Stone Age Minds: A conversation with evolutionary psychologists Leda Cosmides and John Tooby

Based at the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby are two pioneers and leading lights in the field of evolutionary psychology. This multidisciplinary approach seeks to develop a better understanding of human nature by taking seriously the idea that our brains evolved to solve a variety of adaptive problems routinely faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

While our “stone age minds” have programs that are very good at things like detecting lies, attracting mates and avoiding predators, they are in many ways ill equipped for the kind of complex market-based society that we live in today. The lens of evolutionary psychology, for example, provides insights into why so many people in industrialized nations are overweight and sympathetic to socialist ideas.