Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology


Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary Psychology’s Next Challenge: Solving Modern Problems Using a Mismatch Perspective

Li, N. P., Yong, J. C., & Van Vugt, M. (2020). Evolutionary psychology’s next challenge: Solving modern problems using a mismatch perspective. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences14(4), 362.(link to article)


As acceptance of evolutionary perspectives in mainstream psychology grows, it becomes increasingly pertinent to ask what evolutionary psychology can do to solve real-world problems and better our lives. Answers to this important question will more than likely require an understanding and application of the evolutionary mismatch framework. This powerful framework suggests that many of our contemporary problems—ranging from diabetes and depression to low fertility and sustainability—stem from a mismatch between our evolved psychological mechanisms, which are designed to be adaptive in ancestral contexts, and modern environments, which present novel stimuli that these mechanisms are not well suited to handle. By providing a better understanding of the functions of our evolved mechanisms and how they are incompatible with modern environments, the mismatch perspective can help with the generation of more enlightened and effective strategies to tackle modern problems than would otherwise be the case. We describe this perspective and discuss its potential efficacy and promise

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