Research topics at the Center for Evolutionary Psychology

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Scientists at the Center for Evolutionary Psychology specialize in finding new ways that an evolutionary perspective can inform research on the design of the human mind.  In so doing, we have been researching many new topics, as well as trying out new approaches to old topics.  Below we provide a partial list with links to some relevant research papers. 

Principles of evolutionary psychology

A roadmap to principles of evolutionary psychology

Reasoning and rationality

Social exchange reasoning (reciprocation, reciprocal altruism, cooperation)

Judgment under uncertainty (intuitive statistics; optimal foraging; ecological rationality; heuristics & biases)

Adaptationism, normative theories, and rationality

Emotions—What are they?

Emotion (emotions as super-ordinate programs solving the problem of mechanism coordination in a multimodular mind)

Vision and Visual Attention

Visual attention–a system specialized for monitoring animals

Vision: Faces—the case for domain-specific object recognition

Evolutionary Biology

Evolutionary Biology: Intragenomic Conflict, Pathogens & the Evolution of Sexual Recombination; Banker’s Paradox (etc)

Literature and the Arts

Art, Fiction, and Aesthetics

Close social relationships

Kin detection (as regulator of incest avoidance; altruism)

Friendship and Deep Engagement Relationships

Courtship, Mate Choice, and Human Sexuality

Varieties of Cooperation

Two-person cooperation / reciprocation / reciprocal altruism

Evolution of generosity

Cooperating in Groups:

Coalitional psychology and alliance detection

Adaptations for collective action


Memory (memory systems; specializations; personality trait database; self-knowledge, episodic memories; amnesia; memory loss )

Spatial cognition

Spatial adaptations for foraging (female advantage in location memory for plants; content effects; optimal foraging)

Tools: Cognitive foundations

Adaptations for tool use (the artifact concept and inferences about function; design stance; problem solving, dissociation between inferences about function and naming)


Personality (personality differences and universal human nature; adaptationist framework for personality science; cognitive systems specialized for encoding, storing, and retrieving knowledge of personality traits)

The links below are not live yet—hopefully I will be able to update them soon! LC

Darwinian medicine, Darwinian psychiatry


The Brain

Economics, Business, and Organizational Behavior

Hazard Management (precautionary reasoning)


Intelligence (improvisational intelligence; dedicated intelligence; decoupled reasoning (counterfactual reasoning, suppositional reasoning, metarepresentation)

Theoretical foundations of psychology and the behavioral sciences

Environments of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA; Why the past explains the present)