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For Whose Benefit? The Biological and Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation

In For Whose Benefit?: The Biological and Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation, Patrik Lindenfors an associate professor of zoological ecology at Centre for the study of Cultural Evolution, Stockholm University, poses the question of for whose benefit we cooperate with each other, and throughout the book tries to find an answer.

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The book starts with attempts at finding a definition for cooperation, and to do so, the author looks into possible types of cooperation even among molecules, cooperating in forming more s table thermodynamically binds (Chapter 1). In this fashion, Lindenfors considers cooperation as the collective functioning of some kind of units for the benefit of themselves and/or their component parts (p. 5). Using examples and anecdotes, he demonstrates the existence of cooperation at all levels,… Read the rest here.

ResearchBlogging.orgPazhoohi, F. & Arantes, J. (2018). For Whose Benefit? The Biological and Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation. Evolutionary Psychological Science :


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

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

How the brain got language: The mirror system hypothesis

Language is a unique feature of human beings. In addition to having the ability to use language, humans can conjecture about language consciously and even create realistic constructed languages from scratch. In How the brain got language, Michael A. Arbib, whose work has been influential in shaping the field of computational neuroscience, addresses the title question by exploring the multimodality of language and the Mirror System Hypothesis.

Arbib, a pioneering scientist who links computer science and neuroscience, argues in this volume that an interdisciplinary approach is needed to solve the problem of language evolution as it is “a puzzle of many pieces” (p. 4). He proposes an approach to the question of language evolution that differs from that of other linguists. He hypothesizes that language perception and production emerged from brain mechanisms that evolved to mediate practical non-communicative actions. This stands in contrast to the “speech-only” view of language evolution held by many scholars who consider the evolution from monkey vocalizations to human speech to be “purely in the vocal-auditory domain, without any role for gesture” (p. 179). He specifically argues for the importance of manual gestures for the evolution of the language-ready brain; these processes equipped early Homo Sapiens with the brain mechanisms that allow modern humans to learn languages.

Click here to read more.

Farid Pazhoohi (2014). How the brain got language: The mirror system hypothesis (review) The Canadian Journal of Linguistics / La revue canadienne de linguistique , 59 (3)

Book Review: Secret Chambers: The Insider Story of Cells and Complex Life

If Martin Brasier didn’t want to pick science as his occupation, certainly he should have chosen to be a novelist, instead! Professor Martin Brasier who is a palaeobiologist at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, in his book Secret Chambers: The Inside Story of Cells and Complex Life, takes us on a journey “to understand the complexity of the complex modern cell, and of the quest to rescue its hidden history from deep within the fossil record” (p. VI). Overall, in this book we learn about the formation and evolution of symbiosis between cells and the importance of symbiosis over the course of evolutionary history.

Read more:

Pazhoohi, F. (2014). Secret Chambers: The Insider Story of Cells and Complex Life Ethnobiology Letters, 5 DOI: 10.14237/ebl.5.2014.237

Cross-cultural variation in men’s preference for sexual dimorphism in women’s faces

Both attractiveness judgements and mate preferences vary considerably cross-culturally. We investigated whether men’s preference for femininity in women’s faces varies between 28 countries with diverse health conditions by analysing responses of 1972 heterosexual participants. Although men in all countries preferred feminized over masculinized female faces, we found substantial differences between countries in the magnitude of men’s preferences. Using an average femininity preference for each country, we found men’s facial femininity preferences correlated positively with the health of the nation, which explained 50.4% of the variation among countries. The weakest preferences for femininity were found in Nepal and strongest in Japan. As high femininity in women is associated with lower success in competition for resources and lower dominance, it is possible that in harsher environments, men prefer cues to resource holding potential over high fecundity.


Marcinkowska UM, Kozlov MV, Cai H, Contreras-Garduño J, Dixson BJ, Oana GA, Kaminski G, Li NP, Lyons MT, Onyishi IE, Prasai K, Pazhoohi F, Prokop P, Rosales Cardozo SL, Sydney N, Yong JC, & Rantala MJ (2014). Cross-cultural variation in men’s preference for sexual dimorphism in women’s faces. Biology letters, 10 (4) PMID: 24789138

Does attractiveness predict reproductive success?

Thanks to the scientific investigations, now we know physical attractiveness would boost one’s social and sexual success. Attractive females would have more chances of being hired, and having attract/sustain men with more resources. It is hypothesized that female physical attractiveness is the signal for her fertility; i.e. men prefer attractive women because they are more fertile! But, the question is that if there is any relationship between women’s attractiveness and their reproductive success or if attractive women have more progeny.

It’s been an old question – at least for the evolutionary biologists and evolutionary psychologists – if the physical attractiveness would guaranty the reproductive success. Human ethologists at the University of Vienna have investigated the question and reported that the attractive women have more biological offspring than less attractive women. The sample was women who never used hormonal contraceptives.

This paper would be published in the upcoming issue of Evolution and Human Behavior.

ResearchBlogging.orgLena S. Pflüger, Elisabeth Oberzaucher, Stanislav Katina, Iris J. Holzleitner,, & Karl Grammer (2012). Cues to fertility: perceived attractiveness and facial shape predict reproductive success Evolution & Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2012.05.005