Public lecture by Pavel Duda
12. února 2024
- B2.12, building B at Faculty of Arts (Arna Nováka 1)
On the origin of (seemingly) maladaptive behaviors: Cultural evolution of marriage, costly rituals and sexual taboos
Evolutionary approaches to human behavior - evolutionary psychology and human behavioral ecology - seek to explain whether human behaviors originated as evolutionary adaptations and whether they are (currently) adaptive. These disciplines often struggle to explain the existence of costly or harmful behaviors or cultural norms that involve forgoing sex and reproduction, killing offspring, inflicting self-harm, and so on. Evolutionary psychology and human behavioral ecology usually "blame" these maladaptive behaviors on evolutionary lag or mismatch caused by rapid cultural evolution. This talk discusses cultural norms that regulate access to mates, sex, and reproduction, specifically genital mutilations, restrictions on premarital sex, and socially imposed monogamy. It shows that a combination of behavioral ecology and cultural-evolutionary (phylogenetic) approach can help us explain the origins and maintenance of these costly behaviors and identify their ecological causes and potential fitness benefits.