Collective violence, extending from riots to warfare, presents a challenge to our ordinary understanding of free will. Actions that would rarely be taken by an individual on their own seem to be embraced when supported by a larger group. This can occur in societies ranging from the communist regime of Soviet Russia to the capitalist free market of modern day England. Given this commonality, perhaps the collective violence of a riot can be best understood as a biological event in which evolved cognitive responses encounter a unique environmental threat. And if that is the case, do individuals caught up in such incidents have any choice in the matter?
Freedom to Riot
: an evolutionary perspective on collective violence.
posted by Rumple
on Sep 6, 2011 -
Back in the late Pleistocene epoch 100,000 years ago, the 2000 book contended, men who carried rape genes had a reproductive and evolutionary edge over men who did not: they sired children not only with willing mates, but also with unwilling ones, allowing them to leave more offspring (also carrying rape genes) who were similarly more likely to survive and reproduce, unto the nth generation. That would be us. And that is why we carry rape genes today. The family trees of prehistoric men lacking rape genes petered out.
Newsweek's Sharon Begley examines evolutionary psychology and some of its most controversial theories (and how they are being rethought) in Don't Blame The Caveman.
posted by hippybear
on Jun 25, 2009 -
Having sweated over the origins of the universe and split the atom, academics have finally tackled the question that has perplexed mankind since the dawn of time: what are the best chat-up lines?
A study from psychologists at the University of Edinburgh
tested 205 people for reactions to 40 vignettes of a woman approached by a man using "verbal signals of genetic quality" in different categories
, and found the best rated approaches to be those revealing character qualities, wealth and culture, although the puzzling winning line proved a flop in real life tests. Unsurprisingly, a direct request for sex received a low score. Previous findings by the Japanese proved equally dubious
. But there's still hope, as the code seems to have been cracked in Dublin, where since last year "there is definitely more pulling"
. The secret? A smoking ban, a lot of crowded pubs, and "smirting"
, an unexpected side effect of the health measure.
posted by funambulist
on Nov 6, 2005 -
How often does the average person lie? First, it's important to point out that lying is normal, and more often spontaneous and unconscious than cynical and coldly analytical. Our minds and bodies secrete deceit. That said, Robert Feldman, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts, suggests that there are three lies for every ten minutes of conversation. I think that's plausible. And bear in mind that his research measured only the frequency of narrow, explicit, verbal lying. The real rate of deception, which includes our movements and expressions, must be considerably higher.
- David Livingstone Smith, author of Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception and the Unconscious Mind
, is a liar. And he explains why you are too. ( More Inside
posted by y2karl
on Nov 18, 2004 -