Evolutionary Psychology: Foundations, Questions, and Controversies

Diana Fleischman
Evolutionary Psychology examines the human mind through the lens of evolution. This short seminar series explores topics covering the basics of the field and examines, through robust group discussion and Q&A, how evolutionary psychology answers some of the most controversial and persistent questions about human nature.
This is a single-session event.
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Diana Fleischman

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Past dates

Mondays & Thursdays
Dec 7 - Dec 17
Dec 7 - Dec 17
5pm PT / 8pm ET
60 min
Mondays & Thursdays
Feb 15 - Feb 25
Feb 15 - Feb 25
3pm ET / 8pm GMT
60 min


Evolutionary psychology is a perspective on how to examine the human mind through the lens of evolution.  According to evolutionary psychology, human minds are a complex conglomerate of adaptations that evolved to solve certain recurrent problems during our evolutionary history. Evolutionary psychology is multidisciplinary, using fields like animal behavior, anthropology, biology and genetics to examine the kinds of problems the human mind evolved to solve, and the kinds of solutions it might be using to solve those problems. 


In this four-session seminar, evolutionary psychologist Diana Fleischmann will engage participants in a conversation covering her favorite topics from the field. The seminar is largely informal and will explore topics in a conversational style, largely driven by the questions and discussions of participants. For each of the four sessions, Diana has identified a theme and provides annotated pre-reading that she encourages participants to explore ahead of the session. Her four sessions will cover the following themes:

Foundations of Evolutionary Psychology

  • What are the basics of natural selection? How do evolutionary psychologists generate and test hypotheses? How do evolutionary psychologists view how the mind works? This session will be more like a lecture than the other three sessions which will include much more time for discussion.

Sex and Sex Differences

  • Why does sex exist and why are there two sexes? Why should we, from an evolutionary perspective, expect the sexes to differ psychologically? If we have time I'll cover more about sexuality including evolutionary perspectives on homosexuality.

Emotions and Health

  • Why do we have emotions? How do emotions help us survive and reproduce? How does our environment influence our emotions, like disgust and fear?


  • How and why did morality evolve? What kinds of moral psychology do we see in nonhuman animals? I'll end the seminar series with a discussion, answering any questions you have and telling you about future seminars I have planned.

Notes on participation: Participants should be over 18 and have a basic understanding of biology to get the most out of this seminar. Individuals who are strongly opposed to evolution or applying an evolutionary understanding to humans will probably not enjoy this event.

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