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Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (IEM)

Evolution and mental health

Summary of Research

We are testing evolutionary explanations for common mental “disorders” such as autism or psychosis, and are developing better empirical and theoretical frameworks for analyzing mental health from an evolutionary perspective. We do this by collecting quantitative data on e.g. autistic traits among the Tsimane’ and relating these to fitness outcomes, which gives us a better understanding of how these traits might have manifested in the past and how selection acted on them. We also develop frameworks for systematically reviewing and interpreting the empirical evidence pertinent to evolutionary explanations of mental disorders. 

Selected Published Articles