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Whatta headline! Early man was “total mean girl”

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William von Hippel, an evolutionary psychologist promoting a book, explains how we got here:

Social connection and its middle-school messiness assured our survival — more than harnessing fire or developing opposable thumbs. Von Hippel writes that a series of “social leaps” — or movements forward in the way we connect with our fellow man — made our brains bigger, our connections stronger and our long-term survival certain.

We learn about the importance of bitchiness and gossip.

Our ability to lie and deceive also evolved.

Though many members of the animal kingdom use deception, outright lying requires Theory of Mind, as one needs to comprehend what someone is thinking in order to manipulate them. Evolutionary scientists say this is a distinctly human behavior. Chimps, by contrast, may understand “the goals, intentions, perceptions and internal knowledge states of other individuals,” but are unable “to internalize situations in which other individuals have false beliefs,” writes David Barash in his 2012 book “Homo Mysterious.”

But the emergence of self-deception was the ultimate “social weapon,” von Hippel writes. Susannah Cahalan, “Ancient man survived by being a total mean girl” at New York Post

This is presumably the beauty salon’s addition to the multiplicity of theories around how human intelligence came to exist (provided, of course, you think it does exist and that intelligence tests are not necessarily just plain unfair to apes).

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See also: Brain hacks: The amazing list of reasons why human brains became so complex

Do big brains matter to human intelligence?

Reconciling mind with materialism twenty-five years on

The brain is not a meat computer (Michael Egnor)


Is human evolution happening faster than ever? Killer quote: “Realising evolution doesn’t only happen by natural selection makes it clear the process isn’t likely to ever stop.” If humans evolve to meet the demands of our environment, as the prof says, how will that affect the a-crock-a-lypse market in assorted doomsdays? (And, for that matter, assorted explanations?)


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