Crawford, C. (1998). Environments and adaptations: Then and now. In C. Crawford & D. L. Krebs (Eds.), Handbook of evolutionary psychology (pp. 275-302). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. (M)

How are environments today different from those of our ancestors?

Pop densities greater; more complex social and political systems, larger group sizes, more diverse areas inhabited

Environmental mismatch theories: current environments different enough to create health (mental and physical) for humans. EX: type 2 diabetes; reproductive cancers in women.

Darwinian anthropologists vs. Evo Psych: EP’s place more emphasis on differences and more usefulness in current fitness differences between different human groups. 

Describe the two different notions of the EEA (environment of evolutionary adaptedness).

Bowlby and two notions: (1) Pleistocene h-g past, (2) stat composite of evo pressures on any given adaptation. Also Irons idea of ARE (adaptively relevant environment)

Adaptation: structure that enhances fitness or enhanced fitness of an ancestral organism

What is meant by an adaptive compromise? Give an example. (Fever)

Adaptations as (1) adaptive compromises, (b) decision processes sensitive to environmental conditions ex: male scorpion fly mating strategies – high mate comp=forced copulations; low comp= gifts; human males and females; high promiscuity=short term; low=long term

Adaptations involve genetics (innate adaptations); mental and anatomical structures that emerge from interaction of genetics with environment (operational adaptations);

Environment involves both immediate and developmental.

In what ways is the mind not tabula rasa?

How might the EEAs be different for attraction to such qualities as fluctuating asymmetry (FA) vs. waist to hip ratio (WHR)?

Classification of behavioral functionality and environments:

True pathologies: always detrimental to fitness – genetic disorders, cultural or resource deprivation

Pseudopathologies: detrimental in current environment but not in EEA: sugar/fat craving; violent jealousy; sex for resources trading; etc.

Quasi-normal behaviors: detrimental in EEA, but not now – recreational sex; adoption; delayed child bearing, etc.

Adaptive culturally variable: functional, often adaptive then and now – division of labor; language acquisition; gift giving; marriage, etc.


In what ways might the modern environment be similar to the human ancestral environment? In what ways might it be different?

Modern Environment and EEA: Do they differ?

No: if they did humans would not be so successful now; note commonalities between work social environment and h-g social environment. Big diff is kinship, how important?

How is this so: most of the important adaptations that humans possess (learning language; courtship strategies; digestive system) are not designed as specific strategies for dealing with particular inputs and producing specific outputs, but they are more general decision rules for dealing with general classes of environmental information. Language is not an adaptation to learning English, but a set of decision rules for functioning with symbolic information.

What is ancestralization? What factors can cause it?

ancestralization. Formally speaking ancestralization refers to our natural tendency to revert to an evolutionary older form of behavior when the environmental, social, or cultural conditions suppressing that behavior are eased
Ex: increase polygyny in human pair bonding

There are a number of factors that can lead to ancestralization. The decline of monogamy highlights one:
the weakening of religious and/or cultural restraining forces.
A third factor is the breakdown of powerful social and political forces.
Finally, ancestralization can arise not just when once-powerful political forces crumble, but also when they are absent, or in early formative stages and therefore unreliable as social influences. Ex: rise of "honor" systems for social regulation   


Describe the 4 factors that determine if current environments differ significantly from ancestral environments.

1.      Direct comparisons: archeological evidence about climate, diet, life-span, etc.

2.      Organismic stress and malfunction: maladapted organisms are likely going extinct

3.      Rarity in enthnographic record suggest rare selective conditions: Polyandry is rare, thus the conditions that lead to it were probably not a part of our ancestral world

4.      Disturbed reproductive functioning: conditions that severely and negatively affect fitness were probably not a part of the ancestral world.