Journalist in Residence

Applied Evolutionary Psychology and the Future of Human Evolution

PI(s): Rebecca E Searles (The Huffington Post)
Start Date: 1-Apr-2013
End Date: 27-Apr-2013

At the end of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, he predicts that in the distant future a new form of psychology will come about -- one that assumes that just as the heart, lungs, and kidneys have evolved to be finely-tuned organs adapted for our survival, so too has our brain and behavior. Over 150 years later, the field of evolutionary psychology is still just beginning to make a dent in the scientific literature. Meanwhile the field struggles to be taken seriously due to the controversial nature of its conclusions, and its inherent problems with testability.

My ultimate goal for the proposed project would be to elucidate the field of evolutionary psychology and the many important applications it has for biotechnology, medicine, and even philosophy. This is in an effort to spark thoughtful discussion about the questions it raises -- What does evolutionary psychology have to say about the current path of human evolution? Is transhumanism the next step, or will it interrupt the fine-tuned evolved social mechanisms already in place? How will evolutionary psychology inform medicine and mental health? Perhaps most importantly, how does evolutionary psychology speak to what it means to be human?

With so much potential for impacting the future of our species, the field deserves much more attention than it currently receives; but to accomplish this, the public needs to gain a better understanding of the field.