How I Became a Godless Gay Evolutionary Psychologist

I’ve always been deeply curious and interested in human behavior and also felt a close affinity with that evolutionary explanations.

What really encouraged me to look at human sexuality is not necessarily a discrete concrete moment in my past, but I think the fact that I’m gay. I’ve always been deeply curious and interested in human behavior and also felt a close affinity with that evolutionary explanations.


But I think that one of the more important moments in my past in terms of leading me in this course was working with chimpanzees.  When I was a graduate student, I worked at a sanctuary with orphaned infant chimpanzees and orangutans that had been separated from their mothers for different reasons. And I began seeing human beings walking around as bipedal apes, these sort of naked bipedal apes like Desmond Morris says.

It struck me much more vividly after actually having an encounter with chimpanzees.  I was a caretaker for a six-month-old infant and would change her diapers and play with her.  She was like my daughter. It struck a chord with me.  I was 19 years old, and it really led me on this particular scientific path in trying to understand humans and human behavior from an evolutionary perspective.

In Their Own Words is recorded directly from experts in Big Think's studio. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Related Articles

How schizophrenia is linked to common personality type

Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.

(shutterstock)
Mind & Brain
  • A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
  • This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
Keep reading Show less

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less