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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



Riadh Abed

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



Annie Swanepoel .jpeg

Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, England


Annie Swanepoel


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Henry O’Connell

Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Clinical Professor (UL), 

Triogue Community Mental Health Centre,

Bridge Street, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland

Twitter @henrypoconnell

>> 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 its forthcoming second bimonthly evolutionary webinar series starting in November 2022. Registration is free of charge by clicking on the hyperlinks.  All interested colleagues from all disciplines are welcome.


  1. Thursday 24 November 2022, 4pm GMT: Dr Paul St John-Smith (UK)  Evolutionary Models of Substance Misuse and Addictions

  2. Thursday 26 January 2023, 4pm GMT: C.A. Soper (Portugal)  What Stops Us Killing Ourselves? An Evolutionary Perspective on Suicide

  3. Thursday 25 May 2023, 4pm BST:  Nikhil Chaudhary (Cambridge, UK)  Hunter-Gatherers, Mismatch and Mental Disorder

  4. Thursday 29 June 2023, 4pm BST: Prof Martin Brune (Germany)  Human brain evolution - vulnerability to neuropsychiatric disease by design?

Recommended Reading

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Royal College of Psychiatrists

Evolutionary Psychiatry - Current Perspectives on Evolution and Mental Health

Edited by: Riadh Abed and Paul St. John Smith

Image by Johannes Plenio
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