By H. S Hall

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G. the Oedipus complex in which a male child desires to kill his father), some of his ideas are much more in line with recent Darwinian psychology. For example, Freud’s notion of the id as a set of inborn desires including the sexual imperative is one that has many parallels with evolutionary theory, and his view that our conscious selves might be completely unaware of our ‘real’ motives is one that is echoed in Robert Trivers’s theory of self-deception. Freud wrote that: The individual himself regards sexuality as one of his own ends; whereas from another point of view he is an appendage to his germ-plasm, at whose disposal he puts his energies in return for the bonus of pleasure.

The Modularity of Mind by philosopher Jerry Fodor was published in 1983. A slim volume of only 145 pages its small size belied the impact it would have on the cognitive sciences (a panel of cognitive scientists recently voted it the seventh most influential work of cognitive science in the twentieth century). Fodor’s claim was that the mind was best thought of as being composed of mental modules, each Introduction to evolutionary psychology 25 of which was responsible for a certain aspect of human behaviour.

Parasites are extremely debilitating and can severely lower an individual’s fitness, as we discuss in chapter 3. Hence it makes sense for a male or female to attend to signals that might indicate the presence of parasites in a potential mate. It has been argued that adornments such as the peacock’s tail might be present to indicate to a mate that its owner is relatively free from parasites (see chapter 4). Taken together these two points show that Ramachandran’s hoax was nothing like that produced by physicist Alan Sokal.

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