier prospect than investment in daughters since men have a universally higher variance in wealth and reproduction than women. The two studies suggest that human decision rationality is bounded by social relations and adapted to relative wealth conditions
    Related Articles | Metrics
    How Language Evolved
    2007, 39 (03):  415-430. 
    Abstract ( 1023 )  
    Language, with its complex recursive structure, is almost certainly a uniquely human capacity. I argue that it evolved over the past 2 million years during the Pleistocene epoch, as part of a cognitive adaptation to deforestation and predation from dangerous killer animals on the African savanna. Rather than postulate any specific genes for language, I suggest that there was systematic selection for increase in brain size, allowing for more complex social cognition, including the “grammaticalization” of communication through learning and cultural pressures. Parallel to this development, the medium of communication changed gradually from a manual mode to a facial and then vocal mode, culmination in a mutation of the FOXP2 gene that gave our own species, Homo sapiens, the capacity for autonomous speech. This final switch may explain the so-called “human revolution,” leading to the dominance of humans on the planet, and the demise of other species of the genus Homo.
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Language as an Adaptation by Natural Selection
    2007, 39 (03):  431-438. 
    Abstract ( 1967 )  
    This paper defends the theory that the human language faculty is a biological adaptation and, like other examples of complex adaptive design in the natural world, it is a product of natural selection. Language is designed to code propositional information for the purpose of sharing it with others, and thus fits with other features of the distinctive human "cognitive niche” including cause-and-effect thinking and hypersociality. Finally, the paper demonstrates that these and other evolutionary hypotheses about language as an adaptation have been supported by two new areas of research: evolutionary game theory, and tests for selection in molecular evolution
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Evolutionary Developmental Psychology: Developing Human Nature
    2007, 39 (03):  439-453. 
    Abstract ( 2350 )  
    Evolutionary developmental psychology involves the study of the genetic and environmental mechanisms that underlie the universal development of social and cognitive competencies and how these processes adapt to local conditions. We present some of the central issues and concepts of evolutionary developmental psychology: (1) natural selection operates at all stages of the lifespan, but especially early in life; (2) adaptations can be functional at any time in development, but evolutionary developmental psychology is particularly concerned with adaptations associated with infancy and childhood; (3) an extended childhood is needed in which to learn the complexities of human social communities; (4) the application of a developmental contextual (epigenetic) approach to explain how evolved and inherited dispositions become expressed as adaptive behaviors in the phenotypes of adults; (5) development is constrained by both genetic and environmental factors; and (6) children show substantial plasticity of cognition and behavior, and adaptive sensitivity to context early in life
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Experience in Childhood and the Development of Reproductive Strategies
    2007, 39 (03):  454-468. 
    Abstract ( 2072 )  
    Even though a great deal of mainstream developmental psychology is devoted to understanding whether and how experiences in childhood shape psychological and behavioural development later in life, little theoretical attention has been paid to why such cross-time influences should characterize human development. This is especially true with respect to the well-studied determinants of mating, pair bonding and parenting. Theoretically, Draper and Harpending (1982), Belsky et al. (1991), Ellis (2004) and Chisholm (1996) have all addressed this lacuna, stimulating research on linkages between childhood experience and reproductive strategy, which is summarised in this paper. Concern for experiential effects on pubertal timing distinguishes this line of inquiry from more traditional developmental studies because an evolutionary perspective suggests that experiences in the family might affect somatic development. Fifteen years since BSD advanced their “uncanny” prediction, it seems clear that this pubertal timing, at least in females, is related to selected aspects of early family experience (Ellis, 2004)
    Related Articles | Metrics
    One Mate or Two? Life History Traits and Reproductive Variation in Low-Income Women
    2007, 39 (03):  469-480. 
    Abstract ( 1838 )  
    We contrasted the long-term mate preferences, reported developmental experiences, life history traits, and current personal traits of low-income women who reproduced with a single man (n = 222), two or more men (n = 145), or had not yet reproduced (n = 106). The mate preferences of the three groups were more similar than different, suggesting that group differences in reproductive strategy may be more strongly related to developmental experiences and current circumstances than to explicit preferences for one type of reproductive partner or another. Path analytic models revealed that the only direct predictor of number of reproductive mates was age of first reproduction, which in turn was predicted by level of education and age of first sexual intercourse. Age of first intercourse, in turn, was predicted by time spent with father. The pattern suggests paternal investment influences timing of adolescent sexual activity, and timing of this activity can set in motion a long-term reproductive trajectory
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Sexual Restrictedness in Adolescence: A Life History Perspective


    2007, 39 (03):  481-488. 
    Abstract ( 2090 )  
    Life history is an evolutionary approach to the study of the timing of developmental milestones and reproductive activities. We follow this theoretical approach in an analysis of the sexual attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of over 13,000 12 to 19 year olds who participated in a sexual education program promoting abstinence until marriage. Factor analyses of this survey data revealed a general factor – Sexual Restrictiveness – hypothesized to be a dimension of the life history strategy and that underlies a variety of self-reported sexual beliefs and attitudes. The corresponding responses include expressed intentions to abstain from sex, endorsed personal and social reasons to refrain from sex, positive attitudes towards teenage abstinence, and lack of endorsement of positive aspects of sex; related responses perceived refusal skills regarding sex, endorsed health reasons to abstain from sex, and religiosity. As expected, lower scores on the Sexual Restrictedness factor were associated with more frequent endorsement of sexual behavior, even when statistically controlling for age and gender. The relation between these sexual attitudes and reported sexual behaviors and life history evolution in humans is discussed
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Fluctuating Dental Asymmetry in Great Apes, Fossil Hominins, and Modern Humans: Implications for Changing Stressors during Human Evolution
    2007, 39 (03):  489-494. 
    Abstract ( 1851 )  
    Fluctuating asymmetry (FA), defined by random, stress-induced deviations from perfect bilateral symmetry, is an indication of the inability to buffer against developmental disturbances, such as poor early nutrition. One method of measuring FA involves comparing individual tooth sizes on opposing sides of the mouth. In this study tooth measurements were compiled for 296 individuals from 10 species, including chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), modern humans (Homo sapiens), and a number of fossil hominins. The orangutan sample had significantly lower levels of dental FA than the gorilla, chimpanzee, Homo erectus, neandertal, or modern human samples. In contrast, the human and neandertal samples had significantly higher dental FA levels than any of the great ape samples. Some explanations relating to relaxed selection pressures are suggested
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Paternal Harsh Parenting in Relation to Paternal Versus Child Characteristics:
    The Moderating Effect of Paternal Resemblance Belief
    2007, 39 (03):  495-501. 
    Abstract ( 1068 )  

    Based on a sample of 338 Chinese parents and their only children, paternal resemblance belief was found to attenuate the association between paternal harsh parenting and child characteristics, such as emotion dysregulation and aggression, and to strengthen the association between harsh parenting and such paternal characteristics as depressive affect and marital dissatisfaction. These findings support the evolutionary view that, as an adaptation to calm paternity doubt, paternal resemblance belief leads to improved paternal investment.

    Related Articles | Metrics
    The Evolution of Human Mating
    2007, 39 (03):  502-512. 
    Abstract ( 2646 )  

    Mating is close to the engine of the evolutionary process—differential reproductive success. As descendants of reproductively successful ancestors, modern humans have inherited the mating strategies that led to our ancestor’s success. These strategies include long-term committed mating (e.g., marriage), short-term mating (e.g., a brief sexual encounter), extra-pair mating (e.g., infidelity), mate poaching (luring another person’s mate), and mate guarding (effort devoted to keeping a mate). Since men and women historically confronted different adaptive problems in the mating domain, the sexes differ profoundly in evolved psychology of mating solutions. These psychological sex differences include possessing distinct mate preferences, dissimilar desires for short-term mating, and distinct triggers that evoke sexual jealousy. This article reviews empirical evidence supporting evolution-based hypotheses about these mating strategies. The study of human mating is one of the true “success stories” of evolutionary psychology

    Related Articles | Metrics
    Enhancement of Self-perceived Mate Value Precedes a Shift in Men's
    Preferred Mating Strategy
    2007, 39 (03):  513-522. 
    Abstract ( 2483 )  
    eventy-three participants (40 women, 33 men) completed questionnaires concerning their self-perceived mate value (SPMV) and preferred mating strategy in two separate sessions, with baseline measures collected during the first stage. At the commencement of the second testing session, participants were provided with a fictitious positive assessment of their worth as a mate in an attempt to manipulate their SPMV upward. It was hypothesized that higher SPMV and the endorsement or pursuit of casual sexual activity would be positively related in men and that raising men’s SPMV would increase the bias toward this mating strategy. A strong relationship between SPMV and mating strategy was not expected in women, nor was increasing SPMV expected to alter women’s mating strategy. As predicted, high baseline levels of SPMV were positively related with the endorsement of casual sexual activity in men, and an elevation in men’s SPMV following the manipulation was associated with the increased choice of this mating strategy. Moreover, it appeared that the rise in SPMV specifically, rather than an increase in global self-esteem, was related to the shift in mating strategy. Little evidence was found to suggest that baseline SPMV or increases to SPMV were related to women’s endorsement or pursuit of casual versus more committed sexual relationships
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Male Mate Retention Behaviors Vary with Risk of Partner Infidelity
    and Sperm Competition
    2007, 39 (03):  523-527. 
    Abstract ( 1174 )  
    Sperm competition occurs when the sperm of two or more males concurrently occupy the reproductive tract of a single female and compete to fertilize an egg. This can be costly if the woman’s social partner loses the competition and, as a consequence, invests in offspring that are not genetically his own, a situation known as cuckoldry. Previous research suggests that men may have evolved tactics such as mate retention behaviors that reduce the risk of sperm competition and cuckoldry. The current research provides new evidence that men at greater risk of partner infidelity and sperm competition, measured as having spent a greater proportion of time apart from their partner since the couple’s last in-pair copulation, more frequently perform a variety of mate retention behaviors, such as calling unexpectedly to check up on their partners, monopolizing their partners’ time when around other men, and threatening other men who show an interest in their partners
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Mate Preference Necessities in Long- and Short-Term Mating: People Prioritize in Themselves What Their Mates Prioritize in Them
    2007, 39 (03):  528-535. 
    Abstract ( 2301 )  
    People were given highly constrained low budgets of mate dollars to allocate across various characteristics pertaining to their ideal partners and to their ideal selves for long- and short-term mating. First, results replicated findings from Li et al. (2002) and Li & Kenrick (2006). For ideal long-term mates, men prioritized physical attractiveness and women prioritized social status. For ideal short-term mates, both sexes prioritized physical attractiveness. Second, people’s design of their ideal selves mirrored what the opposite sex ideally desired in their mates. For a long-term mating context, men prioritized social status in themselves and women prioritized physical attractiveness in themselves. For ideal short-term selves, both sexes prioritized physical attractiveness. Findings were consistent with a domain-specific view of psychological mechanisms, in that processes for valuing potential mates and processes for valuing one’s own mate value may be specialized mechanisms.
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Women's Perceptions of Men's Sexual Coerciveness
    Change Across the Menstrual Cycle
    2007, 39 (03):  536-540. 
    Abstract ( 2266 )  
    Ancestral women would have suffered higher costs if they were raped or sexually coerced during the fertile phase of their reproductive cycle. Accordingly, selection pressures should have made women more sensitive to cues of male sexual coerciveness near ovulation. Normally ovulating women watched videotaped interviews of men trying to attract another woman and then rated each man’s probable sexual coerciveness. Women nearing ovulation rated men as more coercive relative to women in the non-fertile phase. Moreover, fertile women’s judgments of men’s coerciveness were better predicted by an aggregate of women’s responses than were judgments of non-fertile women, suggesting that women are more attuned to salient cues of potential coerciveness during the fertile phase of the cycle, and thus, may be less error-prone. Because these findings are unlikely to be explained by general-purpose learning mechanisms, they suggest that women may possess specially designed perceptual counter-strategies that guard against male sexual coercion
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Why Evolutionary Psychology?
    2007, 39 (03):  541-545. 
    Abstract ( 1894 )  
    This essay describes the rationale for the burgeoning new discipline of evolutionary psychology, and addresses the major critiques of the field; specifically, the primacy of culture argument and the claim that evolutionary theories of behavior represent just-so stories. It is argued further that psychology cannot aspire to a complete understanding of its subject without including ultimate level causation, as explained by natural selection, in its theories
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Reconciling Evolutionary Psychology and Ecological Psychology:
    How to Perceive Fitness Affordances
    2007, 39 (03):  546-555. 
    Abstract ( 1931 )  
    Following Charles Darwin (1871), evolutionary psychology has analyzed the origins and functions of complex psychological adaptations. Following Egon Brunswik (1956) and J. J. Gibson (1979), ecological psychology has analyzed the adaptive fit between organisms and environments with regard to perception, judgment, and action. Despite their common bio-functional orientation, these fields have developed in almost total isolation from each other. This paper tries to integrate their conceptual and empirical strengths by introducing the notion of ‘fitness affordances’ – objects and situations in the environment that carry potential fitness costs and benefits (negative or positive implications for survival or reproduction), and that can be avoided or exploited behaviorally by animals of a particular species. The fitness affordance idea grounds perceptual theory firmly in evolutionary biology, solves many traditional problems in epistemology, integrates diverse empirical work in evolutionary and ecological psychology, and offers new directions forward for 21st century research on sensation, perception, cognition, emotion, and decision-making
    Related Articles | Metrics
    Some of the Whats, Whos, and Whens Related to Evolutionary Psychology
    2007, 39 (03):  556-570. 
    Abstract ( 2009 )  
    This article presents a brief account of the development of Darwinism and evolutionary biology and psychology in China and introduces some of the basic concepts and theories of evolution that are relevant to and provide theoretical foundations for evolutionary psychology. These include Darwin’s evolution by natural selection, Hamilton’s inclusive fitness theory, Trivers’ parental investment theory, as well as game theory, life history analysis, and niche construction theory
    Related Articles | Metrics