Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature

Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature

by Geoffrey Miller
     
 

ISBN-10: 0099288249

ISBN-13: 9780099288244

Pub. Date: 05/28/2001

Publisher: Vintage/Ebury (a Division of Random

Many aspects of how and why the human mind evolved remain mysterious. While Darwinian natural selection has successfully explained the evolution of much of life on earth, it has never seemed fully adequate to explain the aspects of our minds that seem most uniquely and profoundly human—art, morality, consciousness, creativity, and language. Nor has natural

Overview

Many aspects of how and why the human mind evolved remain mysterious. While Darwinian natural selection has successfully explained the evolution of much of life on earth, it has never seemed fully adequate to explain the aspects of our minds that seem most uniquely and profoundly human—art, morality, consciousness, creativity, and language. Nor has natural selection offered solutions to how the human brain evolved so quickly—in less than 2 million years—and why such a large brain remains unique to our species.

Now, in The Mating Mind, a pioneering work of evolutionary science, these aspects of human nature are at last explored and explained. Until fairly recently most biologists have ignored or rejected Darwin's claims for his other great theory of evolution—sexual selection through mate choice, which favors traits simply because they prove attractive to the opposite sex. But over the last two decades, biologists have taken up Darwin's insights into how the reproduction of the sexiest is as much a focus of evolution as the survival of the fittest.

In this brilliantly ambitious and provocative book, evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller shows the evolutionary power of sexual choice and the reasons why our ancestors became attracted not only to pretty faces and healthy bodies, but to minds that were witty, articulate, generous, and conscious. The richness and subtlety of modern psychology help to reveal how the human mind evolved, like the peacock's tail and the elk's antlers, for courtship and mating.

Drawing on new ideas from evolutionary biology, economics, and psychology, Miller illuminates his arguments with examples rangingfrom natural history to popular culture, from the art of New Guinea's bowerbirds to the sexual charisma of South Park's school chef. Along the way, he provides fascinating insights into the inarticulacy of teenage boys, the diversity of ancient Greek coins, the reasons why Scrooge was single, the difficulties of engaging with modern art, and the function of sumo wrestling.

Witty, powerfully argued, and continually thought-provoking, Miller's cascade of ideas bears comparison with such pivotal books as Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene and Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct. It is a landmark in our understanding of our own species.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780099288244
Publisher:
Vintage/Ebury (a Division of Random
Publication date:
05/28/2001

Table of Contents

1Central Park1
2Darwin's Prodigy33
3The Runaway Brain68
4A Mind Fit for Mating99
5Ornamental Genius138
6Courtship in the Pleistocene177
7Bodies of Evidence224
8Arts of Seduction258
9Virtues of Good Breeding292
10Cyrano and Scheherazade341
11The Wit to Woo392
Epilogue426
Acknowledgments434
Glossary436
Notes447
Bibliography467
Index491

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >