David and Steven Hayes – Evolution and Contextual Behavioral Science

Today we have David Sloan Wilson and Steven Hayes on the podcast. David Sloan Wilson is president of The Evolution Institute and a SUNY distinguished professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University. Sloan Wilson applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the biological world. His books include Darwin’s Cathedral, Evolution for Everyone, The Neighborhood Project, and Does Altruism Exist? Steven C. Hayes is foundation professor in the department of psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. An author of forty-four books and over 600 scientific articles, his career has focused on an analysis of the nature of human language and cognition, and the application of this to the understanding and alleviation of human suffering and the promotion of human prosperity. Hayes has received several awards, including the Impact of Science on Application Award from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT).
Together, they edited the recent book, “Evolution and Contextual Behavioral Science: An Integrated Framework for Understanding, Predicting, and Influencing Human Behavior.”

In this episode we cover a lot of ground, including:

• Steven’s perspective on language and cognition
• The difference between evolutionary science and evolutionary psychology
• How Skinner thought of himself as an evolutionary psychologist
• How evolutionary theory needs to take a step back and taken into account variation selection
• How evolutionary science need to be an applied discipline
• How evolutionary psychology done right acknowledges both an innate and adaptive component
• Why Steven Hayes thinks that 98% of the research we’re doing in psychology might be wrong
• Steven’s criticism of psychometric research (he thinks it’s “going down”!)
• The first time Steven encountered David’s work and how it made him cry
• Steven’s criticism of how the term “genetic” is used in the psychological literature
• Separating “pop evolutionary psychology” from good evolutionary science
• Renee Duckworth’s skeleton metaphor
• The tension between evolutionary change and stability
• Why we need to look at function, context, and longitudinal development in order to really balance flexibility and structure,
• Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as managing the evolutionary process
• How multidimensionality and multi-level thinking allows us to manage evolutionary processes like never before
• Their upcoming book on prosociality

— Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/the-psychology-podcast/support