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Evolutionary Mismatch: Why Progress is Making Life More Difficult?

  • 2019.12.06
  • Event
Living standards in modern societies are at historically unprecedented high levels and people are living longer, safer, and freer lives than ever. Yet, ironically, modern people seem to be experiencing more psychological issues than ever before: increased chronic stress, anxiety, and depression; more dissatisfaction with self and romantic partners; greater proneness to divorce; and greater stress and burnout in the workplace. Problems also abound at the organizational and societal levels. Here, an evolutionary mismatch perspective is introduced as a framework through which to view and examine modern problems. Human psychology consists of mechanisms that evolved to process environmental inputs, turning them into behavioral outputs that, on average, increase survival or reproductive prospects. Modern contexts, however, differ vastly from the environment that existed as human psychological mechanisms evolved, thereby leading many mechanisms to produce maladaptive output. In this talk, the evolutionary mismatch process is described, areas of mismatch are highlighted, and implications for psychological science and policy are considered.

Topic:Evolutionary Mismatch: Why Progress is Making Life More Difficult?

Date:December 6th, 2019, Friday

Time: 14:30-15:30

Venue: Room 555, Teaching B

Speaker: Prof. Norman Li

About the Speaker:

Norman Li is Associate Professor of Psychology in the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University. Previously he was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a BA in economics from Northwestern University, an MBA in finance from the University of Michigan, and an MA and PhD in social psychology from Arizona State University. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Li was an investment consultant and taught economics and finance. In Singapore, he was awarded both a Lee Kuan Yew Fellowship and Lee Kong Chian Fellowship for Research Excellence.

Dr. Li adopts a multidisciplinary approach to the study of human behavior, integrating economic concepts and tools, evolutionary theory, and social psychological experimental methodology. His research focuses on mate selection and close relationships, and on problems at the individual, organizational, and societal level caused by the “mismatch” between evolved psychological mechanisms and modern living, social, and work environments. He has published nearly 100 journal articles and book chapters in top academic outlets including Psychological Review, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Biology Letters, and Current Directions in Psychological Science. Dr. Li was previously Associate Editor at Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and currently serves on six editorial boards.