Mismatch Definition Psychology

So what to do in case of evo­lu­tio­na­ry imba­lan­ce? We offer a num­ber of sug­ges­ti­ons. First, we should find out on a case-by-case basis to what extent our modern social and pro­fes­sio­nal lives do not fit tog­e­ther. Second, we don‘t have to live in a cave again. Nevertheless, we must reco­gni­ze that man-made psy­cho­lo­gy limits the way we struc­tu­re our lives and how we deal with new envi­ron­men­tal chal­len­ges. Third, we should design our lives in such a way that they work with our litt­le ances­tral psy­cho­lo­gy or, if that is impos­si­ble, work. The­se are the types of diver­gen­ces that descri­be the human con­di­ti­on. In our new book Mis­match: How Our Stone Age Brain Decei­ves Us Every Day (And What We Can Do About It), we use the theo­ry of mis­match to under­stand all sorts of modern society‘s ill­nes­ses, from depres­si­on to sub­s­tance abu­se, from bot­t­le fee­ding to poor paren­ting, and from toxic lea­ders­hip to work­place stress (2). The basic princip­le of incom­pa­ti­bi­li­ty theo­ry is that if we have two opti­ons, A and B, the­re is a gap if we pre­fer opti­on B, whe­re opti­on A would be bet­ter for us in the long run. Let‘s take the clas­sic examp­le of food inta­ke. Humans deve­lo­ped a pre­fe­rence for high-calo­rie foods – this pre­fe­rence hel­ped them sur­vi­ve in ances­tral envi­ron­ments whe­re food sup­plies were scar­ce. Howe­ver, in the modern world, high-calo­rie foods are abundant and easy to obtain, and so it would be bet­ter for peop­le to exer­cise restraint in what they eat and how much. Yet many of us lack self-con­trol that was not nee­ded in our ances­tral envi­ron­ment, and the result is an epi­de­mic of obe­si­ty, dia­be­tes, and heart dise­a­se. Second, much of the exis­ting rese­arch on human mating has been done on humans, who are likely to not match ances­tral environments.

This is expec­ted becau­se the vast majo­ri­ty of living peop­le live in envi­ron­ments that are signi­fi­cant­ly dif­fe­rent from the likely con­di­ti­ons of our ances­tors (Too­by and Cos­mi­des, 1990; Foley, 1995). Even peop­le who live in tra­di­tio­nal cul­tures, such as modern fora­ging or hor­ti­cul­tu­ral popu­la­ti­ons, live in con­di­ti­ons that are pro­bab­ly not sui­ta­ble for ances­tral envi­ron­ments. Chan­ges in land owners­hip, migra­ti­on pat­terns, tra­de, inte­gra­ti­on into wage mar­kets, and access to modern tech­no­lo­gies, ran­ging from shot­guns and chain­saws to birth con­trol and vac­ci­nes, com­pu­ters and the Inter­net, have all impac­ted the way peop­le live. thri­ve and sur­vi­ve in modern small-sca­le socie­ties (Mar­lo­we, 2010; Hill and Hurtado, 2017). Howe­ver, it is use­ful to test adap­ti­ve hypo­the­ses in dif­fe­rent envi­ron­ments, par­ti­cu­lar­ly tho­se that are signi­fi­cant­ly more simi­lar to likely ances­tral envi­ron­ments, par­ti­cu­lar­ly in traits such as group size and mobi­li­ty, sub­sis­tence and fer­ti­li­ty pat­terns, and the inter­de­pen­dence of clo­se rela­ti­ves for sur­vi­val (Lee and DeVo­re, 2017). Whe­ther or not a per­son has ever had child­ren and the level of paren­tal invest­ment that exis­ting child­ren nee­ded to sur­vi­ve and gain a com­pe­ti­ti­ve advan­ta­ge in their socio­cul­tu­ral con­text may have alte­red the fit­ness out­co­mes of mating decisi­ons, and mating mecha­nisms may have evol­ved to be cali­bra­ted by the pre­sence and sta­tus of exis­ting off­spring (Goe­tz, 2016). Given that wives of women have had the grea­test obli­ga­to­ry paren­tal invest­ment (Tri­vers, 1972), we should expect that paren­tal sta­tus will have a par­ti­cu­lar impact on women‘s psy­cho­lo­gy. For examp­le, mothers faced the adjus­t­ment pro­blem of having a part­ner who posed no thre­at to their exis­ting child­ren – a pro­blem that nul­li­p­arous women did not face (Daly & Wil­son, 1985). Child­ren can also indi­rect­ly influ­ence the per­cep­ti­on of mating by affec­ting the value of the par­ents‘ part­ner and espe­cial­ly the value of the fema­le part­ner. In the United Sta­tes, men report that they are less wil­ling than women to mar­ry someo­ne with a child, and in Kip­si­gi, Kenya, the groom‘s fami­lies offer a lower bridal pri­ce for women who alrea­dy have a child by ano­t­her man (Bor­ger­hoff Mul­der, 1988; Gold­schei­der and Kauf­man, 2006).

The­se com­bi­ned data sug­gest that child­ren nega­tively affect women‘s part­ner value, pro­bab­ly more than men‘s. Part­ner value is thought to influ­ence various adjus­t­ments, inclu­ding part­ner pre­fe­rence mecha­nisms and tho­se gover­ning beha­viour and rela­ti­ons­hip main­ten­an­ce (Buss & Shackel­ford, 2008; Edlund and Saga­rin, 2010; Star­ratt and Shackel­ford, 2012). The stu­dy of the­se nuan­ces in the design of mating adap­t­ati­ons requi­res sam­ples that vary in num­ber of off­spring. Moreo­ver, pri­or to con­tracep­ti­on, most of a person‘s mating care­er would have taken place when they were alrea­dy par­ents. The­re­fo­re, stu­dies on this sub­ject can cap­tu­re only nul­li­p­arous fema­les and child­less males only a nar­row part of the design of mating adap­t­ati­ons. The con­cepts of evo­lu­tio­na­ry shift are suc­cess­ful­ly app­lied in a num­ber of rese­arch are­as, inclu­ding human medi­ci­ne, health, cogni­ti­on, and beha­vi­or, to gene­ra­te new hypo­the­ses and bet­ter under­stand exis­ting out­co­mes. We assert that rese­arch on human mating will bene­fit if the evo­lu­tio­na­ry diver­gence of the humans we stu­dy and the evo­lu­tio­na­ry diver­gence of the peop­le con­duc­ting the rese­arch are expli­ci­tly addres­sed. We iden­ti­fied nine mis­match traits that are important for the stu­dy of human mating and review­ed the lite­ra­tu­re on each of the­se traits. Many of the peop­le we stu­dy are: expo­sed to social media, in tem­pora­ry rela­ti­ons­hips, mova­ble, auto­no­mous in their mating decisi­ons, nul­li­p­arous, in social­ly seg­men­ted groups, in an edu­ca­tio­nal envi­ron­ment, faced with many opti­ons and young people.