CEM Seminar- Bernard Crespi
Professor of evolutionary biology
Simon Fraser University
Where Darwin Meets Freud: Evolutionary Biology and Genetics of Autism, Psychosis, and the Social Brain
Mental disorders are usually conceptualized in terms of pathology and disease. I describe a new perspective, based in evolutionary biology and genetics, that the forms and risks of human psychiatric conditions have evolved. Under this rubric, such conditions represent hypo-development, or hyper-development, of human evolved adaptations and tradeoffs. I present evidence from genetics, endocrinology, neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry that autism spectrum and psychotic-affective conditions (mainly schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression) represent diametric (opposite) conditions with regard to human social and non-social cognition. This evolutionary perspective has direct implications for the study, understanding and treatment of psychiatric conditions.