Jeg foretrekker norsk tekst

Geoffrey Miller
evolutionary psychologist

Sex, Mutations, and Marketing
- The Nature and Culture of Mental Fitness Indicators

With Harald Eia

Sunday 30 August 18:30

Landmark kunstkafé, Rasmus Meyers Alle, by Lille Lungegårdsvann

Evolution happens because DNA copies itself very accurately, but not perfectly. Copying errors called mutations arise; a few are helpful but most are harmful. To minimize the number of harmful mutations in offspring, sexual reproduction and mate choice evolved.
Animals choose their sexual partners for various 'fitness indicators' - sometimes physical ornaments such as the peacock's tail; sometimes mental capacities such as human language, creativity, humor, art, and music. These traits evolved not just for survival benefits, but because prehistoric men and women both favored them as reliable signals of good genes, good brains, and good mental health.
In this talk, Miller will review the theory and evidence concerning these 'mental fitness indicators', and their connections to the evolutionary genetics of intelligence, personality traits, moral virtues, and mental disorders.
Finally, he will discuss how modern humans try unconsciously to display their fitness indicators through conspicuous consumption. The nature of human trait-display is now being shaped mainly by the culture of marketing, and the more clearly we understand this, the more leverage we have for improving society.
Geoffrey Miller is an evolutionary psychologist and professor at the University of New Mexico, USA. He has authored The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature (2001) on mate choice in humans. His main point is that sexual selection has been the driver behind the development of mental abilities such as language, humour, art, etc. In his most recent book Spent: Sex, Evolution, and the Secrets of Consumerism (2009) he shows how modern consumerism fits into this picture.

Harald Eia is just now finishing the production of a TV-show - Brainwash - which criticizes the lack of evolutionary analysis within the social sciences. Eia will discuss evolutionary psycholocy with Miller - and with the audience.

Free admission. The lecture is suitable also for non-biologists and will be held in English. Welcome!

Curious? You can find out more here:

Geoffrey Miller's web site
Read about Geoffrey Miller on
About The Mating Mind at
About Spent at
About Harald Eia's new TV-series Brainwash [In Norwegian]

Department of Biology