Skip to main content
Accessibility|Contact|Privacy|Terms of Service

Brain Size and a Trip to Disneyland

  • Published: 2010-11-15 : Author: Inderscience Publishers
  • Synopsis: Evidence from Disneyland suggests that human creativity may have evolved not in response to sexual selection as some scientists believe.

Main Document

How parental concerns could increase the size of our creative brains.

Evidence from Disneyland suggests that human creativity may have evolved not in response to sexual selection as some scientists believe but as a way to help parents bond with their children and to pass on traditions and cultural knowledge, a new study published in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology suggests.

Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller of the University of New Mexico has suggested that human creativity, storytelling, humor, wit, music, fantasy, and morality, all evolved as forms of courtship behavior. He used evidence drawn from the Southern California tourist industry to underpin his argument. The work offers an explanation as to why the human brain is so much bigger relative to body size than that of other apes - sexual selection for greater intellect. Intriguingly, Miller has referred to the mind as "amusement park".

Now, anthropologists Craig Palmer of the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Kathryn Coe of the University of Arizona beg to differ. Although Miller talks of the mind in such terms, he fails to include in his analysis the most famous amusement park in the world, Disneyland. Palmer and Coe suggest that this is one of the most dense concentrations in the world of exactly those aspects of culture - art, creativity, storytelling, humor, wit, music, fantasy, and morality - that Miller claims evolved as courtship displays.

Writing in the IJTA, Palmer and Coe suggest that Miller's hypothesis cannot account for the fact that Disneyland is fundamentally devoted to children. They reason that Disneyland and other similar amusement parks, support an alternative hypothesis that the creative aspects of the human brain may have evolved in the context of parents influencing their offspring, and offspring responding to their parents, not in the context of courtship.

The researchers do concede that some tourism is related to courtship, and not just "honeymoon" tourism and that it often involves art, creativity, storytelling, humor, wit, music, fantasy, and morality as part of the attractions. The team argues, however, that "The brain circuitry involved in both the generation of, and response to, these traits was selected for because it enabled parents to increase their fitness by increasing their ability to influence their offspring." The human brain increased in size through evolution as cultural traditions accumulated over numerous generations. "Traditions can last much longer than a generation or two and that the massive accumulation of traditional behavior is unique to our species as is the large brain," the team concludes.

"Parenting, courtship, Disneyland and the human brain" in Int. J. Tourism Anthropology, 2010, 1, 1-14

Similar Topics

1 : Early Indicators: High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome : Michelle Fattig.
2 : People Who Hear Voices Can Detect Hidden Speech in Unusual Sounds : Durham University.
3 : Neurological Link Between Religious Experiences and Epilepsy : University of Missouri-Columbia.
4 : Cat Ownership Not Linked To Mental Health Problems : University College London.
5 : Possible Major Advance for Neurological Diseases Following New discovery : University of Bristol.
From our Neurological Disorders section - Full List (81 Items)


Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.





1 : Millennials Fail to Understand Dangers of Tanning
2 : Appetite Loss After Exercising Explained
3 : Bias Keeps Women with Higher Body Weight Away From the Doctor
4 : Smart Hoteliers are Building a Healthier Future
5 : Teaching Baby Sign Language - Nita, Show Us More
6 : MitoQ Novel Antioxidant Makes Old Arteries Seem Young Again
7 : Telemedicine Helps Overcome Healthcare Gender Based Barriers
8 : Screen Reader Plus Keyboard Helps Blind, Low-Vision Users Browse Modern Webpages


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

© 2004 - 2018 Disabled World™