Science Evolutionary Psychologist Gad Saad on Consumerism, Sex, Advertising, and Human Nature


"The Ferrari is exactly the same in the human context," says evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad, "as the peacock's tail is on the peacock."

Saad is an evolutionary behavioral scientist at Concordia University and author of the book The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal about Human Naturein which he argues that most consumer behavior can be explained by evolutionary psychology.'s Zach Weissmueller sat down with Saad to discuss why most Ferrari owners are men, whether or not advertising executives manipulate our minds, the strong political opposition to the evolutionary sciences from across the spectrum, and the evolutionary significance of Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby Got Back." 

About 10 minutes. Interview by Zach Weissmueller. Shot by Sharif Matar; edited by Weissmueller.

Visit for downloadable versions and subscribe to's YouTube Channel to receive automatic notifications when new material goes live.


NEXT: Attn, Boston Reasonoids: Nick Gillespie Talking Declaration of Independents in Beantown, This Afternoon at 4:30

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Saad is an evolutionary behavioral scientist [and so] … argues that most consumer behavior can be explained by evolutionary psychology.


  2. Why is Ron Jeremy talking about psychology?

    1. Seriously. I took one look at that screen cap and thought: “That’s Ron Jeremy!”

    2. Same reaction.

      1. i went for white Charlie Rangel

      2. Ditto!

        And it is a pretty fucking sad that all you perverts know who Ron Jeremy is. I only know who Ron Jeremy is because “coubullshitgh” I was doing research for paper in college.

  3. Except a peacock’s tail doesn’t have a V12 and rip up racetracks.

    1. And really, where else would you be driving a Ferrari?

      1. You reveal ourself as a puss to the core and have yet to experience the sensation of a g-force load.

        1. There are far cheaper ways to experience a g-force load then a Farrari.

          Yes a g-force load is fun for its own sake without all peacock bullshit..but to deny the peacock component of a $200,000 bright red penis shaped car that is almost impossible to drive on the streets without breaking the law is just as irrational as denying that going fast is fun.

  4. …the evolutionary significance of Sir Mix-a-lot’s “Baby Got Back.”

    Only twenty years late!

    1. Ever see the age of Kevin Smith fans?

      The vast majority of them were either in diapers or not yet born when Clerks was released.

      Baby got Back is timeless.

  5. I thought sure that was White Injun in the vid cap.


  6. I am a strong evolutionist and have no doubts that evolution probably influences behavior, but when “evolutionary psychologists/behaviorists” try to “explain” human behavior in terms of their particular interpretation of evolution, I really feel that I am listening to a dressed up version of the “Just So” stories.

    1. As he says in the video, we unquestionably accept the exact same explanations for animal behavior, so why not for human behavior?

      “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”

      -Theodosius Dobzhansky

      1. “Evolutionary psychology” emerged after Marxist dumbasses like Gould and Lewontin attacked EO Wilson’s Siociobiology. It seems weird to think of now (unless you’re in college), but in the 70’s and 80’s lots of important people really believed that genes played no or very little role in behavior. As to “just so” stories, what pop-sci book isn’t?

        1. That was supposed to be a response to Aresen.

      2. As I said, I am convinced that evolution and genes have an effect on human behavior.

        My problem with any particular analysis is that the data often seem to be selected to support the narrative. Frankly, we just know too damned little about how genes work and about how our brains are wired to be able to make any serious statement about evolution’s effect on behavior at this time.

        (TBS, I don’t think there is any harm in trying a hypothesis – so long as you understand that any guesses we make at this time are not useful beyond setting the stage for further inquiry. My WEG is that we won’t have a coherent, useful model of the genetic and evolutionary basis of human behavior for 50 to 100 years.)

        1. Frankly, we just know too damned little about how genes work and about how our brains are wired to be able to make any serious statement about evolution’s effect on behavior at this time.

          We can black box the behavior of a Lion’s Pride but no no no if you do it with humans.


          One does not need an engineered blue print of the chemical pathways of the human mind to see why McDonalds is a fortune 500 company. Burgers are yummy and they are not rationalized as yummy through some magical force of free will…they are yummy because they contain chemicals in them that our bodies and minds have been evolved to like.

          To not see our evolved bodies and minds as a fundamental influence on our behavior and culture is absurd.

          Are they getting some of the stories wrong? sure. It is complex shit. But the facts and science backing up the premise of those stories is very very true.

        2. But that is exactly how inductive science works, and it’s the reason why we have the theory of evolution. Darwin took various biological observations and came up with a theory to explain all of them. As we make more biological observations, we will continue to test them against the theory of evolution.

    2. + 3 to Aresen

      I taught Animal Behavior, which is basically evolutionary biology for non-humans, for a semester. The field does allow you to make predictions, but it also contains many “just so” stories.

  7. He both resembles, and has a name indicative of, a Dr. Seuss character.

  8. That man looks like he smells like coconuts.

  9. “The Ferrari is exactly the same in the human context,” says evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad, “as the peacock’s tail is on the peacock.”

    This poor man suffers from Ralph Nader Syndrome, recognizable from an absolute lack of capacity to “get it” with regard to automobiles. He probably drives a Prius.

    Fortunately, there is therapy available, although it is expensive.

  10. New Ron Paul campaign commercial. “Vote for Romney, Newt, Cain and you will be impotent. Vote for me, well you know what will happen”.

  11. Good Show. I will always read about evolutionary psychology. Ordinary psychology always struck me as ‘voodoo’ (social) science.

  12. This guy’s research seems at least to have taught him how to market himself well enough to get on the Reason website but not enough for me to buy his book.

  13. he is a good Psychologist.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.