I hope its not the packaging that sells it to me. ;-)
From Merriam-Webster Online
": the study of human cognition and behavior with respect to their evolutionary origins "
"...Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations including the abilities to infer others' emotions, discern kin from non-kin, identify and prefer healthier mates, and cooperate with others"
*Note: This Wiki article is an interesting read. It's chock full of information many sources.
And from this writer's view? It is an awe-inspiring source for world-building/character-building. I reckon that for writing fantasy and science-fiction stories, it is a bottomless source of inspiration and influence. It is brimming with possibilities and variations where lifeforms are concerned.
Although it is sometimes dismissed as a curiosity, it has a very positive side. It seeks to determine things like whether an unhealthy obsession with a body image (causing bulimia or anorexia for example) is nature or nurture--and could lays the groundwork for treatment approaches. Jennifer Goehring writes more about this here Modern Standards of Beauty
Nigel Barber writes "Psychological evidence suggests that sex differences in morphology have been modified by sexual selection so as to attract mates (intersexual selection) or intimidate rivals (intrasexual selection). Women compete with each other for high quality husbands by advertising reproductive value in terms of the distribution of fat reserves and by exaggerating morphological indicators of youthfulness such as a small nose and small feet and pale, hairless skin. Men's physical appearance tends to communicate social dominance, which has the combined effects of intimidating reproductive rivals and attracting mates."
Men look for younger women--for reproduction. I know...I know... That is the last thing you think they are looking for, but EP posits that the men don't know why they prefer younger women...they just prefer them. And EP also posits that men aren't looking for a long-term mate each time they look for someone to have sex with. Because, procreating with as many females as possible to spread their DNA is the desired result. They don't have to care for the children. If they father enough children, there is a likelihood that the mothers will manage to rear some of them to a reproductive age. But, what they look for in a long term mate has been forged by EP. Good looks are often equated with good breeding and health.
And, women who are healthy --active (probably slim and muscular) are more likely to produce a child with minimal difficulty. Hmmm...and men thought that they just preferred thinner women.
Women, on the other hand look for something different. They are looking for someone who can provide for them and their children. Resources. Big, strong, healthy...he will bring home the fresh kill and defend them from threats.
A research colleague at work once told me about a study he read about EP, in which the author theorized that "playing hard to get" was EP at work--it is not all cultural or religion based. The idea that making a man wait for sex allows her to determine if he will stick around. If he does...and patiently (or not so patiently) waits, that there is a higher likelihood that he will stick around and care for her and their children.
The fear of spiders and snakes is also purported to be EP at work. Although guns kill far more people in the USA than spiders or snakes, a research poll done--showing photos of all three, elicited a dramatic difference in reaction. People showed little response to a photo of a gun. But most cringed or pulled back from a photo of a snake or spider.
Another EP tidbit from the linked Wiki post, "Sleep may have evolved to conserve energy when activity would be less fruitful or more dangerous, such as at night, especially in winter."
And this: "Since our ancestors did not encounter truly random events, we may be cognitively predisposed to incorrectly identify patterns in random sequences. "Gamblers' Fallacy" is one example of this. Gamblers may falsely believe that they have hit a "lucky streak" even when each outcome is actually random and independent of previous trials."
I could go on and on. But I won't. It is interesting. It could make for some good reading someday, when you have nothing to do (we ALL have those days, right?) Ha!