Anthony C. Lopez received a Ph.D. from Brown University in Political Science and is Assistant Professor of International Relations and Political Psychology at Washington State University. His research investigates war as the product of an evolved coalitional psychology, and examines the relationship between inter-group conflict and intra-group cooperation from an adaptationist perspective. Anthony also received training as a Research Affiliate with the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
For millennia, group boundaries have organized our identities, motivated allegiances, and inspired feats of coordination the likes of which are unparalleled in the animal kingdom.We hypothesize that psychological adaptations exist that structure the way we think about groups, and that regulate cooperative and competitive behavior in the context of specific coalitional dynamics; specifically, we argue that humans are endowed with an evolved “coalitional psychology.”
Are we stuck with war? ETVOL reviews select contributions to the Science special issue on Human Conflict.Warfare and human nature seem inextricably linked. But what do we mean by “human nature,” and what evidence would we require as proof that warfare is an indelible feature of the human condition?
If we are to understand human behavior, evolutionary theory offers the single most powerful and parsimonious framework for doing so. As editors of the politics section, we aim to provide a forum for all new research on politics, irrespective of topic or level of analysis, but unified by a common focus on applying the insights of evolution to the many puzzles of political behavior.
Just as the soldiers of the ‘Christmas Truce’ lived the experience of their psychological plasticity, modern behavioral scientists must give greater attention to the dynamic interaction of evolved mechanisms for war and peace, rather than studying each in exclusivity.
If we want to understand the beliefs and behavior of people locked in deadly conflict with each other, we first need to consider these traits in their natural context, and that means understanding war in human evolution.