Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behavior
Keywords:evolutionary psychology, human behavioral ecology, behavioral immune system, sickness behavior, cooperation, altruism, aggression, violence, mate selection, parenting
Evolutionary perspectives on human behavior (EPB) is a broad interdisciplinary field that applies the principles of evolution by natural selection to the study of human behavior. EPB researchers argue that many human behaviors, including aggression, altruism, mate selection, and parenting, can be understood as adaptations that evolved to help our ancestors survive and reproduce in their environment. One of the key concepts in EPB is the behavioral immune system (BIS). The BIS is a set of cognitive and behavioral mechanisms that help us to avoid and defend against infectious diseases. For example, the BIS may motivate us to avoid contact with people who are sick, to wash our hands frequently, and to avoid eating contaminated food. Another key concept in EPB is sickness behavior. Sickness behavior is a suite of physiological and behavioral changes that occur when we are sick. These changes, such as fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite, are thought to help us to conserve energy and to fight off infection. EPB is a rapidly growing field of research, and new insights are being made all the time. EPB has the potential to help us to better understand a wide range of human behaviors, and to develop more effective interventions for addressing social problems.