I just noticed a study from a few months back that correlated male shopping habits to ... evolution.   Yes, the necessary survival skills that women used for foraging and men used to hunt evolved into the inability of men to match socks and the reason women can't find the escalator in the shopping mall if you give them directions.

So if you are disinclined to believe, as friend-of-Obama Larry Summers does, that women cannot do math, you militant anti-science types will really dislike knowing that women are intrinsically obligated to spend the day picking through racks of clothes with friends and talking about that "Sex in the City" movie.

Evolutionary psychology, right?  Where is my pistol?

First, I never usually want to determine content by form, but if your peer-reviewed journal is actually just a Wordpress site, I am not sure how seriously to take you.   I get that the medium is less important these days and online publishing makes it possible for a lot of work that might not ever make it into print journals but it can't be a free-for-all, the audience has to be an arbiter of quality, so the audience is speaking up this time.  PLoS Biology is an online-only peer-reviewed journal, it is open access(1), and there is no question the quality is top notch.   That means other groups can do it also.

So, Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, at least make an effort.

Second, serious research is not based on your shopping trip with friends to eastern Europe.

"We have evidence that the kind of skills, abilities and behaviors that are important for hunting and gathering in current foraging societies emerge predictably in our modern consumer environment," says Daniel Kruger, evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, who decided to conduct the study after noting, that upon reaching Prague, the first thing the women wanted to do was shop and the men didn't understand that.

"Not so unreasonable if you're thinking about a gathering strategy.   Anytime you come into a new area you want to scope out the landscape and find out where the food patches are."

So women gathering edible plants a million years ago is why we put one item at a time in a shopping cart today?   Fascinating.    And foraging was a daily activity and became social, he says, and women had to become experts at choosing the right color, texture and smell of food and also know when a depleted patch will be ready again, which has been handed down the ages to be that women are much more likely than men to know when the good sales are

Are the authors saying that means shopping is in our DNA?  No, no, that would be silly.  It instead means these researchers do not know what the word 'evolution' means.

Citation: Kruger, D. J., and Byker, D. (2009). Evolved foraging psychology underlies sex differences in shopping experiences and behaviors. Special Issue: Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Meeting of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society. Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology, 3(4), 328-342.


(1) Not to leave anyone out, here is an exhaustive list of BMC journals that are open access.