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Error management theory describes the evolution of biases in the way we think about everything.
If you have ever been on a first date, you’re probably familiar with the anxiety of trying to figure out what clothes to wear or what perfume or cologne to put on.
These adaptations are described in an evolutionary theory proposed by Charles Darwin, called sexual selection theory.
Gene selection theory, the modern explanation behind evolutionary biology, occurs through the desire for gene replication.
However, in order for our genes to endure over time—to survive harsh climates, to defeat predators—we have inherited adaptive, psychological processes designed to ensure success.
At the broadest level, we can think of organisms, including humans, as having two large classes of adaptations—or traits and behaviors that evolved over time to increase our reproductive success.
Just as chimpanzees will give food to mates to show they can provide for them, when you offer gifts to your dates, you are communicating that you have the money or “resources” to help take care of them.
And even though the person receiving the gift may not realize it, the same evolutionary forces are influencing his or her behavior as well.