Craig Eric Morris
Dept. of Anthropology
The Breakup Project: Using Evolutionary Theory to Predict and Interpret Responses to Romantic Relationship Dissolution
May 4th, 2015
Academic Building A G008, 5:05 PM
Evolutionary Human Science has produced a vast body of literature regarding human mating: What attracts us to potential mates, how we pursue them, how we maintain romantic relationships, and reasons for relationship failure. However, there is a gap in this literature regarding breakups. Some evolutionary research has studied coping mechanisms, while other research has focused on post-breakup derogation and stalking. What is missing is a broad, cross-cultural analysis of what exactly a breakup entails—an ongoing physical and emotional response we refer to as Post-Relationship Grief (PRG). If we accept that humans have evolved complex emotional and behavioral mechanisms to facilitate romantic pair bonds, then we must also ask if evolution has shaped how and why we react the way we do to a breakup.
To address this question, we conducted the largest extant study regarding romantic relationship dissolution. Over 7000 participants from 96 countries shared their experiences so that we may better understand PRG, an experience over 85% of us will encounter in our lives—most more than once. This presentation will summarize the evolutionary logic of our study, present basic sex differences (and similarities) in PRG response, explore PRG as it relates to life history variables (e.g., relationship history, age), and significantly, present data on a population that is virtually absent from existing sex difference literature—the nearly 2000 respondents who are not exclusively heterosexual.
Craig Eric Morris is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology Department at Binghamton University. His studies focus broadly on Human Evolutionary Science and specifically on Evolutionary Sexology. He holds degrees from Pennsylvania State University, The Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Binghamton University. He has designed and taught courses on Biomedical Anthropology and Health, Evolutionary Theory, and Human Sexual Behavior. When he is not entrenched in scholarly pursuits, he enjoys golf, dancing, and howling at the moon.
Reading will be posted to the EvoS blackboard group. Anyone with a Binghamton University email address can request to be added to the blackboard group by emailing EvoS[at]binghamton[dot]edu.
This talk will NOT video recorded.