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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Evolutionary Mismatch: Implications Far Beyond Diet and Exercise


The concept of evolutionary mismatch has been much discussed concerning diet and several other aspects of modern lifestyle. However, it applies much more broadly to include unequal distribution of resources, mistreatment of women, difficulty with long term planning (e.g., cigarette smoking, lack of retirement planning, failure to address environmental problems, etc.), sexual dysfunction and addiction, drug abuse, postural abnormalities, and many other challenges faced in the modern world. These mismatches can have a variety of proximal causes including people being faced with supernormal releasers, the modern social context being completely different than that in which we evolved, and the fact that our brain did not evolve to deal with certain situations. With an understanding of the underlying causes, some of these problems can be addressed in an effective way.

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