Evolutionary psychology and consumer behavior: A constructive critique

Joel B. Cohen, H. Russell Bernard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We examine the theoretical basis for the evolutionary narrative common to the target papers by Saad (this issue) and by Griskevicius and Kenrick (this issue) and identify areas of controversy that have sparked debate about evolutionary psychology [EP] among biologists and behavioral ecologists. The two main areas of disagreement are over (1) the role of genetic adaptations resulting from natural selection in ancient times compared to other forces leading to current behavior; and (2) the likelihood that evolution resulted in a set of highly specialized mental modules or information-processing circuits thought to be instrumental in determining present-day behavior. We review the EP research discussed by the authors of the target papers as a means of evaluating the evidence in support of the theory and of suggesting future directions of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-399
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral ecology
  • Biology and culture
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Inheritance
  • Modularity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolutionary psychology and consumer behavior: A constructive critique'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this