Evolutionary Psychiatry Conference Oct 22-27

Evolutionary Psychiatry Conference Oct 22-27

October 22-27, 2019
Erice, Sicily, ITALY

This will be an important meeting for all interested in evolutionary psychiatry. The setting, in an old monastery on a mountaintop in Sicily, is stunning. It is open to all. Registration and abstract submission are open now.


Martin Brüne (Ruhr Universität – Bochum, Germany)
Alfonso Troisi (Università di Roma – Tor Vergata, Italy)
Paola Palanza and Stefano Parmigiani (Università di Parma, Italy)

The overall purpose of the Workshop is to discuss the implications of ethology and evolutionary psychology for psychological and psychiatric research and practice. It will focus on a diverse array of topics, including the analysis of nonverbal behaviour, behavioural ecology, particularly in the form of life history theory, and evolutionary genetics of psychiatric disorders. The format will involve talks by international authorities who have been engaged in such research. The workshop will be highly interdisciplinary including aspects involving behavioural and social neuroscience as well as psychopharmacology and psychotherapy

Keynote: Randolph Nesse – Arizona State University, Tempe (AZ), USA . Good reasons for bad feelings: insights from the frontier of evolutionary psychiatry


Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg

Nurturing Nature: Interaction effects in neurobehavioral development

Caroline Blanchard

Of mice and men: Evolutionary, functional and translational approaches to behavioral neuroscience

Martin Brüne

One fits it all? Why psychiatry needs to entertain the whole spectrum of evolutionary theory

Marina Butovskaya

Reproductive success in traditional East-African societies: individual behavior, genes and sociocultural environment

Carlos Crivelli

The Behavioral Ecology View of Facial Displays

Marco Del Giudice

Form follows function: an evolutionary model of the structure of psychopathology

Bruce Ellis

Developmental adaptation to stress: An evolutionary perspective

Holly Ewald

Infection, immune responses, and depression

Paul Ewald

Genes, germs and schizophrenia

Pier Francesco Ferrari

Early Experiences, Brain plasticity and social-cognitive development in primates

Marinus van IJzendoorn

Consequences of deprivation and enrichment in chimpanzees, mice and rats: Lessons to be learnt for child development

Andrea Migliano

Foraging origins of human cumulative culture

Randolph Nesse

Good Reasons for bad feelings: insights from the frontier of evolutionary biology

Paola Palanza

Why Ethology matters for human psychology and psychiatry: from mice to men – and women

Stefano Parmigiani

Why Ethology matters for human psychology and psychiatry: from mice to men – and women

Davide Ponzi

Sex, Sex & Sex: Thoughts, behaviors and hormones. Which influences which?

Alfonso Troisi

An evolutionary critique of the harmful dysfunction analysis (HDA) of mental disorder

Daniel Wilson

Adapting Health Sciences Education to Evolution

EMPH gets Impact Factor of 4.4

EMPH gets Impact Factor of 4.4

Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health has just received its first Impact Factor–4.4. This places the journal 10/50 in category of Evolutionary Biology and 23/185 in category of Public, Environmental & Occupational Health.

The official journal of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, & Public Health, EMPH is published Open Access by Oxford University Press and edited by Charles Nunn. It was founded by Stephen Stearns.

The journal is the preeminent prefered place to publish articles on evolution, medicine, and public health. A selection of highly cited articles in the journal is here.

Submitted articles get prompt professional review. Author’s fees are dramatically discounted for ISEMPH members and options are available to ensure all accepted articles can be published. Each year the best article in the journal receives the $5000 Williams Prize.

To submit your article, see the journal website.

The State of Undergrad EvMed Education

The State of Undergrad EvMed Education

Grunspan, D. Z., Moeller, K. T., Nesse, R. M., & Brownell, S. E. (2019). The state of evolutionary medicine in undergraduate education. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2019(1), 82–92. https://doi.org/10.1093/emph/eoz012


Background and objectives

Undergraduate courses that include evolutionary medicine (EM) are increasingly available, but quantified data about such courses are lacking. In this article, we describe relevant course offerings by institution and department type, in conjunction with information on the backgrounds and experiences of associated instructors.Methodology


We searched course catalogs from 196 American universities to find courses that include EM, and sent a survey to 101 EM instructors to ask about their backgrounds and teaching experiences.

Research-focused universities (R1) were much more likely to offer at least one course that covers evolutionary applications to health and disease than universities that granted only bachelor’s or master’s degrees. A survey course on EM was offered in 56% of 116 R1 universities, but only 2% of the 80 non-R1 universities we searched. Most EM instructors have backgrounds in anthropology or biology; each instructor’s area of expertise provides clues as to how continued growth of EM may occur differently by discipline.

Conclusions and implications

Undergraduates are most likely to learn about EM in research-intensive universities from an anthropological or biological perspective. Responses from anthropology and biology instructors, including whom they share course materials with, highlight that courses may differ depending on the discipline in which they are taught.

Cooperation and Conflict in Human Pregnancy

Cooperation and Conflict in Human Pregnancy

A new short review by David Haig will be of interest to all who study human reproduction and pregnancy.

Haig, D. (2019). Cooperation and conflict in human pregnancy. Current Biology, 29(11), R455–R458. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.04.040

Abstract: For many humans living today, obstetric care begins early in pregnancy, and most babies are born in hospitals. These are precautionary measures. Medical complications during the brief nine months of pregnancy are such a common part of human experience that we rarely ask ourselves why gestation does not always proceed as smoothly and reliably as the lifelong beating of our heart or filtration of blood by our kidneys. The birth of a healthy child is central to reproductive fitness and must have been subject to strong natural selection. Why then should placentas be less reliable organs than hearts or kidneys? Why should maternal hearts and kidneys be more subject to catastrophic failures during pregnancy than at other times? A crucial contrast distinguishes obstetrics from cardiology and nephrology. The coordinated activities of heart and kidneys take place within an individual comprised of genetically largely identical cells, whereas pregnancy involves an interaction between genetically-distinct individuals whose cooperation is obviated by evolutionary conflicts of interest.

Can the Pregnancy Compensation Hyp. Explain Why Women Get More Autoimmune Disorders?

Can the Pregnancy Compensation Hyp. Explain Why Women Get More Autoimmune Disorders?

Natri, H., Garcia, A. R., Buetow, K. H., Trumble, B. C., & Wilson, M. A. (2019). The Pregnancy Pickle: Evolved Immune Compensation Due to Pregnancy Underlies Sex Differences in Human Diseases. Trends in Genetics, 35(7), 478–488. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tig.2019.04.008

Abstract: We hypothesize that, ancestrally, sex-specific immune modulation evolved to facilitate survival of the pregnant person in the presence of an invasive placenta and an immunologically challenging pregnancy – an idea we term the ‘pregnancy compensation hypothesis’ (PCH). Further, we propose that sex differences in immune function are mediated, at least in part, by the evolution of gene content and dosage on the sex chromosomes, and are regulated by reproductive hormones. Finally, we propose that changes in reproductive ecology in industrialized environments exacerbate these evolved sex differences, resulting in the increasing risk of autoimmune disease observed in females, and a counteracting reduction in diseases such as cancer that can be combated by heightened immune surveillance. The PCH generates a series of expectations that can be tested empirically and that may help to identify the mechanisms underlying sex differences in modern human diseases.