Stories tagged evolutionary psychology

It's Friday, so it's time for a new Science Friday video. Science Friday
Science Friday
Courtesy Science Friday
Today,
"Evolutionary psychologist Nick Neave filmed men dancing, converted the videos into dancing avatars and asked women to rate the avatars' dancing ability. The researchers found that the highly-rated male dancers had some moves in common. (Some advice: Shake that right knee.) Tracy Inman, co-director of The Ailey School, has trained thousands of dancers and responds to the findings.
May
16
2010

Bonobo: Latin name:  Pan paniscus
Bonobo: Latin name: Pan paniscusCourtesy bradypus courtesy of wikimedia.org
The famous Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology recently released a new study showing bonobos (Pan paniscus), a species of chimpanzee, communicating their disapproval by shaking their heads side-to-side as if to say NO. This may seem rather simple and uneventful, but until now, there has been no observed behavior in chimps or bonobos that indicates a negative context. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos are known to use other head gestures like bowing and shaking up and down to communicate with group members, but the side-to-side NO gesture is actually considered quite sophisticated and ingrained in human culture. This simple gesture is recognizable in most, but not all cultures.

I recently finished up a semester teaching Evolution and many of my students commented on how interesting they found our ape relative the bonobo. Many had never heard of them and were surprised at how similar they were to humans in behaviors and social structures. We frequently here about how closely related we are to the chimpanzee biologically, but culturally, the bonobo's social structure is actually more human-like than that of our chimp cousin. The bonobos have extremely egalitarian and cooperative societies with a rather unusual “loving” way of diffusing social tensions (suffice to say there is a reason why bonobos are not found in most American zoos!) This new study brings us a little closer to our ape cousins and maybe we can learn a few lessons from them in these times of conflict. Unfortunately, these gentle creatures are endangered and need our help. Check out this website for more on Bonobo Conservation.

Sep
04
2007

Why do we kiss?

Kissing science: photo credit: David Ball
Kissing science: photo credit: David Ball
George Gallup says the first kiss a couple share could make or break the relationship. Two thirds of women (59% of men) reported on occasion finding themselves attracted to someone, only to lose interest after kissing them for the first time.

"The complicated exchange of information that occurs during a kiss may inform evolved, unconscious mechanisms about instances of possible genetic incompatibility," Gallup says.

Evolutionary Psychology

Gallup surveyed 1041 students on their attitudes to kissing (Evolutionary Psychology, vol 5, p 612) pdf.

Results showed that females place more importance on kissing as a mate assessment device and as a means of initiating, maintaining, and monitoring the current status of their relationship with a long-term partner. In contrast, males place less importance on kissing, especially with short-term partners, and appear to use kissing to increase the likelihood of having sex. The results suggest that kissing may play an important role as an adaptive courtship/mating ritual.

This study addresses variables like breath odor, tongue contact, attractiveness, and kissing after sex, comparing the difference between males and females.

Souce: New Scientist Tech.