How Men Age, a book review

Nothing would be more interesting than reading a book on men aging by the author who is an expert on comparative male life histories. Richard G. Bribiescas is a Professor of Anthropology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and has conducted research in evolutionary bk10807iology and endocrinology of human, as well as comparative studies on reproduction, growth, aging, and metabolism for many years. He is well-known for his research on male aging and reproductive senescence.

In the first chapter, Bribiescas explains what this book is all about and why Darwinian evolutionary theory is needed to gain a deeper understanding of male health, illness and aging. Additionally, he explains why it is important to consider aging across species and cross- culturally. While Bribiescas briefly explains how natural selection works, defines what he means by aging and concepts such as aging, life history theory and adaptation, he also lists the contents of the book by highlighting the points that he is going to extend in the upcoming chapters.

By implanting the seed of curiosity in the reader’s mind during the first chapter, Bribiescas begins the second chapter by explaining why aging happens from a biological perspective. … Read the rest here.
Pazhoohi, F. & Arantes, J. (2017). Book Review: How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals about Male Health and Mortality Frontiers in Psychology : 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00894

How to Live a Life with More Positive Than Negative Feelings?

Decision-making is the cognitive process of choosing a preferred option from among a set of options (Wilson and Keil 2001). Decision-making is present through every aspect of life, and making good decisions for every important occasion during lifetime is a human being’s constant endeavor (Garnham 2016). Historically, religion and philosophy have been the only domains not only acting as gateways for explaining the meaning of life (McGhee 1992) but also acting as guidelines for facilitating and directing human important decisions during lifetime.

Darwinian evolution by natural selection is regarded as another gateway capable of explaining the existence and meaning of life (Dawkins 1986). Menelaos Apostolou, Assistant Professor at the University of Nicosia, in his book, Feeling Good: An Evolutionary Perspective on Life Choices, explores human decision-making from the perspective of Darwinian evolutionary science by addressing the question of how to live a life characterized by more positive than negative feelings.

The book begins by criticizing philosophy’s inability to direct humans toward a happy life, simply because philosophy has had very little knowledge on human nature and mind. Instead, Apostolou acknowledges the work of Darwin and Wallace and the subsequent advancement in understanding human nature done by evolutionary theory. In general, in this book he argues that based on genetic makeup and environmental conditions, individuals should make decisions in their daily life that increase the chance of survival and reproduction.

In the first chapter, Apostolou briefly and in a very simple language explains the origin  and evolution of life and the fundamental evolutionary forces. Then, he summarizes ….

Read the rest here

—————————————————— Pazhoohi, F., & Arantes, J. (2016). How to Live a Life with More Positive Than Negative Feelings? A Review of Menelaos Apostolou, Feeling Good: An Evolutionary Perspective on Life Choices Evolutionary Psychological Science DOI: 10.1007/s40806-016-0069-1

Does ecology affect human behavior? Book Review

In their book The Parasite-Stress Theory of Values and Sociality, Randy Thornhill, Distinguished Professor at The University of New Mexico, and Corey L. Fincher, Assistant Professor at University of Warwick, present a new interpretation of human values and cultural behaviors, on the basis of ecological variations in parasite-stress prevalence across and within nations.


Before delineating their theory in upcoming chapters, in the second chapter Thornhill and Fincher discuss their philosophical viewpoints on scientific investigation in general, and evolutionary science in particular. First, the chapter compares philosophical and scientific methods of knowing, concerning exploration of the universe and its function. In particular, in this chapter the authors challenge philosophical aesthetics and argue that pure philosophical reasoning cannot discover causes of nature without scientific testing. The authors further argue that due to personal differences in values (biased common
sense, intuition, and emotional validation of ideas), human pure reasoning, thinking, and deduction are biased, and that aesthetic philosophy cannot empirically falsify or verify hypotheses. They also argue that all areas of science that deal with life and living beings are evolutionary in essence, and that humans are evolved animals and living beings—hence, that all studies of humans are evolutionary and biological studies. … Click here to read the rest.

Pazhoohi, F. (2016). The Parasite-Stress Theory of Values and Sociality, Infectious Disease, History and Human Values Worldwide (Book Review) Canadian Studies in Population, 43 (1-2), 155-157

Book Review: Curating Biocultural Collections

Curating Biocultural Collections: A Handbook is edited by Margaret Jan Salick, Katie  Konchar, and Mark Nesbitt, and the volume’s contributors are practicing researchers and experts in biocultural curating. The editors of this volume argue that many specimen and biocultural collections—which are repositories for plants and animals used by people, products made from them, and the information and archives about them—are often neglected, deteriorating, and inaccessible. They also argue that many institutions lack the appropriate information and equipment needed to curate and collect these pieces of information in a proper manner, if these collections do not languish in old cardboard boxes in storage rooms. Because of the variety in the form and function of biocultural specimens, the editors highlight the importance of biocultural collections and curation standards, which would lead into easier curating, cataloging, and accessing these materials. Read more here.
ResearchBlogging.orgFarid Pazhoohi (2016). Curating Biocultural Collections: A Handbook (Salick, Konchar and Nesbitt, eds.) Museum Anthropology Review, 10 (2)

Cuckoldary is rare in humans!

Human behavioral scientists argue that extra-pair copulation is adaptive in human females, as through extra-pair copulation, women can acquire good genes from other potential mates. This is suggested because it is found that women experience greater sexual attraction to particular extra-pair men, but not their own partners, during their highest peak of fertility (Gangestad & Thornhil, 2008).

However, recent genetic evidences cast doubt on such arguments and suggest that the rate of cuckoldry is very low in humans (around 1 percent). To achieve historical records on cuckoldry, scientists compare family specific Y chromosomal variation between men that based on genealogical evidence, are patrilineally related. “The surprising result of these new studies is that human extra-pair paternity rates have stayed near-constant at around 1% across several human societies over the past several hundred years” (Larmuseau et al., 2016). Greeff and Erasmus (2015) also showed that genetic analysis in Afrikaner families in South Africa shows 0.9% rate of cuckoldry and argued that given the current data on historical populations we have to conclude that, at least for Western human populations, cuckoldry rate is probably in the range of 1%”.

So what does it mean? Does the rarity of cuckoldry in human historical records mean that women do not look for potential mates with good genes, or it simply means that human men are good in mate retention and anti-cuckoldry tactics? That’s the question that should be considered now.

————————————————— Gangestad, S., & Thornhill, R. (2008). Human oestrus Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275 (1638), 991-1000 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1425

Greeff, J., & Erasmus, J. (2015). Three hundred years of low non-paternity in a human population Heredity, 115 (5), 396-404 DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2015.36

Larmuseau MH, Matthijs K, & Wenseleers T (2016). Cuckolded Fathers Rare in Human Populations. Trends in ecology & evolution, 31 (5), 327-9 PMID: 27107336

Mate Retention Tactics Decline with Age of Men

Physical attractiveness influences mate selection across cultures, and youthfulness of women is associated with their future reproductive value and fertility. Men attribute importance to youthful features in females such as large eyes, small nose, higher pitched voice, and full lips and perceive these neotenous features as attractive. More feminine women report more frequently being guarded by their partners than less feminine and less attractive women; (Mate retention or mate guarding tactics are behaviors that men and women use to reduce the likelihood of their partner’s infidelity. For example, vigilance, monopolization of mate’s time, emotional manipulation, and derogation of competitors are just to name a few).

Additionally, men undergo hormonal (i.e. testosterone) age-related changes which are associated with decreased ability to attract mates, compete with rival men, decreased sexual motivation, energy availability, and a compromised ability to acquire resources. Men over 45 years report decreased sexual desire, sexual arousal, and activity.

In their recent paper, Pazhoohi, Jahromi, and Doyle (2016) showed that as men age, mate retention tactic use declines. Considering age-dependent testosterone decrease and the association of testosterone with the intensity of mate retention, they showed that men show a lesser degree of mate retention behaviors as they age.

However, one limitation of their study has been that they have not measured testosterone, as they state “The major limitation of the current study is the lack of direct measures of testosterone from male participants. Further investigations would be appropriate to test circulating or salivary testosterone levels and their relationship to mate retention behavior performed by men and at what age.”

ResearchBlogging.orgPazhoohi, F., Jahromi, A., & Doyle, J. (2016). Mate Retention Tactics Decline with Age of Iranian Men Evolutionary Psychological Science DOI: 10.1007/s40806-016-0046-8

Book Review: The Family: A World History

Mary Jo Maynes, Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, and Ann Waltner, Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, briefly explore the notion of family across the ages in their concise book, The Family: A World History. Rather than tell the rise and fall of empires, the authors put the family at the center of their world historical story. Their main thesis in this book is that family construction is not natural, but instead is socially and historically constructed and these structures change over time in relation to social and political processes. The authors claim that the family structures affect the social, political and economical aspects of society and that in all places households have been and are the basic units of production, consumption and ritual. The authors write, “Cultural capital and religious values are also transmitted within families; families shape individual and collective predisposition and destinies. Arrangements made by and within families (such as marriage choices, or bequests of property, or decisions about educating children) contribute to social dynamism or stability, alongside and sometimes even more powerfully than economic systems, government policies, or intellectual movements” (X).

For more click here

Farid Pazhoohi (2015). Mary Jo Maynes and Ann Waltner. 2012. The Family: A World History World History Connected , 12 (1)