Is self-actualization a biological need?

We think of self-actualization as a lofty goal, but research suggests it may just be another way of obeying our biological programming.

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  • Maslow's hierarchy of needs sets self-actualization apart from many of the "baser" needs, like needing food or belonging.
  • However, research in evolutionary psychology suggests that self-actualization may not be so different after all.
  • Instead, it may simply be another way of attaining status, ensuring that the self-actualized individual can acquire a mate and care for offspring.
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Did we evolve to see reality as it exists? No, says cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman.

Cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman hypothesizes we evolved to experience a collective delusion — not objective reality.

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  • Donald Hoffman theorizes experiencing reality is disadvantageous to evolutionary fitness.
  • His hypothesis calls for ditching the objectivity of matter and space-time and replacing them with a mathematical theory of consciousness.
  • If correct, it could help us progress such intractable questions as the mind-body problem and the conflict between general relativity and quantum mechanics.
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Quantum Darwinism, which may explain our reality, passes tests

A mind-bending physics theory may explain why we have one reality instead of many.

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  • Quantum Darwinism, a theory created by Wojciech Zurek, may explain decoherence.
  • The theory looks to reconcile quantum mechanics with classical physics.
  • Three recent studies support the theory.
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How oceanic evolution took a left turn 170 million years ago

New research reveals a major shift in what pressures life used to face.

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  • For the vast majority of the evolutionary history of ocean life, sudden changes in climate and oceanic chemistry had a huge impact on what life could flourish and what life could not.
  • But about 170 million years ago, this changed. The ocean became more stable, and things like predator-prey relationships started to dominate how life evolved.
  • The reason for this sudden change? Calcifying plankton came to dominate the oceans.
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Cockroaches are evolving to become invincible

They're hiding in your house, carrying germs, and now there's virtually no way to kill them.

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  • Not only are German cockroaches a major health concern, but they reproduce rapidly and are notoriously difficult to eradicate.
  • A new study shows that their quick reproductive cycles means that they quickly develop resistances to pesticides, to the point where pesticides alone are effectively useless.
  • The study highlights the importance of integrated pest management, such as keeping a clean house and combining different tactics to keep the critters at bay.
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