Edward H. Hagen's research while affiliated with Washington State University and other places

Publications (113)

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Dubourg and Baumard explain why fictional worlds are attractive to consumers. A complete account of fictional worlds, however, should also explain why some people create them. Creation is a costly and time-consuming process that does not resemble exploration but does resemble the culturally universal phenomenon of knowledge specialization.
Preprint
The anthropology of Pacific cultures spotlights social conflict as a key proximate cause of suicide. Ethnographic accounts suggest that suicidal behaviors occupy an extreme end of a spectrum of conflict-resolution strategies. We systematically investigate parent-child conflicts and the strategies adolescent and young adult children use to resolve t...
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After they diverged from panins, hominins evolved an increasingly committed terrestrial lifestyle in open habitats that exposed them to increased predation pressure from Africa’s formidable predator guild. In the Pleistocene, Homo transitioned to a more carnivorous lifestyle that would have further increased predation pressure. An effective defense...
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Many cognitive and evolutionary theories of religion argue that supernatural explanations are byproducts of our cognitive adaptations. An influential argument states that our supernatural explanations result from a tendency to generate anthropomorphic explanations, and that this tendency is a byproduct of an error management strategy because agents...
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Background: Depression occurs about twice as often in women as in men, a disparity that remains poorly understood. In a previous publication, Hagen and Rosenström predicted and found that grip strength, a highly sexually dimorphic index of physical formidability, mediated much of the effect of sex on depression. Striking results like this are more...
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Mental health professionals generally view major depression and suicidality as pathological responses to stress that elicit aversive responses from others. An alternative hypothesis grounded in evolutionary theory contends that depression and suicidality are honest signals of need in response to adversity that can increase support from reluctant ot...
Preprint
The human lineage entered a more carnivorous niche 2.6 mya. A range of evidence indicates this increased zoonotic pathogen pressure. This evidence includes increased zoonotic infections modern hunter-gatherers and bushmeat hunters relative to others living in the same environments, exceptionally low stomach pH compared to other primates, human-spec...
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Those with better reputations often obtain more resources than those with poorer reputations. Consequently, gossip might be an evolved strategy to compete for valuable and scarce material and social resources. Influenced by models of non-human primate competition, we test the hypotheses that gossip: (i) targets aspects of reputation relevant to the...
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Religious healing specialists such as shamans often use magic. Evolutionary theories that seek to explain why laypersons find these specialists convincing focus on the origins of magical cognition and belief in the supernatural. In two studies, we reframe the problem by investigating relationships among ethnomedical specialists, who possess extensi...
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Religious healing specialists such as shamans often use magic. Evolutionary theories that seek to explain why laypersons find these specialists convincing focus on the origins of magical cognition and belief in the supernatural. In two studies, we reframe the problem by investigating relationships among ethnomedical specialists, who possess extensi...
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We discuss approaches to the study of the evolution of music (sect. R1); challenges to each of the two theories of the origins of music presented in the companion target articles (sect. R2); future directions for testing them (sect. R3); and priorities for better understanding the nature of music (sect. R4).
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We discuss approaches to the study of the evolution of music (sect. R1); challenges to each of the two theories of the origins of music presented in the companion Target Articles (sect. R2); future directions for testing them (sect. R3); and priorities for better understanding the nature of music (sect. R4). [in press, Behavioral and Brain Sciences...
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People everywhere acquire high levels of conceptual knowledge about their social and natural 8 worlds, which we refer to as ethnoscientific expertise. Evolutionary explanations for expertise are 9 still widely debated. We analysed ethnographic text records (N=547) describing ethnoscientific 10 expertise among 55 cultures in the Human Relations Area...
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Henrich (2020) discusses the role of Christianity in shaping Western psychology and affluence. We expand on his perspective by critically discussing Henrich's account of religions. Drawing on cross-cultural research, we clarify when religions are consistent with Henrich's account of religions, and when they reflect pragmatic specialists who assist...
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Smokeless tobacco use among Indian women is increasing despite prevention efforts. Evolutionary theories suggest that reproductive-aged women should be more concerned about immediate threats to reproduction than threats to survival occurring late in life. This study therefore compared an anti-tobacco intervention that emphasized near-term reproduct...
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Music comprises a diverse category of cognitive phenomena that likely represent both the effects of psychological adaptations that are specific to music (e.g., rhythmic entrainment) and the effects of adaptations for non-musical functions (e.g., auditory scene analysis). How did music evolve? Here, we show that prevailing views on the evolution of...
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Acting on socially learned information involves risk, especially when the consequences imply certain costs with uncertain benefits. Current evolutionary theories argue that decision-makers evaluate and respond to this information based on context cues, such as prestige (the prestige bias model; PBM), and/or incentives (the risk and incentives model...
Article
Many researchers have turned to evolutionary theory to better understand diversity in leadership. Evolutionary theories of leadership, in turn, draw on ethnographic cases of societies thought to more closely resemble the smaller-scale, face-to-face communities in which humans evolved. Currently, though, there is limited systematic data on the natur...
Preprint
How did music evolve? We show that prevailing views on the evolution of music — that music is a byproduct of other evolved faculties, that music evolved for social bonding, and that music evolved to signal mate quality — are incomplete or wrong. We argue instead that music evolved as a credible signal in at least two contexts: coalitional interacti...
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The germ theory of disease and the attendant public health initiatives, including sanitation, vaccination, and antibiotic treatment, led to dramatic increases in global life expectancy. As the prevalence of infectious disease declines, mental disorders are emerging as major contributors to the global burden of disease. Scientists understand little...
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Reputations can make or break citizens, communities, or companies. Reputations matter for individual careers, for one’s chances of finding a partner, for a profession’s credibility, or for the value of a firm’s stock options – to name but a few. The key mechanism for the creation, maintenance, and destruction of reputations in everyday life is goss...
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Humans are thought to have evolved in small, egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies. Evolutionary theories of leadership, which draw heavily on studies of contemporary hunter-gatherer and other small-scale societies, have proposed numerous traits that putatively characterize leaders in domains of sociality, productivity, reproduction, dominance, and...
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Objectives Establishment and development of the infant gastrointestinal microbiome (GIM) varies cross‐culturally and is thought to be influenced by factors such as gestational age, birth mode, diet, and antibiotic exposure. However, there is little data as to how the composition of infants' households may play a role, particularly from a cross‐cult...
Preprint
Long before the term Machiavellian Intelligence was coined, James Neel was pondering the role of ‘princes’ in the evolution of exceptional human intelligence. The two cornerstones of Neel’s theory – leaders’ superior skills, knowledge, and intelligence (at least as judged by others), and their greater reproductive success – have been amply confirme...
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Lethal and nonlethal suicidal behaviors are major global public health problems. Much suicidal behavior (SB) occurs after the suicide victim committed a murder or other serious transgression. The present study tested a novel evolutionary model termed the Costly Apology Model (CAM) against the ethnographic record. The bargaining model (BRM) sees non...
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This study tested four theoretical models of leadership with data from the ethnographic record. The first was a game-theoretical model of leadership in collective actions, in which followers prefer and reward a leader who monitors and sanctions free-riders as group size increases. The second was the dominance model, in which dominant leaders threat...
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Existing approaches within leadership studies often share a bias towards industrialized societies and lack broader cross-cultural and ethological reference. Meanwhile, cross-cultural and evolutionary approaches within anthropology are actively working to unify research on leadership and followership across the biological and social sciences. This r...
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Researchers, including Boyer & Petersen (B&P), commonly use experimental economic studies to draw their conclusions. These studies conventionally strip away context and present participants only with abstract rules. Because context is a strictly necessary component of the decision-making process, it is not clear that inferences about high-level fol...
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Objectives We present the first available data on the human milk microbiome (HMM) from small‐scale societies (hunter‐gatherers and horticulturalists in the Central African Republic [CAR]) and explore relationships among subsistence type and seasonality on HMM diversity and composition. Additionally, as humans are cooperative breeders and, throughou...
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Many studies have documented framing effects in economic games. These studies, however, have tended to use minimal framing cues (E.G. A single sentence labelling the frame), and the frames did not involve unambiguous offer expectations. Results often did not differ substantially from those in the unframed games. Here we test the hypothesis that, in...
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Objectives: Hormones have many roles in human ontogeny, including timing of life history ‘switch points’ across development. Limited hormonal data exist from non-Western children, leaving a significant gap in our understanding of the diversity of life history patterning. This cross-sectional study examines dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) pro...
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Pregnancy increases women's nutritional requirements, yet causes aversions to nutritious foods. Most societies further restrict pregnant women's diet with food taboos. Pregnancy food aversions are theorized to protect mothers and fetuses from teratogens and pathogens or increase dietary diversity in response to resource scarcity. Tests of these hyp...
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Divorce is associated with an increased probability of a depressive episode, but the causation of events remains unclear. Adaptive models of depression propose that depression is a social strategy in part, whereas non-adaptive models tend to propose a diathesis-stress mechanism. We compare an adaptive evolutionary model of depression to three alter...
Chapter
Early research found commonalities across hunter-gatherer communities in regards to infant care. Infants were held frequently, spent most of the day and night in skin-to-skin contact, breastfed on demand, received intimate caregiving, and experienced low levels of distress. These shared infant care practices are assumed to have deep evolutionary ro...
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In the developing world, the dramatic male bias in tobacco use is usually ascribed to pronounced gender disparities in social, political, or economic power. This bias might also reflect under-reporting by woman and/or over-reporting by men. To test the role of gender inequality on gender differences in tobacco use we investigated tobacco use among...
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Background: Female smoking prevalence is dramatically lower in developing countries (3.1%) than developed countries (17.2%), whereas male smoking is similar (32% vs 30.1%). Low female smoking has been linked to high gender inequality. Alternatively, to protect their offspring from teratogenic substances, pregnant and lactating women appear to have...
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Background: Women are twice as likely as men to be depressed, a bias that is poorly understood. One evolutionary model proposes that depression is a bargaining strategy to compel reluctant social partners to provide more help in the wake of adversity. An evolutionary model of anger proposes that high upper body strength predisposes individuals to...
Chapter
Evolutionary psychology has been criticized by scholars and scientists in biology, philosophy, behavioral ecology, genetics, and many other disciplines. Critics typically focus on the claims that human cognition has a universal complex evolved design, which, to critics, flies in the face of human variation; that there was an environment of evolutio...
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Suicide is responsible for more deaths than all wars and homicides combined. Despite over a century of research on this puzzling and tragic behavior, and a recent increase in the number of treatments and intervention programs, it remains a global scourge. There is abundant research on suicidality in Western populations, but research on suicide amon...
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This chapter revisits five of the still smoldering controversies over evolutionary psychology and its discipline sociobiology: selfish genes, the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA), nature versus nurture, massive modularity, and evolutionary psychology's politically incorrect claims. The chapter shows that all scientific criticisms of th...
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Objectives Little is known about cannabis use in hunter-gatherers. Therefore, we investigated cannabis use in the Aka, a population of foragers of the Congo Basin. Because cannabis contains anthelminthic compounds, and the Aka have a high prevalence of helminthiasis, we also tested the hypothesis that cannabis use might be an unconscious form of se...
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We tested a novel hypothesis that recreational use of neurotoxic plants helps defend against parasites. Specifically, we investigated the relationship between smoking and helminthiasis among the Aka, a remote population of Central African foragers who are avid tobacco smokers, suffer high rates of helminthiasis, and have little-to-no access to comm...
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Most globally popular drugs are plant neurotoxins or their close chemical analogs. These compounds evolved to deter, not reward or reinforce, consumption. Moreover, they reliably activate virtually all toxin defense mechanisms, and are thus correctly identified by human neurophysiology as toxins. Acute drug toxicity must therefore play a more centr...
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Pica has been studied in India and elsewhere for more than 100 years, yet no compelling and empirically well-supported explanation for it has emerged. Amylophagy, sometimes considered a type of pica and sometimes studied separately, is less frequently investigated and also lacks a convincing explanation. This study used a biocultural approach to te...
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Postmarital residence patterns in traditional human societies figure prominently in models of hominid social evolution with arguments for patrilocal human bands similar in structure to female-dispersal systems in other African apes. However, considerable flexibility in hunter-gatherer cultures has led to their characterization as primarily multiloc...
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We critically review evolutionary theories of major depressive disorder (MDD). Because most instances of MDD appear to be caused by adversity, evolutionary theories of MDD generally propose that sadness and low mood evolved as beneficial responses to adversity, and that MDD is dysfunctional sadness and low mood. If so, MDD research should focus muc...
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We applaud Müller & Schumann (M&S) for bringing needed attention to the problem of motivation for common non-addictive drug use, as opposed to the usual focus on exotic drugs and addiction. Unfortunately, their target article has many underdeveloped and sometimes contradictory ideas. Here, we will focus on three key issues.
Article
Rarely do human behavioral scientists and scholars study language, music, and other forms of communication as strategies---a means to some end. Some even deny that communication is the primary function of these phenomena. Here we draw upon selections of our earlier work to briefly define the strategy concept and sketch how decision theory, develope...
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This paper explores sex differences in interpersonal aggression among Aka foragers of the Central African Republic (CAR). We tested whether male Aka physically aggressed more than female Aka, and whether female Aka indirectly aggressed more than male Aka, as evolutionary theories of aggression predict. To our knowledge, these are the first tests of...
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In humans, alloparents are usually thought to be grandmothers and adolescent girls. Although many studies have examined the influence of grandmothers on child outcomes, fewer have explored the effect of adolescents on such outcomes. We tested the hypothesis that in a community of Ecuadorian Shuar horticulturists, adolescent girls would have a posit...
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Group defence of territories is found in many gregarious mammalian carnivores, including lions, canids, and hyenas. In these taxa, group members often mark territory boundaries and direct aggressive behaviour towards alien conspecifics found within the territory (Boydston et al., 2001). Middle Pleistocene hominids such as Neanderthals occupied an e...
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Current neurobiological theory of drug use is based on the observation that all addictive drugs induce changes in activity of dopaminergic circuitry, interfering with reward processing, and thus enhancing drug seeking and consumption behaviors. Current theory of drug origins, in contrast, views almost all major drugs of abuse, including nicotine, c...
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Neurobiological models of drug abuse propose that drug use is initiated and maintained by rewarding feedback mechanisms. However, the most commonly used drugs are plant neurotoxins that evolved to punish, not reward, consumption by animal herbivores. Reward models therefore implicitly assume an evolutionary mismatch between recent drug-profligate e...
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Thomas Szasz argued that mental illnesses are (often deceptive) social strategies. Using concepts from evolutionary biology, I investigate whether non-bizarre delusions might be a form of strategic deception. Non-bizarre delusions comprise a small number of themes, including grandiose, para-noid, and somatic. If, hypothetically, delusions were beli...
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A long-standing theoretical tradition in clinical psychology and psychiatry sees deliberate self-harm (DSH), such as wrist-cutting, as functionala means to avoid painful emotions, for example, or to elicit attention from others. There is substantial evidence that DSH serves these functions. Yet the specific links between self-harm and such function...
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Table 1 Relationships between plant neurotoxins commonly used as drugs and CNS receptors. Table 2 Human cytochrome P450 natural substrates and enzyme kinetics constants. Table 3 Example ethnic population frequencies of CYP2A6 and CYP2D6 alleles with known in vivo enzyme activity. References
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Genealogy has been a pillar of anthropological research since the earliest ethnographic fieldwork. A turn toward demographically and quantitatively oriented kinship studies in the 1960s highlighted the need for more systematic genealogical methods. New computer-assisted, iterative field methods were developed in response. These methods can dramatic...
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Psychiatry faces an internal contradiction in that it regards mild sadness and low mood as normal emotions, yet when these emotions are directed toward a new infant, it regards them as abnormal. We apply parental investment theory, a widely used framework from evolutionary biology, to maternal perinatal emotions, arguing that negative emotions dire...
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Evolutionary models of human cooperation are increasingly emphasizing the role of reputation and the requisite truthful “gossiping” about reputation-relevant behavior. If resources were allocated among individuals according to their reputations, competition for resources via competition for “good” reputations would have created incentives for exagg...
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A number of evolutionary theories of human life history assume a quantity-quality tradeoff for offspring production: parents with fewer offspring can have higher biological fitness than those with more. Direct evidence for such a tradeoff, however, is mixed. We tested this assumption in a community of Ecuadorian Shuar hunter-horticulturalists, usin...
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Economists and psychologists have been testing Nash equilibrium predictions of game theory models of human behavior. In many instances, humans do not conform to the predictions. These results are of great interest to biologists because they also raise questions about well-known ESS models of cooperation. Cooperation in certain one-shot, anonymous i...
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Many studies have found differences in the types of aggression used by males and females, at least in children and adolescents. Boys tend to use direct physical or verbal aggression, whereas girls tend to use more indirect forms of aggression that prominently feature gossip. Evolutionary theories of sex differences in indirect aggression propose se...
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Genes in Conflict. The Biology of Selfish Genetic Elements. By Austin Burt and Robert Trivers. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2006. 620 pp. $35, £21.95. ISBN 0-674-01713-7. The authors explore molecular, genetic, behavioral, and evolutionary aspects of selfish genetic elements--DNA that acts to advance its own replication at the expense...
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What is a strategy? The term strategy has been used by many disciplines in a variety of contexts ranging, for example, from the game of chess and the Cuban missile crisis to markets, computer networks, political systems, cooperation, mating, parasitism, intragenomic conflict, and growth patterns. Despite this wide use of the term, only one discipli...
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Correspondence to: p.hammerstein@biologie.hu-berlin.de Why bother about robustness? Engineers wish to create systems that are both functional and robust. Robustness is the ability of a system to maintain its functionality across a wide range of operational conditions. Different conditions arise, for example, from environmental variation, input pert...
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Theories from evolutionary biology have many implications for research in the cognitive sciences. Evolutionary psychologists have been using these theories to guide their research, the goal of which is to map the evolved, species-typical cognitive and neural architecture of humans (and other species).
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Several core issues in economics and biology overlap substantially. At the theoretical level, these include analogies and differences among rational choice, learning, genetic evolution and cultural evolution. At the empirical level, they include the structure of decision making, its neural basis and, more generally, human nature. We illustrate here...
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Here we argue that the concept of strategies, as it was introduced into biology by John Maynard Smith, is a prime illustration of the four dimensions of theoretical biology in the post-genomic era. These four dimensions are: data analysis and management, mathematical and computational model building and simulation, concept formation and analysis, a...
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It is difficult to synthesize evolutionary and developmental approaches to morphol- ogy, physiology, and behavior. Here we sketch one way to achieve such a synthesis that invokes ideas from evolutionary game theory. Developmental trajectories are often sensitive to environmental conditions. We reject the view, which is popular with some, that this...
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An evolutionary account of excessive crying in young infants – colic – has been elusive. A study of mothers with new infants suggests that more crying is associated with more negative emotions towards the infant, and perceptions of poorer infant health. These results undermine the hypothesis that excessive crying is an honest signal of vigor.
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UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPT, latest version provided here: 20 May 2004. Rejected without full outside reviews by: The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, and The New England Journal of Medicine. ABSTRACT: Many agonizing experiences like physical pain and nausea are adaptations— functional aspects of human psychology that evolved b...
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Evidence suggests that humans have neurological specializations for music processing, but a compelling adaptationist account of music and dance is lacking. The sexual selection hypothesis cannot easily account for the widespread performance of music and dance in groups (especially synchronized performances), and the social bonding hypothesis has se...
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Minor depression — low mood often accompanied by a loss of motivation — is almost certainly an adaptation to circumstances that, in ancestral environments, imposed a fitness cost. It is, in other words, the psychic equivalent of physical pain. Major depression is characterized by additional symptoms — such as loss of interest in virtually all activ...
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It was recently hypothesized that depression might function, in part, as a bargaining strategy when cooperation imposes a net cost, but there are social constraints on defection [Evol. Hum. Behav. 20 (1999) 325.]. If so, such social constraints should be associated with depression, and depression in one partner should be associated with increased i...
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The fitness maximization standard incorrectly assumes that most adaptations have high heritablility, and it imposes the difficult requirement that correlated phenotypic and environmental contributors to reproduction be controlled for. Despite infrequently recognized problems, the special design standard is the foundation of the spectacular successe...
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According to a conventional evolutionary perspective, the human propensity for substance use is the product of a 'mismatch' between emotional mechanisms that evolved in a past without pure drugs or direct routes of drug administration, and the occurrence of these phenomena in the contemporary environment. The primary purpose of this review is to as...

Citations

... In terms of the relationship between theory of mind and moral judgement, this study covered ages from three to eight years, but explored relationships only between first-order ToM (false-belief) tasks and moral reasoning. In future research it would be interesting to use second-order ToM tasks with slightly older children and explore their role in moral reasoning and behavioral reward or punishment tasks, especially given the role that higher-order ToM has been postulated to have in children's developing understanding of reputation (Ingram, 2019). Such tasks might also be better integrated with test of counterfactual reasoning than was achieved in the current study. ...
... Introduction Gaffney et al. (2022; henceforth also "the authors") are to be commended for an important advance in the debate concerning the proximate and ultimate causation of suicidality and depression. They argue that these phenomena function as evolved credible signals by which subdominant individuals can elicit fitness-enhancing concessions from dominant others. ...
... The religion concept is regularly contested (Bloch, 2008;McKay and Whitehouse, 2014;Lightner et al., 2021), but at its heart -and as we use it here -"religion" refers to a conglomerate of diagnostic features that include beliefs, values, traditions, sacred objects, and ritual behaviors, each of which lend themselves to contemporary scientific inquiry (see Sosis, 2009, for discussion). We also use the notions "gods", "spirits", and "deities" interchangeably to refer generally to supernatural/spiritual forces or agents. ...
... The performance potentially can help the patient reevaluate their own illness in a guided manner that may lead to direct health improvement or to the improved management of symptoms within that particular cultural context [50,51]. This and other tricks by healers can also be used as adjuncts to potentially more practical medications, as medical specialists and the use of effective traditional remedies may have played an important role across human societies throughout much of our evolutionary history [14,52,53]. ...
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