Daniel Sznycer

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Selection in species with aggressive social interactions favours the evolution of cognitive mechanisms for assessing physical formidability (fighting ability or resource-holding potential). The ability to accurately assess formidability in conspecifics has been documented in a number of non-human species, but has not been demonstrated in humans. Here, we(More)
Recent research has shown that humans, like many other animals, have a specialization for assessing fighting ability from visual cues. Because it is probable that the voice contains cues of strength and formidability that are not available visually, we predicted that selection has also equipped humans with the ability to estimate physical strength from the(More)
Evidence suggests that our foraging ancestors engaged in the small-scale equivalent of social insurance as an essential tool of survival and evolved a sophisticated psychology of social exchange (involving the social emotions of compassion and anger) to regulate mutual assistance. Here, we hypothesize that political support for modern welfare policies are(More)
People vary in how easily they feel ashamed, that is, in their shame proneness. According to the information threat theory of shame, variation in shame proneness should, in part, be regulated by features of a person's social ecology. On this view, shame is an emotion program that evolved to mitigate the likelihood or costs of reputation-damaging information(More)
Prior to, or concurrent with, the encoding of concepts into speech, the individual faces decisions about whether, what, when, how, and with whom to communicate. Compared to the existing wealth of linguistic knowledge however, we know little of the mechanisms that govern the delivery and accrual of information. Here we focus on a fundamental issue of(More)
Genetic relatedness is a fundamental determinant of social behavior across species. Over the last few decades, researchers have been investigating the proximate psychological mechanisms that enable humans to assess their genetic relatedness to others. Much of this work has focused on identifying cues that predicted relatedness in ancestral environments and(More)
Pride occurs in every known culture, appears early in development, is reliably triggered by achievements and formidability, and causes a characteristic display that is recognized everywhere. Here, we evaluate the theory that pride evolved to guide decisions relevant to pursuing actions that enhance valuation and respect for a person in the minds of others.(More)
According to the recalibrational theory of anger, anger is a computationally complex cognitive system that evolved to bargain for better treatment. Anger coordinates facial expressions, vocal changes, verbal arguments, the withholding of benefits, the deployment of aggression, and a suite of other cognitive and physiological variables in the service of(More)
We test the theory that shame evolved as a defense against being devalued by others. By hypothesis, shame is a neurocomputational program tailored by selection to orchestrate cognition, motivation, physiology, and behavior in the service of: (i) deterring the individual from making choices where the prospective costs of devaluation exceed the benefits, (ii)(More)
Why do people support economic redistribution? Hypotheses include inequity aversion, a moral sense that inequality is intrinsically unfair, and cultural explanations such as exposure to and assimilation of culturally transmitted ideologies. However, humans have been interacting with worse-off and better-off individuals over evolutionary time, and our(More)