The University of California, Santa Barbara has developed one of the largest and most active communities of researchers in evolutionary psychology and allied disciplines in the world. To provide support for research and comprehensive training in this area, and to facilitate multidisciplinary and multi-university collaboration, UCSB has established the Center for Evolutionary Psychology.

Evolutionary psychology is based on the recognition that the human brain consists of a large collection of functionally specialized computational devices that evolved to solve the adaptive problems regularly encountered by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Because humans share a universal evolved architecture, all ordinary individuals reliably develop a distinctively human set of preferences, motives, shared conceptual frameworks, emotion programs, content-specific reasoning procedures, and specialized interpretation systems--programs that operate beneath the surface of expressed cultural variability, and whose designs constitute a precise definition of human nature.

The goals of the Center are (1) to promote the discovery and systematic mapping of the adaptations that comprise the evolved species-typical architecture of the human mind and brain, and (2) to explore how cultural and social phenomena can be explained as the output of such newly discovered or newly mapped psychological adaptations.