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Encyclopedia > Evolutionary psychology

Evolutionary psychology (EP) attempts to explain mental and psychological traits—such as memory, perception, or language—as adaptations, that is, as the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection. Adaptationist thinking about biological mechanisms, such as the immune system, is common in evolutionary biology. Evolutionary psychology applies the same thinking to psychology. Most research in evolutionary psychology focuses on humans. For other uses, see Mind (disambiguation). ... {redirect|Psychological science|the journal|Psychological Science (journal)}} Not to be confused with Phycology. ... Trait theory is an approach to personality theory in psychology. ... For other uses, see Memory (disambiguation). ... In psychology and the cognitive sciences, perception is the process of acquiring, interpreting, selecting, and organizing sensory information. ... For other uses, see Adaptation (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Natural selection (disambiguation). ... Illustration from The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin showing the Tufted Coquette Lophornis ornatus, female on left, ornamented male on right. ... Maynard Smith was a proponent Adaptationism is the view that all or most traits are adaptations. ...


Evolutionary psychologists see much of human behavior as having foundations in psychological adaptations that evolved to solve recurrent problems in human ancestral environments. They hypothesize, for example, that humans have inherited special mental capacities for acquiring speech, making it nearly automatic, while inheriting no such capacity for reading and writing. Other adaptations, according to these theories, might include the abilities to read others' emotions, to discern kin from non-kin, to identify and prefer better mates, to reciprocate help, and so on. Evolutionary psychology describes organisms as in conflict with others of their species, including mates and relatives. For example, mother mammals and their young offspring sometimes struggle over weaning, which benefits mother more than the child. Humans, however, have a marked capacity for cooperation as well.


Evolutionary psychologists see those behaviors or aspects of society that are nearly universal, such as parent-child conflicts, as more likely to reflect evolved adaptations. Evolved psychological adaptations (such a the ability to learn a language) interact with cultural inputs to produce specific behaviors (e.g., the specific language learned). This view counters the earlier idea that human mental faculties are general-purpose learning capacities.


Charles Darwin proposed the theory of evolution in the 19th century. Early in the 20th century, biologists understood social behavior to have evolved through group selection, a theory no longer in favor. Modern writers such as Desmond Morris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Steven Pinker have popularized evolutionary psychology. Closely related fields are human behavioral ecology, dual inheritance theory, and sociobiology. Human behavioral ecology (HBE) or human evolutionary ecology applies the principles of evolutionary theory and optimization to the study of human behavioral and cultural diversity. ... Dual inheritance theory, (or DIT), in sharp contrast to the notion that culture overrides biology, posits that humans are products of the interaction between biological evolution and cultural evolution. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ...

Contents

Overview

Evolutionary psychology (EP) is an approach to the entire discipline that views "human nature" as a set of evolved psychological adaptations to recurring problems in the ancestral environment. Proponents of EP suggest that it seeks to heal a fundamental division at the very heart of science --- that between the "soft" human social sciences and the "hard" natural sciences, and that the fact that human beings are living organisms demands that psychology be understood as a branch of biology. Its advocates suggest that “In the future, the study of human psychology will be completely transformed by the Darwinian approach…it won’t be called ‘Evolutionary Psychology’. It will just be called ‘psychology’".[1] As noted by Tooby and Cosmides (2005, p. 5): "Evolutionary psychology is the long-forestalled scientific attempt to assemble out of the disjointed, fragmentary, and mutually contradictory human disciplines a single, logically integrated research framework for the psychological, social, and behavioral sciences—a framework that not only incorporates the evolutionary sciences on a full and equal basis, but that systematically works out all of the revisions in existing belief and research practice that such a synthesis requires." The social sciences are groups of academic disciplines that study the human aspects of the world. ... The Michelson–Morley experiment was used to disprove that light propagated through a luminiferous aether. ... {redirect|Psychological science|the journal|Psychological Science (journal)}} Not to be confused with Phycology. ... For the song by Girls Aloud see Biology (song) Biology studies the variety of life (clockwise from top-left) E. coli, tree fern, gazelle, Goliath beetle Biology (from Greek: Βιολογία - βίος, bio, life; and λόγος, logos, speech lit. ...


Just as human physiology and evolutionary physiology have worked to identify physical adaptations of the body that represent "human physiological nature," the purpose of evolutionary psychology is to identify evolved emotional and cognitive adaptations that represent "human psychological nature." EP is, to quote Steven Pinker, "not a single theory but a large set of hypotheses" and a term which "has also come to refer to a particular way of applying evolutionary theory to the mind, with an emphasis on adaptation, gene-level selection, and modularity." EP proposes that the human brain comprises many functional mechanisms,[2] called psychological adaptations or evolved cognitive mechanisms or cognitive modules designed by the process of natural selection. Examples include language acquisition modules, incest avoidance mechanisms, cheater detection mechanisms, intelligence and sex-specific mating preferences, foraging mechanisms, alliance-tracking mechanisms, agent detection mechanisms, and other . EP has roots in cognitive psychology and evolutionary biology (See also sociobiology). It also draws on behavioral ecology, artificial intelligence, genetics, ethology, anthropology, archaeology, biology, and zoology. EP is closely linked to sociobiology,[citation needed] but there are key differences between them including the emphasis on domain-specific rather than domain-general mechanisms, the relevance of measures of current fitness, the importance of mismatch theory, and psychology rather than behaviour. Many evolutionary psychologists, however, argue that the mind consists of both domain-specific and domain-general mechanisms, especially evolutionary developmental psychologists. Most sociobiological research is now conducted in the field of behavioral ecology.[citation needed] This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... // As the name implies, evolutionary physiology represents the hybridization of two scientific disciplines that had previously witnessed relatively little interchange. ... Steven Pinker Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a prominent Canadian-born American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, and popular science writer known for his spirited and wide-ranging advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. ... Modularity of mind is the notion that a mind, at least in part, may be composed of separate innate structures which have established evolutionarily-developed functional purposes (ie. ... For other uses, see Brain (disambiguation). ... A psychological adaptation, also called an evolved psychological mechanism or EPM, is an aspect of a human or other animals psychology that serves a specific purpose, and was created and selected by evolutionary pressures. ... // A cognitive module is, in theories of the modularity of mind and the closely-related society of mind theory, a specialised tool or sub-unit that can be used by other parts to resolve cognitive tasks. ... For the academic journal, see Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics. ... This article is about the psychological term. ... Named in honour of Peter Cathcart Wason, who first described the task, the Wason selection task is a logical puzzle which is formally equivalent to the following question: You are shown a set of four cards placed on a table each of which has a number on one side and... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Cognitive Psychology is the school of psychology that examines internal mental processes such as problem solving, memory, and language. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Behavioral ecology is the study of the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior, and the roles of behavior in enabling an animal to adapt to its environment (both intrinsic and extrinsic). ... AI redirects here. ... This article is about the general scientific term. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the social science. ... For referencing in Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Citing sources. ... For the song by Girls Aloud see Biology (song) Biology studies the variety of life (clockwise from top-left) E. coli, tree fern, gazelle, Goliath beetle Biology (from Greek: Βιολογία - βίος, bio, life; and λόγος, logos, speech lit. ... Zoology (from Greek: ζῴον, zoion, animal; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the biological discipline which involves the study of animals. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Fitness (often denoted in population genetics models) is a central concept in evolutionary theory. ... Mismatch theory is an evolutionarily informed concept. ... Evolutionary developmental psychology, (or EDP), is the application of the basic principles of Darwinian evolution, particularly natural selection, to explain contemporary human development. ... Behavioral ecology is the study of the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior, and the roles of behavior in enabling an animal to adapt to its environment (both intrinsic and extrinsic). ...


The term evolutionary psychology was probably coined by Michael Ghiselin in his 1973 article in Science.[3] Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby popularized the term "evolutionary psychology" in their highly influential 1992 book The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and The Generation of Culture.[4] EP has been applied to the study of many fields, including economics, aggression, law, psychiatry, politics, literature, and sex. Michael T. Ghiselin is an American biologist, philosopher/historian of biology currently at the California Academy of Sciences. ... Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is considered one of the worlds most prestigious scientific journals. ... Jerome H. Barkow is a Canadian anthropologist at Dalhousie University who has made important contributions to the field of evolutionary psychology. ... Leda Cosmides Leda Cosmides, (born May 7, 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American psychologist, who, together with anthropologist husband John Tooby, helped pioneer the field of evolutionary psychology. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture is an edited volume, first published in 1992 by Oxford University Press, edited by Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby. ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ... In psychology and other social and behavioral sciences, aggression refers to behavior that is intended to cause harm or pain. ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... An MRI scan of a human brain and head. ... For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Literature (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Reproduction (disambiguation) Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced. ...


EP uses Nikolaas Tinbergen's four categories of questions and explanations of animal behavior. Two categories are at the species level; two, at the individual level, as noted in the table below. Nikolaas Niko Tinbergen (April 15, 1907 – December 21, 1988) was a Dutch ethologist and ornithologist who shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Karl von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns in animals. ... When asked questions of animal behavior such as why animals see, even grade school children can answer that vision helps animals find food and avoid danger. ...

How vs. Why Questions: Sequential vs. Static Perspective
Historical/ Developmental
Explanation of current form in terms of a historical sequence
Current Form
Explanation of the current form of species
Proximate
How organisms’ structures function
Ontogeny
Developmental explanations for changes in individuals, from DNA to their current form
Mechanism
Mechanistic explanations for how an organism’s structures work
Evolutionary
Why organisms evolved the structures (adaptations) they have
Phylogeny
The history of the evolution of sequential changes in a species over many generations
Adaptation
A species trait that evolved to solve a reproductive or survival problem in the ancestral environment

The species-level categories (often called “ultimate explanations”) are

  • the function (i.e., adaptation) that a behavior serves and
  • the evolutionary process (i.e., phylogeny) that resulted in the adaptation (functionality).

The individual-level categories are For other uses, see Adaptation (disambiguation). ... In biology, phylogenetics (Greek: phylon = tribe, race and genetikos = relative to birth, from genesis = birth) is the study of evolutionary relatedness among various groups of organisms (e. ...

  • the development of the individual (i.e., ontogeny) and
  • the proximate mechanism (e.g., brain anatomy and hormones).

Evolutionary psychology mostly focuses on the adaptation (functional) category. Ontogeny (also ontogenesis or morphogenesis) describes the origin and the development of an organism from the fertilized egg to its mature form. ...


Principles of evolutionary psychology

Evolutionary psychology is a hybrid discipline that draws insights from modern evolutionary theory, biology, cognitive psychology, anthropology, economics, computer science, and paleoarchaeology. The discipline rests on a foundation of core premises. According to evolutionary psychologist David Buss, these include: David Buss is a professor of psychology at University of Texas, Austin. ...

  1. Manifest behavior depends on underlying psychological mechanisms, information processing devices housed in the brain, in conjunction with the external and internal inputs that trigger their activation.
  2. Evolution by selection is the only known causal process capable of creating such complex organic mechanisms.
  3. Evolved psychological mechanisms are functionally specialized to solve adaptive problems that recurred for humans over deep evolutionary time.
  4. Selection designed the information processing of many evolved psychological mechanisms to be adaptively influenced by specific classes of information from the environment.
  5. Human psychology consists of a large number of functionally specialized evolved mechanisms, each sensitive to particular forms of contextual input, that get combined, coordinated, and integrated with each other to produce manifest behavior.

Similarly, pioneers of the field Leda Cosmides and John Tooby consider five principles to be the foundation of evolutionary psychology: Leda Cosmides Leda Cosmides, (born May 7, 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American psychologist, who, together with anthropologist husband John Tooby, helped pioneer the field of evolutionary psychology. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ...

  1. The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer with circuits that have evolved to generate behavior that is appropriate to environmental circumstances
  2. Neural circuits were designed by natural selection to solve problems that human ancestors faced while evolving into Homo sapiens
  3. Consciousness is a small portion of the contents and processes of the mind; conscious experience can mislead individuals to believe their thoughts are simpler than they actually are. Most problems experienced as easy to solve are very difficult to solve and are driven and supported by very complicated neural circuitry
  4. Different neural circuits are specialized for solving different adaptive problems.
  5. Modern skulls house a stone age mind.[5]

Homo sapiens (Latin: wise man) is the scientific name for the human species. ... Stone Age fishing hook. ...

General evolutionary theory

Main article: Evolution

Evolutionary psychology is rooted in evolutionary theory. It is sometimes seen not simply as a sub-discipline of psychology but as a way in which evolutionary theory can be used as a meta-theoretical framework within which to examine the entire field of psychology,[5] however many evolutionary biologists challenge the basic evolutionary premises of evolutionary psychology.[6] This article is about evolution in biology. ...


Natural selection

Natural selection, a key component of evolutionary theory, involves three main ingredients:

  • Genetically based inheritance of traits - some traits are passed down from parents to offspring in genes,
  • Variation - heritable traits vary within a population (now we know that mutation is the source of this genetic variation),
  • Differential survival and reproduction - these traits will vary in how strongly they promote the survival and reproduction of their bearers.

Selection refers to the process by which environmental conditions "select" organisms with the appropriate traits to survive; these organisms will have such traits more strongly represented in the next generation. This is the basis of adaptive evolution. Darwin's great claim was that this "natural selection" was creative - it could lead to new traits and even new species, it was centred on individual survival, and it could explain the broad scale patterns of evolution. This stylistic schematic diagram shows a gene in relation to the double helix structure of DNA and to a chromosome (right). ... For linguistic mutation, see Apophony. ... For other uses, see Selection (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Natural selection (disambiguation). ...


Sexual selection

Many traits that are selected for can actually hinder survival of the organism while increasing its reproductive opportunities. Consider the classic example of the peacock's tail. It is metabolically costly, cumbersome, and essentially a "predator magnet." What the peacock's tail does do is attract mates. Thus, the type of selective process that is involved here is what Darwin called "sexual selection." Sexual selection can be divided into two types: Illustration from The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin showing the Tufted Coquette Lophornis ornatus, female on left, ornamented male on right. ...

  • Intersexual selection, which refers to the traits that one sex generally prefers in the other sex, (e.g. the peacock's tail).
  • Intrasexual competition, which refers to the competition among members of the same sex for mating access to the opposite sex, (e.g. two stags locking antlers).

Illustration from The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin showing the Tufted Coquette Lophornis ornatus, female on left, ornamented male on right. ... Illustration from The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin showing the Tufted Coquette Lophornis ornatus, female on left, ornamented male on right. ...

Inclusive fitness

Inclusive fitness theory, which was proposed by William D. Hamilton in 1964 as a revision to evolutionary theory, is basically a combination of natural selection, sexual selection, and kin selection. It refers to the sum of an individual's own reproductive success plus the effects the individual's actions have on the reproductive success of their genetic relatives. General evolutionary theory, in its modern form, is essentially inclusive fitness theory. Inclusive fitness encompasses conventional Darwinian fitness with the addition of behaviors that contribute to an organism’s individual fitness through altruism. ... This article is about the British biologist Bill Hamilton. ...


Inclusive fitness theory resolved the issue of how "altruism" evolved. The dominant, pre-Hamiltonian view was that altruism evolved via group selection: the notion that altruism evolved for the benefit of the group. The problem with this was that if one organism in a group incurred any fitness costs on itself for the benefit of others in the group, (i.e. acted "altruistically"), then that organism would reduce its own ability to survive and/or reproduce, therefore reducing its chances of passing on its altruistic traits. Furthermore, the organism that benefited from that altruistic act and only acted on behalf of its own fitness would increase its own chance of survival and/or reproduction, thus increasing its chances of passing on its "selfish" traits. Inclusive fitness resolved "the problem of altruism" by demonstrating that altruism can evolve via kin selection as expressed in Hamilton's rule: In evolutionary biology, group selection refers to the idea that alleles can become fixed or spread in a population because of the benefits they bestow on groups, regardless of the fitness of individuals within that group. ... Kin Selection is the phrase used to refer to changes in gene frequency driven by natural selection that can only be understood by looking at how biological relatives influence the fitness of each other. ...

cost < relatedness × benefit

In other words, altruism can evolve as long as the fitness cost of the altruistic act on the part of the actor is less than the degree of genetic relatedness of the recipient times the fitness benefit to that recipient. This perspective reflects what is referred to as the gene-centered view of evolution and demonstrates that group selection is a very weak selective force. However, in recent years group selection has been making a comeback, (albeit a controversial one), as multilevel selection, which posits that evolution can act on many levels of functional organization, (including the "group" level), and not just the "gene" level. The gene-centered view of evolution, gene selection theory or selfish gene theory holds that natural selection acts through differential survival of competing genes, increasing the frequency of those alleles whose phenotypic effects successfully promote their own propagation. ... In evolutionary biology, group selection refers to the idea that alleles can become fixed or spread in a population because of the benefits they bestow on groups, regardless of the fitness of individuals within that group. ...


Overview of some foundational ideas related to evolutionary psychology

System level and problem
Author
Basic ideas
Example adaptations

System Level:


Individual


Problem:


How to survive?

Charles Darwin (1859)
Natural Selection (or “survival selection”)

The bodies and minds of organisms are made up of evolved adaptations designed to help the organism survive in a particular ecology (for example, the white fur of polar bears).
For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ...

Bones, skin, vision, pain perception, etc.

System Level:


Dyad


Problem:


How to attract a mate and/or compete with members of one's own sex for access to the opposite sex?

Charles Darwin (1859)
Sexual selection

Organisms can evolve physical and mental traits designed specifically to attract mates (e.g., the Peacock’s tail) or to compete with members of one’s own sex for access to the opposite sex (e.g., antlers). For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ...


In most species with pronounced sexual selection, the adaptations are in males. These adaptations tend to evolve in species in which a successful male mates with multiple females. For instance, they appear in peacocks but not raptors, which are generally monogamous. Females rarely evolve such adaptations because being the "top female" doesn't improve a female's reproductive career as much as being "top man" improves a man's reproductive outcome.

Peacock’s tail, antlers, courtship behavior, etc

System Level:
Family & Kin


Problem:


Gene replication. How to help those with whom we share genes survive and reproduce?

W.D. Hamilton (1964)
Inclusive fitness (or a "gene’s eye view" of selection, "kin selection") / The evolution of sexual reproduction

Selection occurs most robustly at the level of the gene, not the individual, group, or species. Reproductive success can thus be indirect, via shared genes in kin. Being altruistic toward kin can thus have genetic payoffs. (Also see Gene-centered view of evolution) Also, Hamilton argued that sexual reproduction evolved primarily as a defense against pathogens (bacteria & viruses) to "shuffle genes" to create greater diversity, especially immunological variability, in offspring. This article is about the British biologist Bill Hamilton. ... The gene-centered view of evolution, gene selection theory or selfish gene theory holds that natural selection acts through differential survival of competing genes, increasing the frequency of those alleles whose phenotypic effects successfully promote their own propagation. ...

Altruism toward kin, parental investment, the behavior of the social insects with sterile workers (e.g., ants).

System Level:
Non-kin small group


Problem:
How to succeed in competitive interactions with non-kin? How to select the best strategy given the strategies being used by competitors?

Robert Trivers (1972)
Parental Investment Theory / Parent - Offspring Conflict / Reproductive Value

The two sexes often have conflicting strategies regarding how much to invest in offspring, and how many offspring to have. Robert L. Trivers, (born 19 February 1943) is an American evolutionary biologist and sociobiologist, most noted for proposing the theories of reciprocal altruism (1971), parental investment (1972), and parent-offspring conflict (1974). ...


Parents allocate more resources to their offspring with higher reproductive value (e.g., "mom always liked you best"). Parents and offspring may have conflicting interests (e.g., when to wean, allocation of resources among offspring, etc.).

Sexually dimorphic adaptations that result in a "battle of the sexes," parental favoritism, timing of reproduction, parent-offspring conflict, sibling rivalry, etc.
System Level:

Non-kin small group Problem:


How to succeed in competitive interactions with non-kin? How to select the best strategy given the strategies being used by competitors?

John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern (1944);
John Maynard Smith (1982)

Game Theory / Evolutionary Game Theory For other persons named John Neumann, see John Neumann (disambiguation). ... Oskar Morgenstern (January 24, 1902 - July 26, 1977) was an German- American economist who, working with John von Neumann, helped found the mathematical field of game theory. ... Professor John Maynard Smith[1], F.R.S. (6 January 1920 – 19 April 2004) was a British evolutionary biologist and geneticist. ...


Organisms adapt, or respond, to competitors depending on the strategies used by competitors. Strategies are evaluated by the probable payoffs of alternatives. In a population, this typically results in an "evolutionary stable strategy," or "evolutionary stable equilibrium" -- strategies that, on average, cannot be bettered by alternative strategies.

Facultative, or frequency-dependent, adaptations. Examples: hawks vs. doves, cooperate vs. defect, fast vs. coy courtship, etc.
System Level:

Non-kin small group Problem:


How to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with non-kin in repeated interactions?

Robert Trivers (1971)
"Tit for Tat" Reciprocity

One can play nice with non-kin if a mutually beneficially reciprocal relationship is maintained across multiple social interactions, and cheating is punished. Robert L. Trivers, (born 19 February 1943) is an American evolutionary biologist and sociobiologist, most noted for proposing the theories of reciprocal altruism (1971), parental investment (1972), and parent-offspring conflict (1974). ...

Cheater detection, emotions of revenge and guilt, etc.
System Level:

Non-kin, large groups governed by rules and laws


Problem:


How to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with strangers with whom one may interact only once?

Herbert Gintis (2000, 2003); and others.
Generalized Reciprocity

(Also called "strong reciprocity"). One can play nice with non-kin strangers even in single interactions if social rules against cheating are maintained by neutral third parties (e.g., other individuals, governments, institutions, etc.), a majority group members cooperate by generally adhering to social rules, and social interactions create a positive sum game (i.e., a bigger overall "pie" results from group cooperation).


Generalized reciprocity may be a set of adaptations that were designed for small in-group cohesion during times of high inter-tribal warfare with out-groups.


Today the capacity to be altruistic to in-group strangers may result from a serendipitous generalization (or "mismatch") between ancestral tribal living in small groups and today's large societies that entail many single interactions with anonymous strangers. (The dark side of generalized reciprocity may be that these adaptations may also underlie aggression toward out-groups.)

To in-group members:

Capacity for generalized altruism, acting like a "good Samaritan," cognitive concepts of justice, ethics and human rights.


To out-group members:


Capacity for xenophobia, racism, warfare, genocide.

System Level:

Large groups / culture. Problem:
How to transfer information across distance and time?

Richard Dawkins (1976)
Memetic Selection

Genes are not the only replicators subject to evolutionary change. “Memes” (e.g., ideas, rituals, tunes, cultural fads, etc.) can replicate and spread from brain to brain, and many of the same evolutionary principles that apply to genes apply to memes as well. Genes and memes may at times co-evolve ("gene-culture co-evolution"). Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS (born March 26, 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. ... Meme, (rhymes with cream and comes from Greek root with the meaning of memory and its derivative mimeme), is the term given to a unit of information that replicates from brains and inanimate stores of information, such as books and computers, to other brains or stores of information. ...

Language, music, evoked culture, etc. Some possible by-products, or "exaptations," of language may include writing, reading, mathematics, etc.

Table from Mills, M.E. (2004). Evolution and motivation. Symposium paper presented at the Western Psychological Association Conference, Phoenix, AZ. April, 2004.


Middle-level evolutionary theories

Middle-level evolutionary theories are theories that encompass broad domains of functioning. They are compatible with general evolutionary theory but not derived from it. Furthermore, they are applicable across species. During the early 1970s, three very important middle-level evolutionary theories were contributed by Robert Trivers:[7][8][9] Robert L. Trivers, (born 19 February 1943) is an American evolutionary biologist and sociobiologist, most noted for proposing the theories of reciprocal altruism (1971), parental investment (1972), and parent-offspring conflict (1974). ...

  • The theory of reciprocal altruism explains how altruism can arise amongst non-kin, as long as there is a sufficient probability of the recipient of the altruistic act reciprocating at a later date. The possibility was also noted by Trivers, later coined 'indirect altruism' by Richard D. Alexander, that reciprocation could be provided by third parties, raising the issue of social reputation.
  • Parental investment theory refers to the different levels of investment in offspring on the part of each sex. For example, females in any species are defined as the sex with the larger gamete. In humans, females release approximately one large, metabolically costly egg per month, as opposed to the millions of relatively tiny and metabolically cheap sperm that are produced each day by males. Females are fertile for only a few days each month, while males are fertile every day of the month. Females also have a nine month gestation period, followed by a few years of lactation. Males' obligatory biological investment can be achieved with one copulatory act. Consequently, human females have a significantly higher obligatory investment in offspring than males do. (In some species, the opposite is true.) Because of this difference in parental investment between males and females, the sexes face different adaptive problems in the domains of mating and parenting. Therefore, it is predicted that the higher investing sex will be more selective in mating, and the lesser investing sex will be more competitive for access to mates. Thus, differences in behaviour between sexes is predicted to exist not because of maleness or femaleness per se, but because of different levels of parental investment.
  • The theory of parent-offspring conflict rests on the fact that even though a parent and his/her offspring are 50% genetically related, they are also 50% genetically different. All things being equal, a parent would want to allocate their resources equally amongst their offspring, while each offspring may want a little more for themselves. Furthermore, an offspring may want a little more resources from the parent than the parent is willing to give. In essence, parent-offspring conflict refers to a conflict of adaptive interests between parent and offspring. However, if all things are not equal, a parent may engage in discriminative investment towards one sex or the other, depending on the parent's condition.

Additional middle-level evolutionary theories used in EP include: In evolutionary biology, reciprocal altruism is a form of altruism in which one organism provides a benefit to another in the expectation of future reciprocation. ... Richard D. Alexander is an Emeritus Professor and Emeritus Curator of Insects at the Museum of Zoology of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Prof. ... Robert Trivers theory of parental investment predicts that the sex making the largest investment in lactation, nurturing and protecting offspring will be more discriminating in mating and that the sex that invests less in offspring will compete for access to the higher investing sex. ... Robert Trivers theory of parent-offspring conflict (1974) predicts that because the genetic interests of parents and offspring are not identical, offspring will be selected to manipulate their parents in order to ensure higher investment, and that, conversely, parents will be selected to manipulate their offspring. ...

  • The Trivers-Willard hypothesis, which proposes that parents should invest more in the sex that gives them the greatest reproductive payoff (grandchildren) with increasing or marginal investment. Females are the heavier parental investors in our species. Because of that, females have a better chance of reproducing at least once in comparison to males. Thus, according to the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, parents in good condition are predicted to favor investment in sons, and parents in poor condition are predicted to favor investment in daughters.
  • r/K selection theory, which, in ecology, relates to the selection of traits in organisms that allow success in particular environments. r-selected species, (in unstable or unpredictable environments), produce many offspring, each of which is unlikely to survive to adulthood, while K-selected species, (in stable or predictable environments), invest more heavily in fewer offspring, each of which has a better chance of surviving to adulthood.
  • Evolutionary game theory, the application of population genetics-inspired models of change in gene frequency in populations to game theory.
  • Evolutionary stable strategy, which refers to a strategy, which if adopted by a population, cannot be invaded by any competing alternative strategy.

In evolutionary biology, the Trivers-Willard hypothesis proposes that parents should invest more in the sex that gives them the greatest reproductive payoff (grandchildren) with increasing or marginal investment. ... In evolutionary biology, the Trivers-Willard hypothesis proposes that parents should invest more in the sex that gives them the greatest reproductive payoff (grandchildren) with increasing or marginal investment. ... In ecology, r/K selection theory relates to the selection of traits which promote success in particular environments. ... For the journal, see Ecology (journal). ... R-selected species (or opportunist species) is a term to describe a particular reproductive and survival strategy for organisms. ... K-selected species (or competitor species) is a term to describe reproductive and survival patterns in organisms. ... Evolutionary game theory (EGT) is the application of population genetics-inspired models of change in gene frequency in populations to game theory. ... Population genetics is the study of the distribution of and change in allele frequencies under the influence of the four evolutionary forces: natural selection, genetic drift, mutation, and migration. ... For other uses, see Game theory (disambiguation) and Game (disambiguation). ... The evolutionarily stable strategy (or ESS; also evolutionary stable strategy) is a central concept in game theory introduced by John Maynard Smith and George R. Price in 1973 (a full account is given by Maynard Smith, 1982). ... In game theory, a players strategy, in a game or a business situation, is a complete plan of action for whatever situation might arise; this fully determines the players behaviour. ...

Evolved psychological mechanisms

Evolutionary psychology is based on the belief that, just like hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, and immune systems, cognition has functional structure that has a genetic basis, and therefore has evolved by natural selection. Like other organs and tissues, this functional structure should be universally shared amongst a species, and should solve important problems of survival and reproduction. Evolutionary psychologists seek to understand psychological mechanisms by understanding the survival and reproductive functions they might have served over the course of evolutionary history. A psychological adaptation, also called an evolved psychological mechanism or EPM, is an aspect of a human or other animals psychology that serves a specific purpose, and was created and selected by evolutionary pressures. ... For other uses, see Reproduction (disambiguation) Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced. ... A psychological adaptation, also called an evolved psychological mechanism or EPM, is an aspect of a human or other animals psychology that serves a specific purpose, and was created and selected by evolutionary pressures. ...


While philosophers have generally considered human mind to include broad faculties, such as reason and lust, evolutionary psychologists describe EPMs as narrowly evolved to deal with specific issues, such as catching cheaters or choosing mates.


Some mechanisms, termed domain-specific, deal with recurrent adaptive problems over the course of human evolutionary history. Domain-general mechanisms, on the other hand, deal with evolutionary novelty.


Environment of evolutionary adaptedness

Evolutionary psychologists depict human psychological adaptations as adapted to life in a hunter-gatherer band a million years ago in Africa, before the evolution of modern Homo sapiens. EP argues that to properly understand the functions of the brain, one must understand the properties of the environment in which the brain evolved.


EEA and attachment theory

The term environment of evolutionary adaptedness, often abbreviated EEA, was coined by John Bowlby as part of attachment theory. It refers to the environment to which a particular evolved mechanism is adapted. More specifically, the EEA is defined as the set of historically recurring selection pressures that formed a given adaptation, as well as those aspects of the environment that were necessary for the proper development and functioning of the adaptation. In the environment in which ducks evolved, for example, attachment of ducklings to their mother had great survival value for the ducklings. Because the first moving being that a duckling was likely to see was its mother, a psychological mechanism that evolved to form an attachment to the first moving being would therefore properly function to form an attachment to the mother. In novel environments, however, the mechanism can malfunction by forming an attachment to a dog or human instead. John Bowlby (February 26, 1907 - September 2, 1990) was a British psychoanalyst, notable for his interest in child development and his pioneering work in attachment theory. ... Mother and child Attachment theory is a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory that provides a descriptive and explanatory framework for discussion of interpersonal relationships between human beings. ...


Evolution of humans

Humans, comprising the genus Homo, appeared between 1.5 and 2.5 million years ago, a time that roughly coincides with the start of the Pleistocene 1.8 million years ago. Because the Pleistocene ended a mere 12,000 years ago, most human adaptations either newly evolved during the Pleistocene, or were maintained by stabilizing selection during the Pleistocene. Evolutionary psychology therefore proposes that the majority of human psychological mechanisms are adapted to reproductive[citation needed] problems frequently encountered in Pleistocene environments. In broad terms, these problems include those of growth, development, differentiation, maintenance, mating, parenting, and social relationships. To properly understand human mating psychology, for example, it is essential to recognize that in the EEA (as now) women got pregnant and men did not. Species Homo sapiens See text for extinct species. ... The Pleistocene epoch (IPA: ) on the geologic timescale is the period from 1,808,000 to 11,550 years BP. The Pleistocene epoch had been intended to cover the worlds recent period of repeated glaciations. ...


Mismatches

If humans are mostly adapted to Pleistocene environments, then some psychological mechanisms should occasionally exhibit “mismatches” to the modern environment, similar to the attachment patterns of ducks. One example is the fact that although about 10,000 people are killed with guns in the US annually,[10] whereas spiders and snakes kill only a handful, people nonetheless learn to fear spiders and snakes about as easily as they do a pointed gun, and more easily than an unpointed gun, rabbits or flowers.[11] A potential explanation is that spiders and snakes were a threat to human ancestors throughout the Pleistocene, whereas guns, rabbits and flowers were not. There is thus a mismatch between our evolved fear learning psychology and the modern environment.


Controversies

Main article: Evolutionary psychology controversy

Applying evolutionary theory to animal behavior is uncontroversial. However, adaptationist approaches to human psychology are contentious, with critics questioning the scientific nature of evolutionary psychology, and with more minor debates within the field itself.[12][13] Criticisms of the field have also been addressed by scholars.[14]. Nevertheless prominent evolutionary biologists, such as H. Allen. Orr, have criticised the veracity of some claims of evolutionary psychology due to the claimed "low evidentiary standards" with regards to the measuring of fitness, with an over-emphasis of analysis on asymmetry across left vs. right body sides. The antecedent of evolutionary biology, sociobiology, has also been criticised for over-emphasis on "just so stories" by Stephen Jay Gould, with similar critiques more recently from Jerry Fodor. The purpose of this article is to outline the various criticisms of evolutionary psychology, as well as counterarguments to these criticisms. ...


See also

Behavioural genetics is the field of biology that studies the role of genetics in animal (including human) behaviour. ... Dual inheritance theory, (or DIT), in sharp contrast to the notion that culture overrides biology, posits that humans are products of the interaction between biological evolution and cultural evolution. ... The gene-centered view of evolution, gene selection theory or selfish gene theory holds that natural selection acts through differential survival of competing genes, increasing the frequency of those alleles whose phenotypic effects successfully promote their own propagation. ... Human behavioral ecology (HBE) or human evolutionary ecology applies the principles of evolutionary theory and optimization to the study of human behavioral and cultural diversity. ... The following is a list of evolutionary psychologists or prominent contributors to the field of evolutionary psychology. ... Evolutionary neuroscience is a young field which awaits a general unified theory of neuroscience in order for its full integration into the accepted framework of evolutionary biology. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Evans, Dylan. Introducing Evolutionary Psychology, 2nd Edition (Introducing... S.). Toronto: Totem Books. ISBN 1-84046-668-5. 
  2. ^ evolutionary psychology Psyche Games. Accessed August 22, 2007
  3. ^ Ghiselin MT (1973). "Darwin and Evolutionary Psychology: Darwin initiated a radically new way of studying behavior". Science 179 (4077): 964–968. doi:10.1126/science.179.4077.964. PMID 17842154. 
  4. ^ Tooby, John; Barkow, Jerome H.; Cosmides, Leda (1995). The Adapted mind: evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-510107-3. 
  5. ^ a b Cosmides, L; Tooby J (1997-01-13). Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer. Center for Evolutionary Psychology. Retrieved on 2008-02-16.
  6. ^ See for examples, Gould, S.J. (2002) The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.
  7. ^ Trivers, Robert L. (March 1971). "The evolution of reciprocal altruism". Quarterly Review of Biology 46 (1): 35-57. 
  8. ^ Trivers, Robert L. (1972). "Parental investment and sexual selection", in Bernard Campbell: Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871-1971. Aldine Transaction (Chicago), 136-179. ISBN 0202020053. 
  9. ^ Trivers, Robert L. (1974). "Parent-offspring conflict". American Zoologist 14 (1): 249-264. The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. doi:10.1093/icb/14.1.249. 
  10. ^ CDC pdf
  11. ^ Ohman, A.; Mineka, S. (2001). "Fears, phobias, and preparedness: Toward an evolved module of fear and fear learning". Psychological Review 108 (3): 483-522. Retrieved on 2008-02-16. 
  12. ^ Alcock, John (2001). The Triumph of Sociobiology. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516335-4. 
  13. ^ Segerstråle, Ullica Christina Olofsdotter (2000). Defenders of the truth : the battle for science in the sociobiology debate and beyond. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850505-1. 
  14. ^ Tooby, J (2005), [Conceptual foundations of evolutionary psychology, <[http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/papers/bussconceptual05.pdf> ; in Buss, David M. (2005). Handbook of evolutionary psychology. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-26403-2. 

is the 234th day of the year (235th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... Leda Cosmides Leda Cosmides, (born May 7, 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American psychologist, who, together with anthropologist husband John Tooby, helped pioneer the field of evolutionary psychology. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... For the band, see 1997 (band). ... is the 13th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 47th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 47th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ...

References

  • Barkow, Jerome H.. Missing the Revolution: Darwinism for Social Scientists. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-19-513002-2. 
  • Buss, David M. (2004). Evolutionary psychology: the new science of the mind. Boston: Pearson/A and B. ISBN 0-205-37071-3. 
  • Clarke, Murray (2004). Reconstructing reason and representation. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-03322-4. 
  • Joyce, Richard. The Evolution of Morality (Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology). Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-10112-2. 
  • Miller, Geoffrey P. (2000). The mating mind: how sexual choice shaped the evolution of human nature. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-49516-1. 
  • Pinker, Steven (1997). How the mind works. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-04535-8. 
  • Pinker, Steven (2002). The blank slate: the modern denial of human nature. New York, N.Y: Viking. ISBN 0-670-03151-8. 
  • Richards, Janet C. (2000). Human nature after Darwin: a philosophical introduction. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-21243-X. 
  • Wilson, Edward Raymond (2000). Sociobiology: the new synthesis. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-00089-7. 
  • Wright, Robert C. M. (1995). The moral animal: evolutionary psychology and everyday life. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-76399-6. 

Further reading

  • Buss, D. M. (1995). Evolutionary psychology: A new paradigm for psychological science. Psychological Inquiry, 6, 1-30. Full text
  • Durrant, R., & Ellis, B.J. (2003). Evolutionary Psychology. In M. Gallagher & R.J. Nelson (Eds.), Comprehensive Handbook of Psychology, Volume Three: Biological Psychology (pp. 1-33). New York: Wiley & Sons. Full text
  • Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (2005). Conceptual foundations of evolutionary psychology. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (pp. 5-67). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Full text

David Buss is a professor of psychology at University of Texas, Austin. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... Leda Cosmides Leda Cosmides, (born May 7, 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American psychologist, who, together with anthropologist husband John Tooby, helped pioneer the field of evolutionary psychology. ...

External links

Scholarpedia is an online wiki-based encyclopedia in which articles are written by invited expert authors and are subject to peer review. ... The Open Directory Project (ODP), also known as dmoz (from , its original domain name), is a multilingual open content directory of World Wide Web links owned by Netscape that is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors. ... The Citizendium (pronounced the citizens compendium of everything) is an English-language online wiki-based free encyclopedia project spearheaded by Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia. ...

Academic societies

This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Journals

  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • The Journal of Social, Evolutionary & Cultural Psychology
  • Evolution and Human Behavior; journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society
  • Biological Theory: Integrating Development, Evolution and Cognition; publishes theoretical advances in the fields of biology and cognition, emphasizing the conceptual integration afforded by evolutionary and developmental approaches. Free access to Winter 2006 issues

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A psychologist is an expert in psychology, the systematic investigation of the human body, including behavior, cognition, and affect. ... For other uses, see Emotion (disambiguation). ... means basic pussy and the dick In psychology, biological psychology or psychobiology[1] is the application of the principles of biology to the study of mental processes and behavior. ... The Greek letter Psi is often used as a symbol of psychology. ... Cognitive Psychology is the school of psychology that examines internal mental processes such as problem solving, memory, and language. ... The field of cognitive neuroscience concerns the scientific study of the neural mechanisms underlying cognition and is a branch of neuroscience. ... A brain of a cat Psychologists and scientists do not always agree on what should be considered Comparative Psychology. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Experimental psychology approaches psychology as one of the natural sciences, and therefore assumes that it is susceptible to the experimental method. ... Mathematical Psychology is an approach to psychological research that is based on mathematical modeling of perceptual, cognitive and motor processes, and on the establishment of law-like rules that relate quantifiable stimulus characteristics with quantifiable behavior. ... Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology and neurology that aims to understand how the structure and function of the brain relate to specific psychological processes and overt behaviors. ... Personality psychology is a branch of psychology which studies personality and individual differences. ... Physiological psychology is sometimes related to psychiatry, and in fact may end up becoming the parent branch which contains psychiatry. ... 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Industrial and organizational psychology (also known as I/O psychology, work psychology, work and organizational psychology, W-O psychology, occupational psychology, personnel psychology or talent assessment) concerns the application of psychological theories, research methods, and intervention strategies to workplace issues. ... Legal psychology involves the application of empirical psychological research to legal institutions and people who come into contact with the law. ... Relationship counseling is the process of counseling the parties of a relationship in an effort to recognize and to better manage or reconcile troublesome differences. ... Educational psychology or school psychology is the psychological science studying how children and adults learn, the effectiveness of various educational strategies and tactics, and how schools function as organizations. ... 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  Results from FactBites:
 
Great Ideas in Personality--Evolutionary Psychology (996 words)
Evolutionary psychology is an evolutionary approach to human nature.
Sociobiology (of which evolutionary psychology is a subfield that particularly concerns humans) can be thought of as having, like any research program, a "hard core" of problem solving strategies that provide possible answers to vexing research questions, and a "protective belt" of promising research questions to be addressed by providing actual answers to these questions.
This is a scholarly discussion of evolutionary psychology.
Evolutionary psychology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4226 words)
Evolutionary psychology is closely linked to sociobiology, but there are key differences between them including the emphasis on domain-specific rather than domain-general mechanisms, the relevance of measures of current fitness, the importance of mismatch theory, and psychology rather than behaviour.
Evolutionary psychology proposes that the majority of human psychological mechanisms are adapted to reproductive problems frequently encountered in Pleistocene environments, and therefore should occasionally exhibit “mismatches” to the modern environment, similar to the attachment patterns of ducks.
Evolutionary Psychology is grounded on the theory that fundamentally psychology is based on biology.
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