Author Bio

Brady Barley's research interests focus on the ways modern behavioral approaches to therapy are compatible with traditional psychoanalysis, as well as how evolutionary insights can limit cognitive behavioral theory. His professional goals are to complete a graduate-level education and to practice in a clinical setting.


Environmental stressors threaten optimal behavioral functioning, and thus contribute to the development of psychopathology and exert evolutionary selection pressure. Voluntary stressor exposure has the efficacious effect of increasing resilience to future stressors in humans and other animals. This theoretical paper considers the hypothesis that intrinsic motivation toward behaviors requiring voluntary stressor exposure mitigates evolutionary selection pressure exerted by environmental stressors by inducing neural and neuroendocrine plasticity which results in increased resilience. In this view, intrinsically motivated stressor exposure is both efficacious and innate. Empirical and theoretical support for this hypothesis suggest that humans possess an instinct to resilience. Stress-related disorders are conceptualized as outcomes of dysfunction or inhibition of this instinct. A testable evolutionary prediction of this hypothesis is presented.