Psychological barriers to evolutionary psychology: Ideological bias and coalitional adaptations.

SCIENTIFIC In this paper, we argue that four interlocking barriers beset psychologists seeking to develop a proper science of social psychology. The first is the ideological orientation characteristic of most social psychologists—heavily skewed on the left side of the political spectrum. The second is the adoption of a view of human nature that social psychologists believe to be most conducive to that ideology—a blank slate that is corrupted solely by the ills of bad environments. The third is a rejection of theories and findings believed to contravene that view of human nature—those coming from evolutionary approaches to human behavior. The fourth is a suite of evolved psychological adaptations that actively impede an understanding of evolutionary psychology—adaptations for social persuasion rather than truth-seeking, adaptations for prestige maintenance, and adaptations for forming and maintaining in-group coalitions and for punishing competing coalitions. We examine these scientific impediments with empirical data based on a survey of 335 established social psychologists from the premier scientific society, The Society for Experimental Social Psychology (SESP). We conclude with the irony that our evolved psychology may interfere with the scientific understanding of our evolved psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)