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Randolph Nesse

Randolph Nesse


"Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry"

September 23, 2021
7:30 pm
YouTube Streaming Link: 

Randolph M. Nesse is Research Professor of Life Sciences and the Founding Director (2014-2019) of The Center for Evolution and Medicine at Arizona State University, and Professor Emeritus, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology and the Institute for Social Research at The University of Michigan. He was the initial organizer and second president of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society and was the Founding President of The International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. Dr. Nesse is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Sciences, and an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Randolph Nesse’s research on the evolution of aging led to a long collaboration with the evolutionary biologist George C. Williams. Their co-authored book, Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine, inspired fast growth of the field of evolutionary medicine. His subsequent research has focused on how natural selection shapes mechanisms that regulate pain, fever, anxiety, low mood, and why emotional disorders are so common. He also has written extensively about the evolutionary origins of moral emotions and strategies for establishing evolutionary biology as a basic science for medicine.

His latest book, Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry, applies the principles of evolutionary medicine to mental disorders. Hailed by The Economist as one of the “Books of the Year,” Good Reasons for Bad Feelings has received much critical praise: “This is a wise, accessible, highly readable exploration of an issue that goes to the heart of human existence” (Robert Sapolsky, Stanford University); “A bold book that would have made Darwin proud. Cutting-edge and compassionate at the same time” (Lee Dugatkin, University of Louisville, and three-time EKU Chautauqua lecturer); “I do fully expect that someday nearly all psychiatry will be identified as evolutionary psychiatry. If so, Randolph Nesse’s book should be seen as the field’s founding document” (David Barash, The Wall Street Journal).

Sponsored by the Department of Psychology, the College of Health Sciences, the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and the Honors Program. 

Published on September 23, 2021

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