In the 1990s, cognitive scientists began synthesizing the computational theory of mind propounded by Jerry Fodor and others with evolutionary psychology.1 The basic premise of evolutionary psychology is that, just as evolution by natural selection has produced universal human morpho - logical adaptations, so it has created universal psychological adaptations that together constitute our shared “human nature.”2 Steven Pinker and other evolutionary psychologists-such as David Buss, Leda Cosmides, and John Tooby-contend that, given its complexity, it is highly unlikely the human brain evolved by chance. Rather, like other complex organs, such as eyes, the brain is almost certainly the product of a long process of natural selection, in which modifications to its structure caused by random genetic mutations and re-combinations accumulated because they were fitnessenhancing. They gave rise to behaviors that provided new or better solu - tions to problems of survival and reproduction faced by our hominid ancestors, thereby conferring on their original bearers greater reproductive success and ensuring that they spread to fixation in future generations. Such problems included (but were not limited to) “finding mates, parenting,

evolutionaryfilm theory

choosing an appropriate habitat, cooperating, communicating, foraging, [and] recovering information through vision.”3 Modifications to the brain enabled our forebears to better address these problems by gradually forming information-processing “modules” in their minds, “each with a specialized design that makes it an expert in one arena of interaction with the world.”4