Saturday, September 26, 2020

Evolutionary psychology: Why we think what we think?

We all human beings are streaming with a different thought, feeling and emotions. Actually why we think what we think? Does our thinking have any relationship with the evolution process? Does our thinking linked with our thinking of ancestors? This article will focus on these relevant questions.

Evolutionary psychology

It is the study of human thinking process due to the result of evolution by natural selection. What we are thinking and behaving today have its foundation on evolutionary mental process. At present, we may found the different colour of thinking, but all can be analyzed through the mind pattern of our ancestors of millions of years ago. So, it is very important to study the mind pattern and thinking process of our ancestor to know about the current thinking and behaviour.

All the species are evolved through natural selection. Natural selection is the process by which nature selects biological characteristic which is adaptive to the environment. This is Darwin's theory of evolution. From this theory, we can conclude, we human beings are also a product of natural selection. This implies our all body organs like hand, leg, brain, eye etc are selected by nature. 

Thinking pattern is linked with evolution.

How and why nature selects us?

The answer is to change and adapt. Why?Because there is pressure or problems in an environment which threatens our survival. This makes it easy to conclude that all the surviving species are adaptative to their environment in their way. All the body organs are evolved to adapt to the environment. Or to solve the problems of the environment. For example, humans were quadrantal(four-legged) like an animal in prehistoric time. We are now bipedal(two-legged) which is very helpful for tool-making to haunt by solving our survival problems. Since all thing is evolution, to aware about our present mind pattern, we have to take a closer look at the mind pattern adapted by Pleistocene hunter-gatherers ancestors.

Why to look on Pleistocene ancestors rather than others? 

Based on the adaptive strategy, human society can be divided into five types as

1. Hunting and gathering society

2. Horticultural society

3. Pastoral society

4. Agricultural society

5. Industrial society.

Hunting and gathering society is the first and long time span society of human history. This society started about 2.6 million years ago and continued till 10,000 years ago. As compared with all other societies, it is about 99% of human history. On the basis of the time span, all other societies are negligible. So, this is the reason why we should look closer to the mind pattern of hunter-gatherer ancestors. All the architecture of our mind is the design to solve the problems of that society. Our mind had patterned to adapt to the circumstances of hunting-gathering society. 

Evolutionary mind and culture

There is a universal nature of mind and all human thinking pattern is fundamentally the same. This universality exists primarily at the level of evolved psychological pattern, not at cultural behaviour. For example, the attraction between opposite sex can be found in all human beings. We do not learn this. But this characteristic of mind is expressed through cultural means.

Whenever it takes cultural form, we may think there exist no universality. It does not hold true. Cultural variability does not challenge to its universality. There is a close relationship between evolutionary psychology and culture. 

According to Levis-Strauss, culture is the product of the human mind. This implies culture is built upon the human mind. Human culture can have different forms or variability but it doesn't mean there is no evolved psychology. Culture is always aligned with our thinking process but can take its various forms. How couple marries with each other is varies from society to society but marriage is common in all society throughout the world, which is the product of evolved psychology adaptive for hunting and gathering society. If culture is against our mind, it hard to exist.


Evolutionary psychology or mind is the adaptation to the circumstance of hunting-gathering society. Since this society endures for millions of years which about 99% of human technological history, it is responsible for the architecture of the human mind. So our present thinking pattern is also structured by the mind of our ancestors in hunting and gathering society.


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