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Bridging the Body & Mind: Applying Evolutionary Theory to Women’s Health & Disease

Oct 26, 2017

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Bridging the Body & Mind: Applying Evolutionary Theory to Women’s Health & Disease
by Natalie Dinsdale, Lecturer, University of Saskatchewan and Ph.D. student, Simon Fraser University

Thursday, Oct. 26
3:00–4:00 pm
Arts 153

Long recognized are the complex interactions between personality, sexuality, mental illness, and the body. In our modern western world however, questions about physical disease are sent to the realm of medical research while questions about mental or emotional problems are directed to psychologists and psychiatrists. An evolutionary approach provides an integrative framework to study human health and disease, as processes like natural and sexual selection act upon the mind and body simultaneously. In this seminar, sex-specific factors in human evolutionary history that shape patterns of variation in personality traits and disease susceptibility will be examined. Because women experience three interpersonal reproductive contexts (sex, childbirth, and breastfeeding), their bodies and minds face unique selective pressures relative to men. These combined reproductive and social pressures appear to play important roles in shaping aspects of empathy and depression, as well as patterns of comorbidity between physiological and psychological diagnoses like endometriosis and bipolar disorder.

 

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