Evolutionary psychology (EP) is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations – that is, the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection. Adaptationist thinking about physiological mechanisms, such as the heart, lungs, and immune system, is common in evolutionary biology. Some evolutionary psychologists apply the same thinking to psychology, arguing that the mind has a modular structure similar to that of the body, with different modular adaptations serving different functions. Evolutionary psychologists argue that much of human behavior is the output of psychological adaptations that evolved to solve recurrent problems in human ancestral environments.
The adaptationist approach is steadily increasing as an influence in the general field of psychology.
Evolutionary psychologists suggest that EP is not simply a subdiscipline of psychology but that evolutionary theory can provide a foundational, metatheoretical framework that integrates the entire field of psychology, in the same way it has for biology.
Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations including the abilities to infer others' emotions, discern kin from non-kin, identify and prefer healthier mates, and cooperate with others. They report successful tests of theoretical predictions related to such topics as infanticide, intelligence, marriage patterns, promiscuity, perception of beauty, bride price, and parental investment.
The theories and findings of EP have applications in many fields, including economics, environment, health, law, management, psychiatry, politics, and literature.
Controversies concerning EP involve questions of testability, cognitive and evolutionary assumptions (such as modular functioning of the brain, and large uncertainty about the ancestral environment), importance of non-genetic and non-adaptive explanations, as well as political and ethical issues due to interpretations of research results.
Other articles related to "evolutionary psychology, evolutionary, psychology":
... Overall, evolutionary psychologists argue that many of the criticisms leveled against the field are straw men, are based on an incorrect nature vs ...
... Evolutionary psychology has its historical roots in Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection ... In The Origin of Species, Darwin predicted that psychology would develop an evolutionary basis In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches ... Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation ...
... See also Evolutionary ethics Part of the controversy has consisted in each side accusing the other of holding or supporting extreme political viewpoints ... Many critics have alleged that evolutionary psychology and sociobiology are nothing more than political justifications for the "status quo." Evolutionary psychologists have been accused of conflating "is" and "o ... Evolutionary psychology critics have argued that researchers use their research to promote a right-wing agenda ...
... Evolutionary psychology, noting that compulsive buying seems globally to affect mainly women, to be mood-enhancing, and to involve in general appearance-related items, suggests ...
... See also Evolutionary psychology of religion Despite a lack of agreement concerning the theoretical basis for work in cognitive science of religion, it is possible to outline some tendencies ... Most significant of these is reliance upon the theories developed within evolutionary psychology ... That particular approach to evolutionary explanations of human behaviour is particularly suitable to the cognitive byproduct explanation of religion that is most ...
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