© 2019

Evolutionary Perspectives on Death

  • Todd K. Shackelford
  • Virgil Zeigler-Hill

Part of the Evolutionary Psychology book series (EVOLPSYCH)

About this book


The latest volume in this multidisciplinary series on key topics in evolutionary studies, Evolutionary Perspectives on Death provides an evolutionary analysis of mortality and the consideration of death. Bringing together noted experts from a variety of fields, the books emanate from conferences held at Oakland University, and are dedicated to providing wide ranging and occasionally provocative views of human evolution. The volume on death covers topics from biology, anthropology, psychology, sociology and philosophy, with contributors addressing how evolution informs the process of comprehending, grieving, depicting, celebrating, and accepting death.

Among the topics covered:

  • Evolutionary perspectives on the loss of a twin
  • Nonhuman primate responses to death
  • Death in literature
  • Witnessing and representing the death of pets
  • The role of human decomposition facilities in shaping American perspectives on death

This insightful volume showcases groundbreaking empirical and theoretical research addressing death and mortality from an evolutionary perspective, demonstrating the intellectual value of an interdisciplinary approach to understanding psychological processes and behavior.

Chapter 6 of this book is available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at


death studies philosophical views of death death and evolution primate's understanding of death death in literature murder suicide evolutionary psychology reality denial mortality salience American perspectives on death death of pets human decomposition facilities

Editors and affiliations

  • Todd K. Shackelford
    • 1
  • Virgil Zeigler-Hill
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Oakland UniversityRochesterUSA

About the editors

Todd K. Shackelford received his Ph.D. in evolutionary psychology in 1997 from the University of Texas–Austin. He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where he is Co-Director of the Evolutionary Psychology Lab. He led the founding of new Ph.D. and M.S. programs, which launched in 2012. Shackelford has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles and chapters and has edited 10 volumes, and his work has been cited over 7,000 times. Much of Shackelford’s research addresses sexual conflict between men and women, with a special focus on testing hypotheses derived from sperm competition theory. Since 2006, Shackelford has served as editor of Evolutionary Psychology.

Virgil Zeigler-Hill received his Ph.D. in social-personality psychology in 2004 from the University of Oklahoma. He is a member of the faculty in the Department of Psychology at Oakland University. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books. His primary research interests are in four interrelated areas: self-esteem, narcissism, cognitive representations of the self, and interpersonal relationships.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Evolutionary Perspectives on Death
  • Editors Todd K. Shackelford
    Virgil Zeigler-Hill
  • Series Title Evolutionary Psychology
  • Series Abbreviated Title Evolutionary Psychology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Behavioral Science and Psychology Behavioral Science and Psychology (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-25465-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-25468-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-25466-7
  • Series ISSN 2197-9898
  • Series E-ISSN 2197-9901
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 205
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 11 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Psychology Research
  • Buy this book on publisher's site