Evolutionary Psychiatry

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The aims of the Section on Evolutionary Psychiatry (EP) include raising awareness of the importance of evolutionary biology to psychiatry and encouraging research into domains that can be meaningfully understood if viewed from an evolutionary perspective. These include gene-environment interactions, ecological aspects, social inter-actions and nonverbal behaviour, and the interactions between the immune system, the microbiome, and the central nervous system.


The section fosters cross-disciplinary networking with evolutionary scientists across a range of academic specialities as well as collaboration with national EP associations around the world. Our section advocates for the inclusion of evolutionary biology as a basic science into both undergraduate medical education and psychiatric training curricula around the world. The evolutionary approach seeks to extend the concept of causation to incorporate phylogenetic as well as adaptational (functional) causes of mental disorders (referred to as ultimate causes) alongside the proximate causes familiar to current mainstream psychiatry.

Section Officers



Martin Brüne

Professor of Psychiatry,
LWL University Hospital,
Head of the Division of Social Neuropsychiatry and Evolutionary Medicine
Ruhr University, Alexandrinenstr.
144791 Bochum Germany   

E-mail:  martin.bruene@lwl.org; martin.bruene@rub.de email



President & University Professor,

Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, USA

Email: wilson@westernu.edu

Daniel Wilson



Riadh Abed

Retired Consultant Psychiatrist,
Medical Member of the Mental Health Tribunals,
Ministry of Justice, UK 

E-mail: abedrt@btinternet.com

>> Please click here. to see the Section Member list.

Section News and Activities

Upcoming Free Webinar Programme for the Evolutionary Psychiatry Section (dates and times may vary slightly)

The Section of Evolutionary Psychiatry is pleased to announce their programme of free webinars which will take place bi-monthly via the Zoom platform starting November 2021. The topics covered will be of interest to all mental health professionals with an interest in the application of evolutionary thinking to the understanding of mental disorder and human psychology generally. The webinars will be delivered by eminent academics from across the world. The registration links are provided below for each webinar and early registration is advisable.


  • 'Evolutionary Perspectives on Combat Stress: A Comparison of American Veterans and Turkana Warriors' by Matt Zefferman, Assistant Professor at Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, USA on the 24th of November 2021 at 16.00 GMT  

        Registration link here.


  • 'Friendship and Social Relationships: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships' by Robin Dunbar, Emeritus Professor, Oxford University, UK on the 27th of January 2022 at 16.00 GMT

        Registration link here


  • 'The Application of Evolutionary Thinking in Clinical Settings' by Henry O’Connell, Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor, University of Limerick, Ireland on the 31st of March 2022 at 16.00 BST 

        Registration link here.


  • Why Relationships Exist: Evolutionary Foundations for Psychotherapy’ by Randolph Nesse, Professor of Life Sciences, and Former (Founding) Director, Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University, USA on the 26th of May 2022 at 16.00 BST

        Registration link here.

Image by Johannes Plenio