What Can Evolution Teach Us About Ourselves?
By BIG THINK EDITORS - BIG THINK
Added: Wed, 05 Jan 2011 03:29:50 UTC
Thanks to KimZ for the link
As evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa explains during his Big Think interview, many of humankind's most important psychological traits stopped evolving over 10,000 years ago. Today, many of our unconscious biases and behaviors can be understood as remnant artifacts of our natural hunter-gather mindset. Big Think's latest series, What Evolution Can Teach Us About Ourselves, is collection of video features that reveal the many ways that these age-old characteristics influence our everyday lives.
Yale University psychologist Dr. Laurie Santos studies Capuchin monkeys to understand the most basic elements of human cognition and survival. In her Big Think interview, Santos explains how her research has proven the age-old saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Like humans, social groups among monkeys provide a pecking-order which largely determines their success in securing food and finding a mate. Santos also explains how monkey “economics” suggest that the type of greedy, loss-averse human behavior — perhaps best exemplified by the mortgage meltdown of 2008 — may have deep evolutionary origins.
From poetry and ballet to mathematics and being clever, life is laden with frivolous pursuits that hold no obvious bearing on our ability to survive, says evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Yet, if it weren’t for the possession of the type of brain that incidentally allows us to perform these types of these impractical activities, we may not be here today. ...
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