Krueger & Funder (K&F) presuppose that the base rate for social cognition is more rational than is indicated by research, and that a focus on cognitive errors and behavioral shortcomings is responsible for the fragmented nature of social psychology. Insight concerning both issues is forthcoming from advances in evolutionary psychology and the adaptation of dynamical systems theory to social psychology.
Atran & Norenzayan's (A&N's) target article effectively combines the insights of evolutionary biology and interdisciplinary cognitive science, neither of which alone yields sufficient explanatory power to help us fully understand the complexities of supernatural belief. Although the authors' ideas echo those of other researchers, they are perhaps the most squarely grounded in neo-Darwinian terms to date. Nevertheless, A&N overlook the possibility that the tendency to infer supernatural agents' communicative intent behind natural events served an ancestrally adaptive function.
We describe delusional disorder–jealous type (“morbid jealousy”) with the adaptationist perspective used by Darwinian psychiatrists and evolutionary psychologists to explain the relatively common existence and continued prevalence of mental disorders. We then apply the “harmful dysfunction” analysis to morbid jealousy, including a discussion of this disorder as (1) an end on a continuum of normal jealousy or (2) a discrete entity. (Published Online November 9 2006).
We suggest that morbid jealousy falls on the extreme end of a jealousy continuum. Thus, many features associated with normal jealousy will be present in individuals diagnosed with morbid jealousy. We apply Boyer & Lienard's (B&L's) prediction one (P1; target article, sect. 7.1) to morbid jealousy, suggesting that fitness-related life-cycle dimensions predict sensitivity to cues, and frequency, intensity, and content of intrusive thoughts of partner infidelity. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Analyses of between-sex differences have provided a powerful starting point for evolutionarily informed work on human sexuality. This early work set the stage for an evolutionary analysis of within-sex differences in human sexuality. A comprehensive theory of human sexual strategies must address both between-sex differences and within-sex differences in evolved psychology and manifest behavior.
According to Revonsuo, dreams are the output of a evolved “threat simulation mechanism.” The author marshals a diverse and comprehensive array of empirical and theoretical support for this hypothesis. We propose that the hypothesized threat simulation mechanism might be more domain-specific in design than the author implies. To illustrate, we discuss the possible sex-differentiated design of the hypothesized threat simulation mechanism. [Revonsuo].
Future work is needed to establish that pure short-term memory is a coherent individual difference attribute that is separable from traditional compound short-term memory measures. Psychometric support for latent pure short-term memory capacity will provide an important starting point for future fine-grained analyses of the intrinsic factors that influence individual differences in math skills.
Schmitt recognized that research is needed to identify other factors associated with sex ratio and with sociosexuality that may explain cross-cultural variation in sexual behavior. One such factor may be the risk of sperm competition. Sperm competition theory may lead us to a more complete explanation of cultural variation in sexual behavior.
Andrews et al. attempt to clarify the standards for determining whether traits are adaptations. The authors argue that tests of adaptationist hypotheses best proceed by assessing the consistency of the traits with the proposed standards. Critical tests of such standards must assess inconsistency – hypotheses must be falsifiable. To fully understand trait evolution, we must consider both adaptive and nonadaptive hypotheses.
According to Williams, human facially expressed pain, and its perception by conspecifics, is generated by evolved mechanisms. We argue that a key variable – sex (male, female) – needs to be considered for a complete theory of pain expression and perception. To illustrate, we cite findings on sex differences in pain and pain perception, and in crying and crying responsiveness.