Evolutionary Psychology

PSYC 358

Calendar of Events


Introduction to the course


 Tuesday, Sept. 3: CLASS IS CANCELLED (UBC “Imagine” day)


[For information about “Imagine” events in Psychology, go here]


 Thursday, Sept. 5: Introduction to “Evolutionary Psychology”


Reading: Course syllabus (which you’ll find on the course website)


 Tuesday, Sept. 10: Logical principles underlying evolutionary psychology


Reading: Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (1997). Evolutionary psychology: A primer.  Center for Evolutionary Psychology; University of California, Santa Barbara.


Reading: Confer, J. C., Easton, J. A., Fleischman, D. S., Goetz, C. D., Lewis, D. G. M., Perilloux, C., & Buss, D. M. (2010). Evolutionary psychology: Controversies, questions, prospects, and limitations. American Psychologist, 65, 110–126.


Part 1: Gene’s-eye view of human cognition and behavior


 Thursday, Sept. 12: The gene’s-eye view of life


Reading: Dawkins, Chapters 1 and 2


 Tuesday, Sept. 17: Good genes


Reading: Dawkins, Chapter 3


Reading: Gangestad, S. W., Thornhill, R. & Garver-Apgar, C. E. (2005). Adaptations to ovulation: Implications for sexual and social behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 312-316.


 Thursday, Sept. 19: Adapted cognition


Reading: Dawkins, Chapter 4


Reading: Nairne, J. S., & Pandeirada, J. N. S. (2008). Adaptive memory: Remembering with a stone-age brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 239-243.


 Tuesday, Sept. 24: The social context of adapted cognition


Reading: Dawkins, Chapter 5


Reading: Dunbar, R. I. M. (2014). The social brain: Psychological underpinnings and implications for the structure of organizations. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 109–114.


 Thursday, Sept. 26: Inclusive fitness and its implications


Reading: Dawkins, Chapter 6


 Tuesday, Oct. 1:  MIDTERM EXAM 1



Part 2: Psychological adaptations pertaining to survival and sexual reproduction


 Thursday, Oct. 3: Looking back


[No new readings assigned]


 Tuesday, Oct. 8: Looking forward (Evolution and motivation)


Reading: Schaller, M., Kenrick, D.T., Neel, R., & Neuberg, S.L. (2017). Evolution and human motivation: A fundamental motives framework. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 11, e12319.


Reading: Kenrick (2016). Rate yourself on the new motivational pyramid:

A new scale of fundamental evolved motives [blog post]. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/201604/rate-yourself-the-new-motivational-pyramid


 Thursday, Oct. 10: Better safe than sorry (Error management)


Reading: Öhman, A., & Mineka, S. (2003). The malicious serpent: Snakes as a prototypical stimulus for an evolved module of fear. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 5-9.


Reading: Zebrowitz, L. A. (2017). First impressions from faces. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26, 237-242.


 Tuesday, Oct. 15: The behavioral immune system


Reading: Schaller, M., & Park, J. H. (2011). The behavioral immune system (and why it matters). Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 99-103.


 Thursday, Oct. 17: Parental (and grandparental) investment


Reading: Dawkins, Chapters 7 and 8


 Tuesday, Oct. 22: Parental investment and sex differences in sexual behavior


Reading: Dawkins, Chapter 9


Reading: Schmitt, D. P., Jonason, P. K., Byerley, G. J., Flores, S. D., Illbeck, B. E., O’Leary, K. N., & Qudrat, A. (2012). A reexamination of sex differences in sexuality: New studies reveal old truths. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 135-139.


 Thursday, Oct. 24: Mate preferences


Reading: Bjorklund, D. F. & Shackelford, T. K. (1999). Differences in parental investment contribute to important differences between men and women. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8, 86-89.


Reading: Fink, B. & Penton-Voak, I. (2002). Evolutionary psychology of facial attractiveness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 154-158.


 Tuesday, Oct. 29: Choosy women, show-off-y men


Reading: Buss, D. M. (2001). Cognitive biases and emotional wisdom in the evolution of conflict between the sexes. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 219-223.


Reading: Buss, D. M. (2017). Sexual conflict in human mating. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26, 307–313.


 Thursday, Oct. 31: Beyond sexual stereotypes (Focus on female short-term mating)


Reading: Haselton, M. G., & Gildersleeve, K. (2011). Can men detect ovulation? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 87-91.


 Tuesday, Nov. 5: MIDTERM EXAM 2



Part 3: Other challenges, other adaptations, other implications


 Thursday, Nov. 7: More kinship (Focus on kin-recognition cues)


Reading: Daly, M. & Wilson, M. I. (1996). Violence against stepchildren. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 5, 77-81.


Reading: Lieberman, D., & Smith, A. (2012). It’s all relative: Sexual aversions and moral judgments regarding sex among siblings. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 243–247.


 Tuesday, Nov. 12: More parental investment (Focus on psychological mechanisms)


Reading: Schaller, M. (2018). The parental care motivational system and why it matters (for everyone). Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27, 295-301.


 Thursday, Nov. 14: Reciprocity and cooperation


Reading: Dawkins, Chapter 10


Reading: Delton, A. W., & Robertson, T. E. (2016). How the mind makes welfare tradeoffs: Evolution, computation, and emotion. Current Opinion in Psychology, 7, 12-16.


 Tuesday, Nov. 19: Emotions and emotional expressions


Reading: McCullough, M. E., Kimeldorf, M. B. &, Cohen, A. D. (2008). An adaptation for altruism? The social causes, social effects, and social evolution of gratitude. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 281-285.


Reading: Shariff, A. F., & Tracy, J. L. (2011). What are emotion expressions for? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 395-399.


 Thursday, Nov. 21: Intergroup conflict




[No new readings assigned]


 Tuesday, Nov. 26: Evolution and culture


Reading: Dawkins, Chapter 11


Reading: Li, N. P., van Vugt, M., & Colarelli, S. M. (2018). The evolutionary mismatch hypothesis: Implications for psychological science. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27, 38-44.


 Thursday, Nov. 28: The perils and prospects of evolutionary psychology


Reading: Schmalor, A., & Heine, S. J. (2019). In genes we trust: On the consequences of genetic essentialism. In B. T. Rutjens & M. J. Brandt (Eds.), Belief systems and the perception of reality (pp. 138-152). London: Routledge.


Optional Reading: Lewis, D. G. M., Al-Shawaf, L., Conroy-Beam, D., Asao, K., & Buss, D. M. (2017). Evolutionary psychology: A how-to guide. American Psychologist, 72, 353–373.




   (Buchanan A101 and A103)