evolutionary

Kevin Laland is Professor of Behavioural and Evolutionary Biology at the University of St Andrews. His book, Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind, won in the Academic Monograph category of the...

We have at least one thing in common – we both did a DPhil at Sussex. What brought you to Sussex?
The late great Stuart Sutherland… a brilliant psychologist, the eccentric’s eccentric and the founder of the Department of Experimental Psychology at Sussex...

Darcy and Wickham. Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. Sherlock and Moriarty. Whatever the genre – be it romance, fantasy or detective fiction – many of our favourite stories involve a sublime double act of a hero and villain, characters that inhabit our minds and linger in the...

You started out studying the social behaviour of the gelada baboon. Do you think it’s a natural step from primatology to asking questions about humans?
I think the short answer is yes – almost everybody who has worked on primates has ended up also...

Although evolution played a significant role in psychology and the social sciences during the late 19th century, the opening decades of the 20th century witnessed a profound parting of the ways. Over the ensuing decades, species differences gradually came to be superseded by...

When I tell people that I study vocal communication in chimpanzees and that I work in a psychology department I am often greeted with surprised faces. I go on to explain thatI am interested in language and trying to trace the evolutionary history of this remarkable human...

The Brain that Changes Itself:
Stories of Personal Triumph from
the Frontiers of Brain Science
Norman Doidge
Penguin; 2008; Pb £9.99

I sing the brain neuroplastic’ should perhaps be the title of this somehow very American book...

Differences in behaviour between members of different social classes in Britain are very substantial, and have failed to diminish despite decades of increase in the standard of living. Why should these differences persist, and why do they take the form that they do?
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Compared with other animals, humans are quite unusual in their altruism towards (genetic) strangers. We regularly donate money in aid of the poor, give blood to help the sick, and even risk our lives to jump after a drowning person whom we have never met. Why do we engage in...