Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the Importance of Adaptation Implementation in Evolutionary Psychology

Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the Importance of Adaptation Implementation in Evolutionary Psychology

I’m not going to lie. If you follow my work at all, hopefully this isn’t a surprise – I try to stay honest – it’s a way to compensate for my deficits. Lots of folks I know – several of whom I consider good friends – report that they just can’t stand evolutionary psychology. Some seem to think it’s the devil – morally and scientifically irresponsible and reprehensible. I do my best to deal with things, but every now and then, honestly, I just shake my head. And sometimes I just have to write about it.

A few weeks ago, a really interesting discussion about the mating-relevant differences between Luke Skywalker and Han Solo emerged in my graduate course in social psychology. This was one of these moments when a thread of the fabric of American culture and the content of the course interfaced perfectly.

Luke is prototyipically non-masculine – whiny and wimpy throughout three episodes. Han is just macho. He plays it cool, doesn’t need anyone’s help, and has classic masculine good looks.

What’s attractive about Luke? What’s attractive about Han? The conversation touched on several themes relevant to evolutionary psychology – mate choice, optimal features of long-term mates, optimal features of short-term mates, morphological features of sexually attractive males, the handicap principle applied to high levels of testosterone, inbreeding depression, and so forth. It was an exciting class discussion that put a face to many of the concepts from the readings of the week.

About a week later, I had a passing conversation with a long-time academic friend – who’s, notably, not a huge fan of evolutionary psychology. Somehow, I briefly mention this great class discussion – and my friend sort of scoffs – saying something like “can’t it be just that Han Solo would be way better in bed? It’s not like I’d want to have babies with him!”

I’ve learned to not bother arguing about evolutionary psychology in certain circles – but my mind immediately went to a conversation I’d had with David Schmitt when he visited New Paltz last year (to give a talk about mating psychology on Darwin’s 200th birthday). David is, of course, a leading thinker and researcher in the field – and the only thing as substantial as the academic rigor of his work is his reasonable take on things. An expert on the nature of psychological adaptations (see Schmitt & Pilcher, 2004), David introduced me to the distinction between “adaptation implementers” and “fitness optimizers” (a conception that he attributed to his mentor David Buss, a luminary in the field).

If we think of organisms as designed by evolutionary forces to propagate their own genes (Dawkins, 1976), we can have two general ways of understanding organisms. Perhaps (a) organisms are “fitness optimizers,” designed to consciously do whatever it takes to successfully produce viable progeny. On the other hand, perhaps organisms are “adaptation implementers,” designed with a battery of specific adaptations that, on average, had the effect of increasing the reproductive success of the organism’s ancestors compared with conspecifics without said adaptations.

OK – so let’s put a face to all this. Think about pregnancy sickness, famously studied by Margie Profet (1992). If pregnancy sickness is conceptualized from a fitness-optimization perspective, then pregnant women are essentially framed as conscious of the deleterious effects of certain foods on their babies, and they make themselves sick to certain stimuli as a result. If women with pregnancy sickness are, instead, framed as “adaptations implementers,” then the fact that they tend to get sick in certain contexts (e.g., when eating certain foods that are likely to possess toxins) is the result of this psychological and physiological tendency (that we call pregnancy sickness) to have increased the fitness of ancestral women – regardless of conscious thought surrounding the reproductive benefits of pregnancy sickness.

As Dave put it to me, evolutionary psychology sees humans as “adaptation implementers” – not “fitness optimizers.”

This important construct can be applied, really, to any adaptation. Think about fear of heights – one of the most basic and culturally universal fears. On one hand, we can think of this fear in terms of “conscious fitness optimization” – with people thinking “I know that if I fall 100 feet, that’s it for me – and my entire genetic lineage – ouch!” OR we can think of expressed fear of heights as explicating “adaptation implementation.” In this way, we can think of a natural fear of heights as the product nature selecting for ancestors across generations who happened to, by chance – and likely unconsciously – fear heights. In this way, someone expressing a fear of heights is simply implementing an adaptation that, on average, across generations, gave the ancestors of people with a fear of heights a reproductive advantage over others.

This same line of reasoning makes it so that modern-day contraception is not a deal killer for evolutionary psychology. I’ve heard people argue essentially that “well if evolutionary psychology says we do everything to propagate our genes, but we use contraception and many of us CHOOSE to not have kids, doesn’t that just say that evolutionary psychology is all wrong?” No. Actually. It doesn’t. Such an argument does, however, suggest that the conscious fitness-optimization approach to evolutionary psychology is completely misguided. If we were designed to consciously maximize fitness regardless of any other factors, then maybe contraception would not be as prevalent as it is – and maybe more people would choose to have children. But, in fact, people who use contraception (and there are lots of us out there) are still products of evolution whose psychologies are filled with adaptations. Contraception users still fear heights, spiders, and snakes more than other stimuli. Contraception users still show nepotistic tendencies when considering whom to help in emergency situations. They still get angry at being cheated by others in their close social circles. Contraception users experience the basic emotions of joy, sadness, surprise, disgust, and anger – and contraception users can identify these emotional states accurately in humans from across the globe. And they still find spoiled milk totally gross. Contraception users are attracted to the same features in mates that non-contraception users are attracted to – they still prefer that a mate be kind, intelligent, witty, and attractive. And, back on task, female contraception users still find Han Solo more sexually attractive than Luke Skywalker. That is, they implement psychological adaptations – regardless of conscious efforts to reduce the likelihood of reproducing. And this is exactly what we would expect in organisms that are designed to implement a battery of fitness-increasing adaptations – as opposed to organisms with general-purpose mechanisms designed to consciously increase reproductive success regardless of environmental conditions.

Being a person who uses contraception and chooses to not have children does NOT make that individual a person whose behavior and psychology are unrelated to the evolutionary history of homo sapiens

Back to the Order of the Jedi: Think about the sexual attraction that a heterosexual woman may feel toward Han over Luke. I haven’t done a poll, but suppose we find evidence that more heterosexual women find Han sexually attractive than Luke – thus, corresponding to a non-random mate-choice situation. Is it accurate and comprehensive to just say that Han would probably be better in bed? I don’t think so! I think that such a response actually screams for a distinction between fitness optimization and adaptation implementation!

In the domain of short-term mating, there are reasons underlying why women are attracted to masculine-looking men – with muscular bodies, high shoulder-to-hip ratios, deep voices, and symmetrical faces (Shoup & Gallup, 2008). And an evolutionary perspective on why women are attracted to such Han Soloesque features does not need to presume that women want to have Han’s baby! When we think of adaptation implementation, this way of thinking, in fact, can be greatly elucidated. It’s not enough to say that a woman would rather sleep with Han than Luke, and that’s just that. Science is about addressing WHY – why would such a pattern typify short-term desires of most heterosexual women? From the adaptation implementation perspective, the answer is steeped in our past. Women with such desires in short-term mates were more likely to leave viable offspring in the future. Mating with such “cads” likely led ancestral women who utilized short-term mating strategies to bear healthy, fit, and attractive offspring who were effective at fending off parasites (Gangestad & Buss, 1993).

So, in short, my friend who made this comment about being more attracted to Han than to Luke was completely right – it doesn’t have to be about consciously wanting to have Han’s baby over Luke’s. From an adaptation-implementation perspective, the ultimate causes of differential attractiveness toward one potential mate over another need not have any bearing on consciously trying to reproduce whatsoever. Just as fear of heights can exist without one consciously thinking about how falling a long way will lead to sudden death. Even if you don’t think that, being on the edge of a cliff in the mountains is still scary! And that’s because such fears gave our ancestors survival and reproductive benefits over others. Similarly, being sexually attracted to a potential mate may not make one think about the fitness-relevant end-product (e.g., shared offspring) – it may simply put one in a state (a hot state!) that is likely to lead to increased likelihood of mating.

And to top it off, remember, Han might be more masculine, but Luke can use the force!

References

Dawkins, R. (1976). The selfish gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gangestad, S. W., and Buss, D. M. (1993). Pathogen prevalence and human mate preferences. Ethology and Sociobiology, 14, 89-96.

Profet, Margie (1992). “Pregnancy Sickness as Adaptation: A Deterrent to Maternal Ingestion of Teratogens”. The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford University Press. pp. 327–365.

Schmitt, D. P., & Pilcher, J. J. (2004). Evaluating evidence of psychological adaptation: How do we know one when we see one? Psychological Science, 15, 643-649.

Shoup, M. L. & Gallup, G. G., Jr. (2008). Men’s faces convey information about their bodies and their behavior: What you see is what you get.
Evolutionary Psychology, 6, 469-479.

Glenn Geher

About Glenn Geher

Glenn Geher is professor and chair of psychology at the State University of New York at New Paltz. In addition to teaching courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and conducting research in various areas related to evolutionary psychology, Glenn directs the campus’ EvoS program, one of the most successful, noteworthy, and vibrant features of a campus that prides itself (rightfully) on academic vibrance. In Building Darwin’s Bridges, Glenn addresses the details of New Paltz’s EvoS program as well as issues tied to the future of evolutionary studies in the rocky and often unpredictable landscape of higher education.
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8 Responses to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the Importance of Adaptation Implementation in Evolutionary Psychology

  1. Nick Armenti says:

    I do want to clarify my references to Bill Tooke and the comments on contraception and fear of heights above. I did want to acknowledge my admiration for Glenn’s insights in those areas as he did present some detailed comments about them. Sorry for that omission.

  2. Nick Armenti says:

    I’d like to participate in this interesting blog exchange of ideas. Glenn, as I shared with you recently I have an interest in the notion of conscious vs unconscious motivation especially as it relates to evolutionary change. I would like to contribute to an understanding of the functions of conscious and unconscious motivation during the developmental-evolutionary change processes.
    Reading thru your’s, Rose’s and Dr. Tooke’s blog posts, as you suggested, Glenn, I was intrigued with the references to conscious and unconscious (or nonconscious) thought/motivation during the evolutionary process and the concepts of “fitness optimization” and “adaptation implementation”. I’ll leave the Han-Luke contrasting to the avid movie goers at this point. I did take the opportunity to go back and review the Schmitt and Pilcher (2004) article from the perspective of conscious/unconscious motivation within evolution for the four evolved adaptations they use as examples i.e. pregnancy sickness, incest avoidance, men’s short term desire for sexual variety and fear of snakes. With this in mind I’ll share some reflections on each of the four areas briefly. The ideas below are certainly related to your observations and those whose comments are posted above.

    First, pregnancy sickness as a reproductively driven adaptation designed to avoid birth defects and abortions. I am reminded of S.J. Gould’s use of the phrase “biological immediacy” (1998. p 60) as a concept that elicits the idea that at times two (or perhaps more) biological functions are linked in an immediately temporal relationship. As such, humans become conscious of those closely occurring events – we make the connection between the two (or more) immediately occurring biological functions (a bit of classical and operant conditioning here). For example, pregnant women, as adaptation implementers, are conscious of the connection between the act of ingesting certain toxic plant substances and the biological experience of pregnancy sickness. Pregnancy sickness, an unpleasant outcome, then emerges as an adaptive mechanism related to the avoidance of certain toxic plants that make the mother sick- the biologically immediate and conscious connection of two biological functions within the pregnant women during her life history; it’s about a relationship. Interestingly we learn that “ritualistic clay eating” (p. 648) tends to “detoxify” the body and ultimately reduced birth defects and abortions. But, was this latter biological relationship i.e. clay consumption results in reduced birth defects, abortions- the biologically immediate, conscious connection that motivated the pregnant women to eat clay? I think not. It seems more probable that the ingestion of clay did detoxify the body and probably resulted in the more immediate and conscious biological outcome of reducing nausea, vomiting, etc and this outcome was the immediate, conscious positive reward for clay consumption (like consuming TUMS to relieve stomach acidity), therefore it was and is repeated; again it’s about a causal relationship. (A bit more operant learning – behaviorism here?). Indeed, this does need empirical support, I admit. Yet, it appears that the motivation to avoid toxic plants which then results in the ultimate avoidance of damage to fetuses is not an immediate, conscious motivation within humans (and perhaps nonhumans) but appears to be an unconscious motivation lying in the “background of awareness”. Somehow the body’s information processing system communicates through the organism’s brain – via the information gathering mechanisms of smell, taste and sight- that the organism will pay a biological price if it ingests certain toxic plant substances. (perhaps thru gene expression triggered by the interaction of the human organism with its toxic environment?). The ultimate outcome of immediate toxic plant avoidance, namely, avoidance of birth defects and aborted fetuses was and is not a facile and immediately made connection between biological events. The two events are just too much separated in time to be immediately and consciously connected by any organism at least not without some very thoughtful reflection, working memory and learning over time. So, when did humans transition from an adaptation implementer who consciously connected the immediate toxic-plant-induced pregnancy sickness to a fitness optimizer who is conscious of the ultimate reproductively relevant outcome of damage to offspring?

    Now for a consideration of Schmitt and Pilcher’s second example, incest avoidance. In the same evolutionary light as discussed in the first example above Schmitt and Pilcher show that incest avoidance evolved as an adaptation to prevent inbreeding depression (loss of fitness in offspring). The connection between these two events does not appear biologically immediate in that the prevention of inbreeding depression effects are not immediately apparent to the kin who are executing the incest avoidance behavior; the prevention of inbreeding depression via incest avoidance is not apparent as a biologically immediate connection to the actors and as such is a unconscious motivation within them. If this connection were conscious within them they would be acting as direct fitness optimizers and I don’t think that’s was likely until the advent of more recent scientific, technological and cultural learning developments. Rather, there was and is likely a more immediate/proximate and conscious causal motivation for avoiding sexual contact with kin suggested. Lieberman, Tooby and Cosmides (2003) propose a mechanism for the development of a moral emotional mechanism based on the Westermarck co-residence (before age 6 yrs) dynamic. I think there is merit to this proposal. This co-residence-enabled evolved moral emotions mechanism would present a more proximate motivational set of conditions that could contribute to the establishment of a connection between the thoughts, urges, and/or compulsion to sexually approach a kin and the immediate and conscious experience of feeling moral disgust associated with such behaviors. This aversive moral emotional experience raises the probability of immediate and conscious avoidance of incest and the ultimate and unconscious outcome of preventing inbreeding depression, the ultimate reproductive causation. The termination of the aversive moral emotion then is the immediate, conscious operant negative reward for the successful inhibition of incestuous behavior, a conscious adaptation implementer strategy. This scenario behavioral appears to be a case of proximate causes bringing about the ultimate outcomes. This is a point that Frans de Waal shared with me in a personal email clarifying his message in an article he wrote in 2002 regarding the functions of proximate and ultimate explanations as they relate to our understanding of behavior. de Waal’s words are “I meant that we need more attention to proximate processes, which are the ones that carry out the ultimate agenda” (1-4-10). De Waal doesn’t mention the function of conscious or unconscious influences on development and evolution here but it seems that proximate processes are more available to conscious awareness than ultimate ones. As such I suspect that proximate events are the more immediate drivers of current life history behavior and over generations of repetition the proximate participates in bringing about the ultimate survival and reproductive agendas thus influencing organisms at the phylogenetic level too.

    The third example of evolved adaptation that Schmitt and Pilcher discuss is the short term relationships that males pursue as they prefer variety in their sexual partnerships. While this adaptation is driven by ultimate reproductive causation, reproduction per se is not usually the proximate, conscious motivation that drives the sexual behavior of humans especially males. As Meston and Buss (2007) have shown there are at least 237 different motives for why people engage in sexual intercourse and reproduction is not the primary one. In fact it appears that most acts of sexual intercourse are engaged in with a conscious sub-motivation of avoiding offspring as an outcome through contraception f some form. Interestingly, Meston and Buss (2008) allude to unconscious motivations stating that one of the limitations of their survey study was that it likely failed to capture “motives outside of awareness” (p. 501). There is an observed disconnect between immediate sexual activity and the awareness of a reproduction outcome as de Waal points out in his newest book The Age of Empathy (2009, p. 40). He shared this notion with me in a recent email exchange about unconscious motivation during the evolutionary change process. de Waal stated that “There is no evidence that animals connect sex w/ reproduction. I use sex in my latest book (Age of Empathy) as explicit example of how proximate mechanisms can seem disconnected from ultimate causes.” (6-12-10). (de Waal also makes several passing references to unconscious motivations throughout his book). It seems that what motivates sexual behavior on an immediate and conscious level during the life history of humans is a wide array of motives with reproduction not the most frequent, immediate or conscious motivator. Reproductive processes are always ultimately in the “background”, but usually at a remote, unconscious level of awareness. Sexual behavior seems more appropriately characterized as an adaptation implementer activity of the actor who is conscious of immediate/proximate motivation(s) with the ultimate reproductive outcome as an unconscious, background motivation. Again the question arises –when during evolutionary time did humans become aware of the connection between sexual intercourse (a proximately influenced behavior) and the production of offspring (an ultimately influenced outcome)? Tooke’s presentation above of contraception users is interesting to me in this regard and I’d like to hear what he has to say in this connection.

    Now for the fourth and last example in Schmitt and Pilcher (2004) – fear of snakes. They don’t cover this adaptation in detail but it seems similar to Tooke’s discussion of the fear of heights above. The fear of snakes is an emotion elicited by the thought of or actual detection of a snake which results in the avoidance of the snake, a proximately caused set of events. Within the economics of evolution much of this behavior is in fact unconscious and “automatic” (cost-effective). However the emotion of fear is experienced within the fearful person as a conscious feeling that results in avoidance behavior. This appears to be a behavioral relationship that fits well within the adaptation implementer category as the behavior of avoiding snakes (or heights) is connected to the avoidance of immediate injury, pain and impairment of function. It is a cascading series of behaviors motivated primarily by a conscious connection between the detection of a harmful environmental entity that triggers an aversive reaction that triggers an effort to avoid the harmful external entity. This behavioral sequence can be explained as the result of proximate, conscious, motivational events that bring about the immediate avoidance of possible hurtful and painful experiences that would result from being bitten or constricted by a snake. This avoidance behavior is executed on a conscious level in attempt to avoid immediate/proximate injury. It is likely that the awareness of the possibility of the loss of ultimate survival and reproductive fitness due to death does not enter the consciousness of the victim until it is seized by the harmful snake or is falling from that high place. I don’t observe humans going about with an immediate/proximate, conscious awareness of eventual Death Terror [but see Gould’s (1991) discussion of Freud and religion pp 58-59]. I think natural selection has selected against that costly awareness and has designed humans with an adaptation to put the reality of eventual death in the unconscious background of awareness. The ultimate causal motivator of the avoidance of harm behavior is the advancement of fitness (survival/reproductive). This is not the proximate, conscious motivator for the avoidance of snakes (or heights) behavior during a person’s life time. It is however the unconscious motivator that remains dynamically in the background of consciousness and it drives both developmental change during a person’s life history (ontogeny) evolutionary change and during generations (phylogeny). As de Waal is quoted above I think we see proximate (and conscious) processes carrying out the ultimate (and unconscious) agenda in the examples that Schmitt and Pilcher provide.
    I don’t see that evolutionary psychology has attended to the conscious/unconscious motivational dichotomy in any comprehansive fashion. I have been noting (and recording) references to the unconscious mentioned in passing in the writings of many well established EP scientists. This apparent lacuna in the EP literature may be an illusion on my part as I may have missed its presence or I may be very misinformed and wrong about its reality and presumed importance or it is in fact real and has been ignored. I for one think this area of inquiry is important to a fuller understanding of both ontogeny and phylogeny. I welcome your reactions to this perspective

    Also, I made some passing references above to behaviorism’s classical and operant learning dynamics operating during primarily proximate developmental processes. I think there is a need to revisit the natural selection process in terms of behaviorism and what it has to offer in this area for EP. I had a brief but interesting discussion about behaviorism and evolution with David Wilson at the 2010 NEEPS conference in New Paltz. In that discussion David commented that as regards the marginalization of behaviorism as it relates to evolution “somebody made a wrong turn”. (I think I recall this accurately.) I was encouraged by his directness and suggest that the role of behavioral dynamics in evolution warrants a fresh examination.

    References:

    deWaal, F. 2002. Evolutionary psychology: The wheat and the chaff. Current directions in Psychological Science, 11, 187-191.

    de Waal. F. 2009. The Age of Empathy: Nature Lessons for a Kinder Society. New York: Harmony Books

    Gould. S.J. 1991. Exaptation: A critical tool for an evolutionary psychology. Journal of Social Issues, 47, 43-65.

    Lieberman, D, Tooby, J. and Cosimdes, L. 2003. Does morality have a biological basis? An empirical test of the factors governing moral sentiments related to incest. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. 270, 819-826.

    Meston and Buss, D. 2007. Why humans have sex. Archives of Sexual behavior, 36, 477-507.

    Schmitt, D.P and Pilcher, J.J. 2004. Evaluating evidence of psychological adaptation. Psychological Science, 15, 643-649.

  3. Glenn Geher Glenn Geher says:

    All – thanks for the continued thoughts here. Jay, I must say that your post led to big smiles – and your comments on Chewbacca in particular are spot-on!

    Bill, you continue to impress with your expertise on the literature – and I will definitely check this article out.

    I feel like this all led to a lightbulb (for me) regarding female mate preferences across the lifespan. Remember when bad-boy David Cook went against good-boy David Archuleta in American Idol a few years ago? (I envy you if you don’t …). My daughter Megan, who was in second grade at the time, never saw such a clear issue – like nearly 100% of elementary school girls at the time, Megan had the obvious choice pegged as David Archuleta. Likewise, my money would say that most post-menopausal grandmothers had the same preference. Sorry kids and grandmas, David Cook’s Han-Solo-like qualities prevailed. I’d be curious how pregnant women and women using oral contraceptives voted … I’m thinking there are lots of research questions here! I think I need more research assistants from Plattsburgh!

  4. Most research in this area controls for oral contraceptive use as this virtually eliminates the well-documented shift in female preferences for such things as symmetry, testosterone-mediated physical cues of masculinity, and other correlated fitness indicators. It’s not that women using oral contraceptives show increased preferences for “Luke-types”; only that they show less strong preferences for “Han-types.” All the Thornhill, Gangestad, et al. stuff suggests this, I believe.

    Here’s a recent review: http://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/abstract/S0169-5347(09)00263-8#

  5. Glenn Geher Glenn Geher says:

    Bill – thanks for the reference – very nice to have that handy. And Rose, you know, I agree with your take here – a very straightforward implication of these ideas, coupled with the mountain of ovulation research out there, is that women who take oral contraceptives should, across the board, prefer mates who signal long-term rather than short-term features. Luke over Han; Obi Wan over Anakin; Yoda over Darth Maul (watch out Glenn, you’re reaching here …), etc.! Now I’m totally interested to see what research is out there on that. I bet Bill has some ideas!

  6. Jay says:

    Glenn,
    Thanks for using Han and Luke in an evolutionary context. I always thought that perhaps George Lucas got it wrong when he required Jedi not to breed. “Jedi are supposed to be selfless” Anakin quipped as he pondered turning to the dark side to save his unborn children and mate. Was that Lucas’s way of atoning for the contradiction with evolutionary theory in the original movies? Or are the Jedi actually protecting their genetic interest with their symbiosis with the midi-chlorines?

    As for Han, his looks, physique, and deep booming voice are obvious fitness indicators, but his behaviours certainly contributed to his appeal. He represented the arrogant “cad” that displayed his fitness indicators with a swagger. Not even a rebel princess could resist his confidence and bravery. He never shied away from a fight, and his best friend could rip your arms from their sockets. Han was like the earthbound Evel Knievel that attracted women with his love for danger and excitement. Han’s initial attractiveness to women was likely due to the promise of “sexy sons” that would propogate their genes throughout the galaxy far, far away. Leia had her doubts about taming this scoundrel, but in the end she found his loyalty to his friends to be more of a “Dad” trait. Changing his strategy from “Cad” to “Dad” was what enabled Han to secure Leia as a long-term mate. (And remember, she was quite rich- which increases the status of his offspring). Luke wins as well because of his .5 relatedness to Leia. The only loser here is obviously Chewbacca, who loses his status as the first mate of the Millenium Falcon, and is probably not even allowed on the rug anymore. Hopefully Han and Chewie still get together every Monday night at the cantina to shoot darts and bounty hunters, for old times sake.
    Jay

  7. Rose Chang Rose Chang says:

    Wow, great post Glenn! I have so many thoughts running through my head now. The most clearly thought out is this: from my limited knowledge of how birth control pills work, what happens is that ovulation is inhibited. As evolutionary psychologists, we know there are a slew of changes that occur based on the normal ovulatory cycle, including but not limited to being more attracted to Han when we are ovulating than when we are not. Does this mean that women on the pill should overall be less attracted to Han and more to Luke? And is there research on this? Because women on the pill are excluded from the EP research, and with some good reasons, but as non-ovulators I think there is a wealth of info. we could be gaining from the pill users!

  8. William Tooke says:

    Glenn,

    Nice post. I believe the original source for the basic distinction you’re making here is actually Don Symons in an article in Ethology and Sociobiology entitled “Adaptiveness and Adaptation” (1990), Vol. 11, 4/5, pp. 427-444. Old-school sociobiology is frequently associated with “adaptiveness” (i.e., fitness-optimizing or maximizing) while evpsych is usually associated with the evidences for adaptations.

    Best,
    Bill

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