Those dangerous evolutionary psychologists

Hadza_with_babiesPop-evolutionary psychology has one huge weakness staring it in the face: that everything we do today is directly related to what our ancestors experienced hundreds of thousands of years ago. Why is this a problem? Because it causes us to try to make our cultural biases into facts of nature.

One example of this, as Double X points out, is that women liking taller men. Now this seems like it should be a natural fact, right? Height is strongly correlated with nutrition and health, and hence women should prefer tall men. But if you look at actual hunter-gatherer societies (seen above), that may not be true. In fact, the cultural group looked at here showed absolutely no preference for taller or shorter men.

Of course we’re not disproving the concept that, on average, human societies will mainly contain women who prefer taller men. Human societies have social rules that can override ‘evolutionary’ adaptations and genetic group formation can occur through ecological means on timescales much faster than natural selection. It could well be that the group above are an outlier. But it should be a sign of caution to those who take these arguments too seriously.


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