Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Art Production, Appreciation and Fitness

  • Michelle Scalise SugiyamaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3793-1



“Line, color, pattern, and/or form used by humans to modify an object/body solely to attract attention to that object/body” (Coe 2003, p. 173).


Although there are hints of earlier art activity (Malotki and Dissanayake 2018), the oldest, uncontentious evidence of art behavior consists of shell beads and engraved ochre dated to roughly 75 ka (Henshilwood et al. 2002). This tells us that art behaviors emerged in a hunting-and-gathering context and thus are not an outgrowth of conditions associated with “civilization” – agriculture, permanent settlements, high population densities, social stratification, personal wealth, and economic specialization. Their presence in forager societies makes these species-typical behaviors (Brown 1991) particularly puzzling, because they impose considerable time and energy costs yet appear to yield no fitness benefits. Consequently, opinion is...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Guilherme S. Lopes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA