Perceptions and Misperceptions

Dr Thom Scott-Phillips

Monday, March 4 2013 at 7:00PM

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72a Waterloo Street

Dr Thom Scott-Phillips

What's the talk about?

Evolutionary Psychology (EP) is an approach to the study of the mind that uses (biological) evolution to guide its theorising. There is a collection of criticisms that are often levelled at EP (that it is sexist, that it is naive about evolutionary theory, that it is just a bunch of stories, and several others). Yet many of these accusations misunderstand EP, or, simply accuse it of things it does not claim. These issues are sometimes confounded by media reports of EP research, which can distort the science behind the headlines.

In this talk, Dr Thom Scott-Phillips will set out what EP does and does not claim to tell us about the human mind, and explain the similarities and differences that it shares with related approaches, such as Sociobiology, Ethology, and Human Behavioural Ecology.

Thom Scott-Phillips is a research fellow in Evolutionary Anthropology at Durham University. His research focuses on evolutionary and cognitive approaches to culture and the human mind, particularly the origins of language and communication. In 2010 he received the British Psychological Society's award for Outstanding Doctoral Research, and in 2012 the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association's New Investigator Award. He blogs (occasionally) at