In today’s episode, I spoke with Prof. David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist from UT Austin, about his latest book - When Men Behave Badly: The Hidden Roots of Sexual Deception, Harassment, and Assault.
This conversation was incredibly enlightening.
David employs an evolutionary framework to better understand the dynamics of human mating. What I love about the evolutionary approach is that it allows us to really understand the motives of our actions and why we behave the way we do. Evolutionary psychology lets us look at human emotion, cognition, and behavior through a historic lens. And so we can understand how the environments of our far past shaped us to what we are today.
And how in our modern world, certain evolved tendencies may no longer serve us and may seem maladaptive, but really, for the majority of human history, they had a very purposeful function.
So by studying human mating and sexual conflict through the evolutionary lens, we can take a hard look at the darker sides of human sexuality, from cheating and deception, to outright sexual assault, and to ask - why in the world do these behaviors exist? What was the evolutionary purpose and benefit of these behavioral tendencies? And how can understanding the evolutionary background of these drives help us overcome them and evolve past them?
David has devoted his career to understanding the full scope of human mating - and his commitment to discovering the truths at the core, even in the most dangerous and taboo of topics, is exceptional. And in my opinion, true understanding must occur before change can take place.
So now, let’s talk about what happens when men behave badly.