"Evolutionary approaches to behaviour are based on the postulate that emotional responses, because they are such powerful motivators, could not have evolved unless the behaviour the evoked contributed positively, on average, to survival and reproductive success. This is why sugar is sweet and sexual activity is fun."
(Orians & Heerwagen, 1992)

academic career




off duty

Welcome to Bernhart Ruso's website. As my academic affiliations change ever so often students and collegues sometimes found it difficult to track me down. I hope this site helps everyone interested in my work to get information about what I am up to at the moment and how to contact me.

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What is Human Ethology?
Human Ethology is a subdiscipline of Biology that studies the biological bases of behavior. The field used to be called comparative psychology (animal psychology). Ethological theory draws upon Darwin's theory of evolution. Human ethologists also incorporated ideas from psychoanalytic theory (Freud) into their analyses. Ethological research focuses on human and animal behavior as it occurs in natural environments, particularly as it occurs in the environments to which a species has to adapt during the course of its evolutionary history. Ethological Research employs naturalistic observation and sometimes uses natural experiments. Ethologists prefer experiments in natural settings to those conducted in laboratories (source).

What is Evolutionary Psychology?
Evolutionary psychology is simply psychology that is informed by the additional knowledge that evolutionary biology has to offer, in the expectation that understanding the process that designed the human mind will advance the discovery of its architecture. Evolutionary psychology seeks to reconstruct problems that our ancestors faced in their primitive environments, and the problem-solving mechanisms they created to meet those particular challenges. From these reconstructed problem-solving adaptations, the science then attempts to establish the common roots of our ancestral behavior, and how those common behavioral roots are manifested today in the widely scattered cultures of the planet. The goal is to understand human behavior that is universally aimed at the passing of one's genes into the next generation (Barkow et al, 1992).