Title: The History of our Minds: Evidence for Co-Evolution of Cultural and Psychological Processes
Joshua Conrad Jackson, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern UniversityBooth School of Business, University of Chicago
Abstract: Biologically modern humans are more than 100,000 years old. Many scientists have devoted their lives to understanding how architecture, social structure, and language has changed over this history. Yet we know almost nothing about the history of human minds. Behavioral science research has instead focused nearly exclusively on contemporary people, and psychological theories often draw from taxonomies which assume a culturally and historically stable structure to emotion, personality, morality, and other psychological processes. In this talk, I survey new insights into how psychological processes may have changed over human history in ways that challenge these taxonomical models. Psychological change is often patterned and predictable based on cultural change, and general evolutionary principles may explain psychological changes in multiple domains. We now have the methodological and theoretical tools to build a more historically enriched science of human cognition and behavior, with a basic capacity to make foundational discoveries and an applied capacity to predict human futures.