Apr 2021 – Mar 2026
Have humans evolved psychological adaptations to coalitional aggression or small-scale war? This question has generated major scientific debate involving anthropologists, archaeologists, economists, primatologists, psychologists, and political scientists.
AWAR posits that evidence of special design, obtained from an integrated program of psychological experiments, is required to answer this elemental question. If humans are adapted to small-scale war, then human psychology must be equipped with specialized adaptations designed for the effective navigation of war: planning, executing, and defending against coalitional attacks.
AWAR probes the existence of such adaptations. It focuses, specifically, on a coalitional formidability assessment mechanism, which likely helped ancestral humans to avoid costly fights. Such a mechanism, if revealed, potentially constitutes distinctive evidence that war shaped human evolution.
AWAR also explores contemporary implications of the coalitional formidability assessment mechanism: if it indeed exists, does it shape our attitudes and behavior today, particularly in the context of modern political violence (e.g., civil conflicts)?
AWAR follows an adaptationist research program, consisting of six goals:
This five-year research project (April 2021 – March 2026) is funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant (StG) as part of EU's program for research and innovation, Horizon 2020 (H2020).
PRIO invites applications for a 1.5-year, full-time Postdoc position within the project Adapted to War (AWAR), funded by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant).
PRIO invites applications for a Postdoc Position.