Evolutionary Psychology

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 1474-7049 / 1474-7049
Published by: SAGE Publications (10.1177)
Total articles ≅ 936
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Latest articles in this journal

, Elin Sjöström, My Sundén,
Published: 12 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211046162

To test the hypothesis that infant night waking is an adaptation to increase interbirth intervals (IBIs) (i.e., the time between a mother’s consecutive births) by exhausting the mother, we made an initial attempt at investigating whether maternal sleep disturbance is associated with longer IBIs. We also explored whether postpartum depression symptoms mediated the association between maternal sleep disturbance and IBI length. We used retrospective self-reports from 729 mothers living in Finland. We conducted structural regressions separately for the mother’s two first children at two different age intervals (0–1 and 1–3 years). Infant night waking was associated with maternal sleep disturbance (β = .78–.84) and maternal sleep disturbance was associated with postpartum depression symptoms (β = .69–.81). Postpartum depression symptoms were also associated with longer IBIs for the first child (β = .23–.28). This result supports the notion that postpartum depression in and of itself could be viewed as adaptive for the offspring’s fitness, and not just as an unintentional byproduct of the mother’s sleep disturbance. Contrary to our prediction, maternal sleep disturbance was, however, associated with shorter IBIs for the first child (β = −.22 to −.30) when including postpartum depression symptoms in the model. We discuss the potential role of social support as an explanation for this unexpected result.
Patrick J. Nebl, Mark G. McCoy, Garett C. Foster, Michael J. Zickar
Published: 11 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211044150

The mate retention inventory (MRI) has been a valuable tool in the field of evolutionary psychology for the past 30 years. The goal of the current research is to subject the MRI to rigorous psychometric analysis using item response theory to answer three broad questions. Do the individual items of the MRI fit the scale well? Does the overall function of the MRI match what is predicted? Finally, do men and women respond similarly to the MRI? Using a graded response model, it was found that all but two of the items fit acceptable model patterns. Test information function analysis found that the scale acceptably captures individual differences for participants with a high degree of mate retention but the scale is lacking in capturing information from participants with a low degree of mate retention. Finally, discriminate item function analysis reveals that the MRI is better at assessing male than female participants, indicating that the scale may not be the best indicator of female behavior in a relationship. Overall, we conclude that the MRI is a good scale, especially for assessing male behavior, but it could be improved for assessing female behavior and individuals lower on overall mate retention behavior. It is suggested that this paper be used as a framework for how the newest psychometrics techniques can be applied in order to create more robust and valid measures in the field of evolutionary psychology.
, Aurelio J. Figueredo, , David F. Bjorklund
Published: 7 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211040751

Conceptually driven by life history theory, the current study investigated a hypothesized hierarchy of behaviors leading to men's perpetration of violence in intimate relationships. Using a series of hierarchical regressions, we tested a causal cascade model on data provided by 114 men in a committed romantic relationship. The results supported the hypothesized hierarchy of sociodevelopmental events: (1) men's childhood experiences with their parents’ parental effort predicted men's life history strategies; (2) men's life history strategies predicted men's behavioral self-regulation; (3) men's self-regulation predicted men's perceptions of partner infidelity risk; (4) perceptions of infidelity risk predicted men's frequency of engagement in nonviolent mate retention behaviors; (5) men's mate retention behaviors predicted men's frequency of partner-directed violence. The overall cascade model explained 36% of variance in men's partner-directed violence.
Lesleigh E. Pullman, Nabhan Refaie, Martin L. Lalumière,
Published: 4 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211040447

Psychopathy has historically been conceptualized as a mental disorder, but there is growing evidence that it may instead be an alternative, adaptive life history strategy designed by natural selection. Although the etiology of mental disorders is not fully understood, one likely contributor is perturbations affecting neurodevelopment. Nonright-handedness is a sign of such perturbations, and therefore can be used to test these competing models. If psychopathy is a mental disorder, psychopaths should show elevated rates of nonright-handedness. However, an adaptive strategy perspective expects psychopaths to be neurologically healthy and therefore predicts typical rates of nonright-handedness. We meta-analyzed 16 studies that investigated the association between psychopathy and handedness in various populations. There was no difference in the rates of nonright-handedness between community participants high and low in psychopathy. Furthermore, there was no difference between psychopathic and nonpsychopathic offenders in rates of nonright-handedness, though there was a tendency for offenders scoring higher on the Interpersonal/Affective dimension of psychopathy to have lower rates of nonright-handedness, and for offenders scoring higher on the Behavioral dimension of psychopathy to have higher rates of nonright-handedness. Lastly, there was no difference in rates of nonright-handedness between psychopathic and nonpsychopathic mental health patients. Thus, our results fail to support the mental disorder model and partly support the adaptive strategy model. We discuss limitations of the meta-analysis and implications for theories of the origins of psychopathy.
, , Athina Gavriilidou
Published: 4 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211045271

An important aspect of human mating is to appeal to prospective mates. Accordingly, the current research attempted to identify the strategies that people use in order to become more attractive as prospective intimate partners. More specifically, using open-ended questionnaires in a sample of 326 Greek-speaking participants, we identified 87 acts that people performed in order to become more attractive as mates. By using quantitative research methods in a sample of 2,197 Greek-speaking participants, we classified these acts into 16 different strategies. We found that, enhancing one's looks and becoming more pleasant, were among the most preferred strategies. Women were more likely than men to adopt strategies that involved looks, while men were more likely than women to adopt strategies that involved resource acquisition capacity. Moreover, age effects were found for most strategies. The identified strategies were classified into two broader domains, one aiming to develop and demonstrate fitness-increasing qualities, and the other to deceive about fitness-impairing traits.
Published: 1 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211057158

Mating patterns are crucial for understanding selection regimes in current populations and highly implicative for sexual selection and life history theory. However, empirical data on the relations between mating and reproductive outcomes in contemporary humans are lacking. In the present research we examined the sexual selection on mating (with an emphasis on Bateman's third parameter – the association between mating and reproductive success) and life history dynamics of mating by examining the relations between mating patterns and a comprehensive set of variables which determine human reproductive ecology. We conducted two studies (Study 1: N = 398, Study 2: N = 996, the sample was representative for participants’ sex, age, region, and settlement size). The findings from these studies were mutually congruent and complementary. In general, the data suggested that short-term mating was unrelated or even negatively related to reproductive success. Conversely, long-term mating was positively associated with reproductive success (number of children in Study 1; number of children and grandchildren in Study 2) and there were indices that the beneficial role of long-term mating is more pronounced in males, which is in accordance with Bateman's third principle. Observed age of first reproduction mediated the link between long-term mating and number of children but only in male participants (Study 2). There were no clear indications of the position of the mating patterns in human life history trajectories; however, the obtained data suggested that long-term mating has some characteristics of fast life history dynamics. Findings are implicative for sexual selection and life history theory in humans.
, Melissa R. Fales, Martie G. Haselton, George M. Slavich,
Published: 1 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211056160

Hierarchies naturally emerge in social species, and judgments of status in these hierarchies have consequences for social relationships and health. Although judgments of social status are shaped by appearance, the physical cues that inform judgments of status remain unclear. The transition to college presents an opportunity to examine judgments of social status in a newly developing social hierarchy. We examined whether appearances—as measured by raters’ judgments of photographs and videos—provide information about undergraduate students’ social status at their university and in society in Study 1. Exploratory analyses investigated whether associations differed by participants’ sex. Eighty-one first-year undergraduate students ( Mage = 18.20, SD = 0.50; 64.2% female) provided photographs and videos and reported their social status relative to university peers and relative to other people in society. As hypothesized, when participants were judged to be more attractive and dominant they were also judged to have higher status. These associations were replicated in two additional samples of raters who evaluated smiling and neutral photographs from the Chicago Faces Database in Study 2. Multilevel models also revealed that college students with higher self-reported university social status were judged to have higher status, attractiveness, and dominance, although judgments were not related to self-reported society social status. Findings highlight that there is agreement between self-reports of university status and observer-perceptions of status based solely on photographs and videos, and suggest that appearance may shape newly developing social hierarchies, such as those that emerge during the transition to college.
Gaëtan Thiebaut, Alain Méot, Arnaud Witt, ,
Published: 1 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211056159

The threat of diseases varies considerably among individuals, and it has been found to be linked to various proactive or reactive behaviors. In the present studies, we investigated the impact of individual differences in the perceived vulnerability to disease (PVD) on social touch before (Study 1) or during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic (Study 2). We also investigated the influence of personality traits in the covariation between these two dimensions. We found that people who are the most disease-avoidant are also the most reluctant to touching or being touched by others (and this relationship holds when personality traits are taken into account). Interestingly, the association between PVD and social touch increased during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with a few months before. By showing that the fear of contamination has an association with social touch, the findings provide further evidence for the behavioral immune system ( Schaller and Park, 2011 ), a psychological system acting as a first line of defense against pathogens.
Laura Betzig
Published: 1 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211066795

At the beginning of our era, after a battle on the Ionian Sea, Antony and Cleopatra took their own lives in Egypt, and Augustus was made an imperator by his senators . Roman emperors had sexual access to those senators’ daughters and wives, and to thousands of slaves. But they ran governments with help from their cubicularii, castrated civil servants. And they enforced an Imperial Cult: subjects made sacrifices to the emperor's genius, or procreative spirit; or they got disemboweled by wild animals, or decapitated. Then Constantine moved off from the Tiber to the Bosporus, and Europe was ruled over by a few. Lords covered the countryside with bastards, but passed on estates on to their oldest sons. Daughters and younger sons were put away in the Church, where some became parents, but most were reproductively suppressed: they were ἄνανδρος or anandros, or without a husband, and ἄγαμος or agamos, or without a wife. Heretics who objected got burned at the stake. Then the Crusaders expanded Europe to the East, and Columbus went off to the West, and politics, sex and religion became more democratic. Power was more widely distributed; more men and women had families if they wanted them, and monasteries emptied out. The Reformation followed the Roman Church, which had followed the Imperial Cult.
Published: 1 October 2021
Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049211066600

Evolutionary scientists studying social and cultural evolution have proposed a multitude of mechanisms by which cultural change can be effected. In this article we discuss two influential ideas from the theory of biological evolution that can inform this debate: the contrast between the micro- and macro-evolution, and the distinction between the tempo and mode of evolution. We add the empirical depth to these ideas by summarizing recent results from the analyses of data on past societies in Seshat: Global History Databank. Our review of these results suggests that the tempo (rates of change, including their acceleration and deceleration) of cultural macroevolution is characterized by periods of apparent stasis interspersed by rapid change. Furthermore, when we focus on large-scale changes in cultural traits of whole groups, the most important macroevolutionary mode involves inter-polity interactions, including competition and warfare, but also cultural exchange and selective imitation; mechanisms that are key components of cultural multilevel selection (CMLS) theory.
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