A Darwinian Theory of Beauty [17:33]


This long TED Talk combined with RSA comics, probably most suitable for older kids and teens, discusses an incredibly important questions of what beauty is and why we find some things beautiful and other bland or ugly.  Professor Dutton discusses how evolutionary psychology, and not just our cultural happenstance, helps us understand this difficult concept and its origins.

Discussion Questions

  • Is what we find beautiful mostly defined by nature or nurture?  Evolution or culture?
  • How can natural selection affect what we find beautiful?
  • What is sexual selection?  What role might it have played in the evolution of beauty?
  • What does Dutton mean when he says beauty exerts a kind of magnetism or action at a distance?
  • What is Dutton’s point about “mastery” and artistic beauty?

Keywords: evolutionary psychology, beauty, art, natural selection, paleolithic, anthropology, hominids, purpose


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