Randolph M. Nesse, MD

See you at ISEMPH2024 August 5-10, Durham, UK

Fields: Evolutionary medicine and evolutionary psychiatry
Goal: To understand why natural selection left us us vulnerable to disease
New book on evolutionary psychiatry      Order a copy
New article on evolutionary psychiatry

Research Professor of Life Sciences, and Founding Director (2014-2019), The Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University; Professor Emeritus, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, and Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan; Founding President, The International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health

What is evolutionary medicine?           Darwinian medicine IS Evolutionary medicine. 
Core Principles for Evolutionary Medicine, 2019
Why do mental disorders persist? Book chapter, 2022
**Evolutionary psychiatry: foundations, progress and challenges, World Psychiatry, 2023**
How to frame and test evolutionary hypotheses about a disease      2 p. version
Tacit Creationism   Evolutionary psychiatry  
Diseases do not have direct evolutionary explanations. They are not adaptations shaped by natural selection. However, traits that make a species vulnerable to disease need evolutionary explanations, and several may be needed. 

New Resources 

Foreward to Cancer through the Lens of Evolution and Ecology,  Somarelli & Johnson (Eds.), 2024  (more on cancer here)

Four short-form videos from the Great Minds series produced by the Korean Educational Broadcasting Service in 2023 

Evolutionary Psychiatry, a video with slides followed by discussion with the UK Darwin Club, 2023.

Tacit creationism in emotion research, ClubEvMed, 2020

Evolutionary Psychiatry, chapter in Tasman's Psychiatry, Nesse and Stein, 2023. 

Why aging exists at all, video of a 1 hour lecture for the Arizona Senior Academy, 2024 (audio comes in at 1:45). 

Evolutionary Explanations for Mental Illness and Human Suffering, podcast for KTAL Radio's Delving In, with Stuart Kelter, 2024. 

Six short video talks on evolutionary psychiatry produced by TheGreatMinds.com. The 10 minute introduction to natural selection is open access. 

Why evolution left us so vulnerable to depression and anxiety, two hours of audio on the 80,000 hours podcast, with Robert Wiblin, 2024.  Video version also now available 

Depression & the Art of Giving Up, podcast from the Ottawa Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Owen Kelly, 2024.

The body is not a machine, an update of a 2016 essay that is even more relevant now. 

Is anxiety inherited?  Happy Habit podcast # 362 with Mathieu Norry, 2023.

Emotional evolution: A Darwinian understanding of suffering and well-being. Edited interview with Daniella Sieff, 2015.

The EvMed Assessment, Misheva, T., Nesse, R. M., Grunspan, D. Z., & Brownell, S. E., Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 11(1), 353–362. (2023).

The future of evolutionary medicine, keynote for a 90 minute 2023 Frontiers Forum with 6 speakers.  

Selfish Genes & Good Reasons For Bad Feelings, video podcast on The Mind-Body Solution with Tevin Naidu, 2023 

Emotional Disorders, a 2023 audio podcast on "The Thinking Mind" with psychiatrist Alex Curmi.

Stoicism, religion, morality, anxiety and depression, a 2023 audio podcast on Stoa, with Caleb Ontiverso  

Evolutionary medicine, a 2023 slide talk overview of the 50+ Henry Stewart Talks series on evolutionary medicine 

Can Evolution Explain Human Emotions?  2023 Modern Wisdom Podcast 542 with Chris Williamson

Talks on Evolutionary Medicine at University of Milano-Bicocca, June 2023 (my talk starts at 15:30)

The Saad Truth vIdeo podcast 2023

Evolutionary Psychiatry: A lecture with slides and audio for the Henry Stuart Talks series of 51 presentations on evolutionary medicine

Why depression exists: Panel discussion on Television Ontario, The Agenda, with Steve Palin, 2023

Evolutionary psychiatry: foundations, progress and challenges, World Psychiatry, 2023
See also the related editorial by Jerry Wakefield

Video podcast on Emotions, Evolution, and Evolutionary Psychiatry on the 2023 Painting Onions YouTube Channel

This 2022 article by Raghavendra Gadagkar provides a overview of evolutionary medicine in historical context. 

A six minute YouTube video about the Smoke Detector Principle

Nature Nurture Video Podcast 2022 on Good (Evolutionary) Reasons for Bad Feelings

Why do mental disorders persist? Evolutionary foundations for psychiatry. 2022 Chapter in Evolutionary Psychiatry

Anxiety disorders in evolutionary perspective. 2022 Chapter in Evolutionary Psychiatry

Why do mental disorders persist? Evolving Psychiatry 2022 video podcast (17 min.)

The Evolution of Anxiety  Evolving Psychiatry 2022 video podcast (16 min.)

Why Relationships Exist: Evolutionary Foundations for Psychotherapy
Video of a 2022 talk for the World Psychiatry Association

Baba Brinkman's rap video on emotions. And his 2022 rap on control systems and medicine

Evolutionary Psychiatry A narrated slideshow on HSTalks (not open access)

Nesse (2022) Social Situations Shape Social Emotions that Benefit Genes

Why hasn't natural selection eliminated mental disorders: a talk for The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland

Intrinsically vulnerable control systems and disease heritability, 13 minute video for 2022 ClubEvMed

Nesse, RM (1984) An evolutionary perspective on psychiatry.  (a new posting of my first article about evolutionary psychiatry)

Book Review: Problems of Living: Perspectives from Philosophy, Psychiatry and Cognitive Affective Science by Dan Stein 2022

Evolutionary Psychiatry 40 minute 2021 talk for Abertay University (talk starts at 3 minutes).

Evolutionary Medicine Needs Engineering Expertise a 2021 article for NAE Perspectives about control theory & disease.

Tacit Creationism articles

Why is group selection still such a problem? BBS, 1994 and sadly still relevant. 

Why Bad feelings are usually normal but useless. Video of a 12 min talk for HBES 2021. 

Podcast on evolutionary psychiatry with Renee Garfinkel for the 2021 Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Twitter threads on evolution and psychiatry

Video of 52 Living Ideas MeetUp discussion about Good Reasons for Bad Feelings, 2021

Video of Grand Rounds, Tufts University Department of Psychiatry, 2021 

Podcast Varför mår vi så dåligt? (in English) with the Stockholm psychiatrist/author/podcaster Åsa Nilsonne about evolution and desire. 

Psychology Today adaptation of book chapter on psychiatric genetics

Lecture on Evolutionary Psychiatry for a 2021 class at Oxford University

Article on Tacit Creationism in Emotions Research   Video now posted

Podcast from the Jordan Harbinger show

Podcast by Thoughts on Record about how evolutionary thinking can help psychotherapists

Video from 2020 Grand Rounds at the U Arizona Department of Psychiatry

Podcast on The Smoke Detector Principle for Big Biology

 Buy on Amazon       Full Book Information Here


A list of articles organized by topic

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Highly Cited

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Here is a link to most articles in a web folder

Book: Why We Get Sick
Book: Evolution and Commitment