Psych 141, Evolution and Human Nature: Tentative Schedule, Winter  2016

Web page:

Some Presentations:


JoshSame Sex Attraction.pptx

KatherineCoopChildRearing .ppt

KellyInfidelity and evolution.pptx 




Discussion points and questions are here.




Tuesday Jan 5 

Organizational issues, distribution of syllabus.


Thursday Jan 7

General Introduction: Who are we? Where did we come from?

Wright, Introduction


Tuesday Jan 12

Wright, Introduction and Chapters 1-2 (pages 1-54); please email me possible discussion questions by midnight on Monday, to, with Psych 141 in the subject line, and a page reference to the relevant passage where appropriate.



Thursday Jan 14

Rough Timeline of human evolution

Gender Roles: Wright, Chapter 3 (pages 55-92)

Presentation: Kayla Sheldon,  Antisocial Personality Disorder


Jan 19

Marriage: Wright, Chapters 4-6 (pages 93-154, esp. 93-107)







Jan 21

TBA (Don out of town)


Jan 26

Families and friends: Wright, Chapters 7-9 (pages 155-209)







Jan  28

Darwin and Social Status: Wright, Chapters 10-12 (pages 210-262)







Feb 2

Self-Deception: Wright, Chapters 13-14 (pages 263-310)







Feb 4

Evolutionary Ethics: Wright, Chapters 15-16 (pages 313-344)







Feb 9

Determinism and Responsibility: Wright, Chapters 17-18 (pages 345-379; concludes Wright)







Feb 11

Workman and Reader Chapter 1: Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology

Workman and Reader Chapter 2: Mechanisms of Evolutionary Change







Feb 16

Workman and Reader Chapter 3: Sexual Selection







Feb 23

Workman and Reader Chapter 4: Human Mate Choice

Workman and Reader Chapters 5 and 6 Cognitive Development in an Evolutionary Perspective






Feb 25:

Workman and Reader Chapter 7: Kin relationships as a source of altruism 

Workman and Reader Chapter 8: Reciprocity as a source of altruism







Altruism notes


March 1

Workman and Reader Chapter 9: Evolution and cognition

Workman and Reader Chapter 10: Evolution of Language







March 3

Workman and Reader Chapter 11: Evolution of Emotion

Workman and Reader Chapter 12: Evolutionary Psychiatry







March 8

Workman and Reader Chapter 13: Evolutionary Psychology and Culture







March 10

Critiques of Evolutionary Psychology;  Review

Read any 2 of the 4  critiques listed below (Kitcher; Tallis; Coyne; Malik)



In-Class Presentations: 1 or 2 daily, TBA after people sign up.



Following is a list of recommended readings by topic, which will be updated during the quarter. These are recommended (generally not required) for everyone. They are also suitable as part of the basis for a class presentation. A few readings from the set below may be selected as required reading in preparation for a particular day’s discussion; these will be announced later.


(NOTE: The links that follow mostly require a UC proxy server and ID, see Overview handout for this class)



Cognition and Language:


Ecological dominance, social competition, and coalitionary arms races: Why humans evolved extraordinary intelligence
in Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 26(2005),  pp 10-46
by Mark V. Flinn, David C. Geary, Carol V. Ward.

The Cartwright and Barrett chapters below are also recommended (I have a couple of copies):

Brain size and language: Cartwright, Evolution and Human Behavior, Chs 6,7 (pages 157-210); excerpts from Barrett et al., Chapter 7.

Evolutionary perspectives on perception and cognition: How our world view is shaped by statistics of the environment

1. Environments That Make Us Smart: Ecological Rationality

Peter M. Todd and Gerd Gigerenzer

Current Directions in Psychological Science, Volume 16, Issue 3, Page 167-171, Jun 2007

Search Journal at Publisher's Site

2. Purves D, Lotto RB, Williams SM, Nundy S, Yang Z.
 Why we see things the way we do: evidence for a wholly empirical strategy of
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2001 Mar 29;356(1407):285-97.



3. The interface theory of perception (Hoffman):

Sexual selection: attractiveness

These readings revert to the topic of August 11, but give more depth from recent research

1. Facial attractiveness

Randy Thornhill and Steven W. Gangestad

Trends in Cognitive Sciences–Vol.3,No.12,May1999,,452-460


2. Putting beauty back in the eye of the beholder
A Little, D Perrett – The Psychologist, 2002, 28-32


3. C Wedekind, T Seebeck, F Bettens, AJ Paepke

Proceedings: Biological Sciences, 1995 260(1359):245-9


4. DeBruine LM.

Trustworthy but not lust-worthy: context-specific effects of facial resemblance.

Proc Biol Sci. 2005 May 7;272(1566):919-22.


5  Sexual selection for moral virtues.

Miller, G. F. (2007).

Quarterly Review of Biology, 2000, vol 82 issue 2, 97-125.


6. The evolution of human mating: trade-offs and strategic pluralism.

Gangestad, S W and Simpson, J., Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2000 vol:23 iss:4 pg:573 -87; discussion 587--


This is a paper, intended to provoke debate among expert commentators, that suggests that sexual selection involves tradeoffs between various desiderata, with some expected strategic variation in the weights that individuals will attach to the different criteria.


Also Recommended: Miller, The Mating Mind (book summary)





Evolutionary Psychiatry (Nesse, Barrett et al Ch.9)


1. Randolph M. Nesse

Natural selection and the elusiveness of happiness

Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2004), 1333-1347



2. Andrew Shaner, Geoffrey Miller, Jim Mintza

Schizophrenia as one extreme of

a sexually selected fitness indicator

Schizophrenia Research 70 (2003) 101–109



3. The Optimum Level of Well-Being: Can People Be Too Happy? By: Oishi, Shigehiro; Diener, Ed; Lucas, Richard E.. Perspectives on Psychological Science, Nov2007, Vol. 2 Issue 4, p346-360



The Capacity for Culture


Joseph Henrich, Natalie Henrich: Culture, evolution and the puzzle of human cooperation

Cognitive Systems Research 7 (2006) 220–245



Tomasello, M. Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 1999, vol. 28:509-29

The human adaptation for culture





Some critiques of evolutionary psychology


1. Philip Kitcher, The Transformation of Human Sociobiology. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1986,

Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers. (1986), pp. 63-74.

Jstor Search


2. Raymond Tallis offers in his piece “Darwin without Darwinitis” a balanced and amusing critique of the sometimes excessive pretentions of evolutionary psychology:


3. Coyne, J. A. 2000. Of Vice and Men. (Review of the A Natural History of Rape, by

R. Thornhill and C. Palmer and a general discussion of evolutionary psychology).

The New Republic, April3, 2000, pp. 27-34.



4. Kenan Malik on the “Fallacies of evolutionary psychology”:


Also recommended:

Sharon Begley

Evolutionary Psych May Not Help Explain Our Behavior After All (Review of Adapted Minds, by David Buller)

Wall Street Journal, April29, 2005







1. Overconfidence in war games: experimental evidence on expectations, aggression, gender and testosterone. - Johnson DD



2. Intergroup atrocities in war: a neuroscientific perspective. - Taylor KE




Family conflict


1. Evolutionary social psychology and family homicide

Daly, M.  and Wilson, M.
Science 28 April1988: 519-524



2. Temrin H, BuchMayer S, Enquist M. Proc Biol Sci. 2000; vol 267, pp:943-5.   Step-parents and infanticide: new data contradict evolutionary predictions.




Sustainability: Greed vs. Foresight

1.Richard Dawkins

Sustainability doesn’t come naturally: a Darwinian Perspective on Values Download


Disease, fertility and lifespan

1. Rudi G. J. Westendorp and Thomas B. L. Kirkwood

Human longevity at the cost of reproductive success.

Nature,1998, vol 396, 743-746



2. Evolutionary Theories of Aging and Longevity

Leonid A. Gavrilov* and Natalia S. Gavrilova

TheScientificWorldJOURNAL (2002) 2, 339–356



Also recommended: Linda Partridge

Of worms, mice & men: altering rates of aging

Daedalus; Winter 2006; 135, 40-47



Also recommended:

Eric Le Bourg and Suresh I. S. Rattan

Can dietary restriction increase longevity in all species,

particularly in human beings? Introduction to a debate

among experts

Biogerontology (2006) 7: 123–125





The comparative perspective on cooperation

Alicia P. Melis, Brian Hare, Michael Tomasello

Chimpanzees Recruit the Best Collaborators

Science. 2006 Mar 3;311(5765):1297-30



Jessica C. Flack and Frans B.M. de Waal

‘Any Animal Whatever’: Darwinian Building Blocks of Morality in Monkeys and Apes

Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7, No. 1–2, 2000, pp. 1–29



Sarah F. Brosnan & Frans B. M. de Waal

Monkeys reject unequal pay

Nature, 2003,  vol 425 , 297-299