Evolutionary Psychology: A Framework for Strategic Communication Research

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Evolutionary psychology suggests that the human mind consists of evolved cognitive mechanisms that developed through evolution by means of natural selection. These mechanisms evolved to solve long standing problems in the human ancestral environment. Cooperation in small foraging tribal communities of hunters and gatherers, and its use to gain reproductive advantages, was one of the problems the human mind has adapted to. Thus, this article argues that adopting evolutionary psychology as a framework for strategic communication research can improve understanding of why strategic communication exists in human societies and how it works. The idea of the modularity of mind suggests that separate modules inside the mind evolved during our evolutionary history to solve ancestral challenges. Some of these modules embody human fundamental motives, which can by triggered by strategic communication. By tapping into fundamental motives such as the longing for status, affiliation, and kin-care, strategic communication is able to exploit ancestral stimuli in today’s information society. Thus, a research program based on evolutionary psychology could be a valuable contribution to the field’s growing body of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417 - 432
JournalInternational Journal of Strategic Communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 508007 Communication science
  • 508014 Journalism

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