Disclaimer: This introduction goes from the basic
ideas of evolution to the theories of evolutionary psychology.
All living organisms on earth have something common: the DNA.
Life could be summed up as the replication process in which the bodies are
vehicles transporting the DNA.
The DNA has specific sequences called genes defining
the vehicle's properties.
It is then replicated from one generation to the other.
All living creatures share the same 4 components in their DNA: thymine,
adenine, cytosine, or guanine. Only the sequence changes.
Some species have sequences that resemble the sequences of other species.
Some parts of the sequences are exactly the same, at the exact same spot.
In fact because we all share the basic four components we can definitely
find species closer to one another. They have some sort of relation with
that other species because they share the same long sequences.
From those relations we can draw a tree of life.
Following this premise, we can deduce that we share a common ancestor, the
initial DNA sequence. We can trace that at some point we converged in one
Then, where does this variety come from?
The replication process doesn't happen randomly.
Because some replicators are better at surviving than others, their vehicle is more
suited to their current environment.
Consequently, there's an unbalance in the ones who can transfer their genes to
the next generation.
The longer this process goes on the more varieties start to appear.
The diaspora and schism between the genes across a population will grow.
Slight changes will slowly become totally different features.
The abilities that are making one replicator survive and reproduce, giving
offspring that will also reproduce taking in consideration the current
environment, will be favored and the opposing qualities might not.
More on stated clearly
This has been going on Earth for 4.6 Billion years, an immense
amount of time.
The code in the genes is a blueprint of the baggage and history the species
have passed through to be able to cope with the world it's living in.
Blueprints are chosen through iterations of natural selection.
They are there because the ones in the generations before survived by having
them and the ones who didn't, did not, or they did but drifted in another
Natural section is the process by which
random evolutionary changes are selected for by nature in a consisted,
orderly, non-random way.
Some features are there as vestiges. Those now unused qualities might disappear
after many generations if they somehow affect the survival and transmission of
They will have less chance of being in the next generation.
Birds have wings, Fish swim and live underwater, bears have big fur to protect
from cold, Leopards run fast, and we, the humankind, have big brains.
We have evolved very large brains.
It goes without saying that they had and still have an advantageous function
and help us cope with our environment.
It's an edge against the ones with lesser brain capabilities.
As with everything else, the brain evolved.
But what exactly?
The brain is still thought of as a sort of black box due to its inherent
We are conducting experiments to answer our questions concerning its mechanism.
One of the oldest is: Are we born as a blank slates?
With no prior knowledge of the world.
We simply have to ask: Wouldn't it give us an advantage to be born with
some bits of knowledge about our environment?
Built-in biases or predispositions to help us deal with the world faster
instead of having to re-learn and drudge through the drudgery over and over
How can we learn anything if we don't already have something to derive it from?
Wouldn't it be faster to just evoke the behavior from our evolutionary past,
take some template and apply it.
The human species is certainly having and had challenges that are recurrent;
The same set of events keep happening again and again.
It's obvious that as a survival mean the genes would evolve into having a mechanism to
cope with the world faster with a low error rate, it would give an advantage.
We can ask:
Are those remnant of the past, vestiges or do they still apply to our
If they are vestiges, are they inferring a disadvantage and will they disappear.
How stable are those built-in brain features.
You might wonder: Why is this pattern so noticeable in humans.
Are there human universals?
Indeed, some behaviors are common anywhere in the world regardless of the
people's origins and environment.
It might seem obvious to most that, for example: Men focus more on sex
than women. It is so obvious that they forget to ask why and how or which of
those patterns are truly built-in.
What are they?
This is where the field of evolutionary psychology comes into play.
It is about studying those predispositions and why they happen, their relation
with their environment, and if they are universal.
But does it imply biological determinism:
We have those biases, does that mean we are meant to do those things?
Are we determined?
This is a wider subject, out of scope but let's just mention that blueprints
are there as guides, as foundations, we are free to choose our lives to a
Everything is a mélange of environment and genes.
This doesn't mean you are doomed to do something.
You still have to take responsibility for your actions.
Blueprints are high levels specifics, the implementations differ.
The field of evolutionary psychology only studies the singular behaviors,
what if you could mix them together with the environment and together with
group dynamics: social interactions.
Let's define dynamic evolutionary psychology because it sounds like a big
To understand it let's take it apart and get familiar with the terms.
Dynamic means anything that is in movement or motion.
Evolutionary relates to the gradual adaptation to the environment, something
that has been built through time, a universal property.
Psychology is the science that deals with mental processes and behaviors.
To sum it all, it's the relation and links behind all of our mental processes
that have been built through time, universal behaviors.
That's what we're going to try to achieve.
It's not as scientific as it should be because it cannot be studied on a top
down level, and we can't apply strict mathematical rules to it, numeral
measures, other than graph theory.
It's not an exact science but it's a relevant one.
However, let's emphasize that every single behavior mentioned is backed up
by multiple scientific studies, the issue is when we mix too many
correlations together; This gets close to a conjunction fallacy.
There are many persons reluctant to accept evolutionary psychology.
It's not surprising that it's a controversial subject, it's normal that
people fear talking about the biases and the correlation between
them; and it is for political and religious reasons.
It's a misunderstanding, we tend to hear relation when in fact we meant
correlation. As we've said, those are all just blueprints. No predispositions,
Moreover, there's a lot of misunderstanding because some find the fact too
obvious. For instance there's a co-relation between fearful events and
people seeking more security to protect what they cherish.
It seems obvious and unquestionable when it's something you feel but it
doesn't mean it's a reflection of reality.
Dynamic evolutionary psychology is an important topic to discuss because those generic rules,
psychological mechanism, are built in us to face problems our ancestors had.
It means we aren't born empty.
We don't have to follow those tendencies. But without bringing them to light
we unfortunately cannot help to avoid them.
"The genes hold the gun, the environment press the trigger."
By understanding the regularities within our life we can better
interact with one another.
We have awoken to our own evolution.
We can modify our vision and change the world.
> Finding that something is adaptive or was adaptive in part of the past
doesn't give us an excuse or justification for the commission of crimes
> Diseases are natural, cancer is natural, lots of things are part of nature,
the way we are design, but we choose because of our value system, we
interfere. It doesn't mean it's natural that it's an excuse for
- David BUSS.
That is why it is important.
It's knowledge that brings us freedom.
If we wake up to those facts we won't be bumper cars going around life driven
But without opening the book of our ancestors and self-reflection it is inextricable