Evolutionary Psychopathology of Depression: a differentiation between different subtypes of low mood following different adverse life events

This project aims to shed a light onto depression as one categorial construct from the perspective of evolutionary psychopathology.

Project No. G 305

Eiko Fried

There is no doubt that mental processes have been shaped in human evolution. Recently several authors have proposed the "situation-symptom-congruence hypothesis of low mood". Low mood is seen as a subclinical and adaptive form of depression. The authors explain the variety of depressive symptoms by hypothesizing that different adverse life events lead to different symptom patterns of low mood, which were shaped in human evolution to solve different recurrent fitness threats.

In this project, a longitudinal study will be conducted, assessing relevant covariates (e.g. personality) at a first measurement point, and assessing perceived adverse life events and following symptoms of low mood at several following measurement points. Thereby, I aim to develop an empirical foundation to the situation-symptom-congruence hypothesis, by showing that specific stressors indeed lead to specific syndromes of low mood, and other stressors lead to other specific syndromes.


Evolutionary Psychology


Prof. Dr. Katja Liebal

Prof. Dr. Isabella Heuser