Evolutionary Psychology - Research Methods

Research Methods

Evolutionary theory is heuristic in that it may generate hypotheses that might not be developed from other theoretical approaches. One of the major goals of adaptationist research is to identify which organismic traits are likely to be adaptations, and which are byproducts or random variations. As noted earlier, adaptations are expected to show evidence of complexity, functionality, and species universality, while byproducts or random variation will not. In addition, adaptations are expected to manifest as proximate mechanisms that interact with the environment in either a generally obligate or facultative fashion (see above). Evolutionary psychologists are also interested in identifying these proximate mechanisms (sometimes termed "mental mechanisms" or "psychological adaptations") and what type of information they take as input, how they process that information, and their outputs. Evolutionary developmental psychology, or "evo-devo," focuses on how adaptations may be activated at certain developmental times (e.g., losing baby teeth, adolescence, etc.) or how events during the development of an individual may alter life history trajectories.

Evolutionary psychologists use several strategies to develop and test hypotheses about whether a psychological trait is likely to be an evolved adaptation. Buss (2011) notes that these methods include:

Cross-cultural Consistency. Characteristics that have been demonstrated to be cross cultural human universals such as smiling, crying, facial expressions are presumed to be evolved psychological adaptations. Several evolutionary psychologists have collected massive datasets from cultures around the world to assess cross-cultural universalty.
Function to Form (or "problem to solution"). The fact that males, but not females, risk potential misidentification of genetic offspring (referred to as "paternity insecurity") led evolutionary psychologists to hypothesize that, compared to females, male jealousy would be more focused on sexual, rather than emotional, infidelity.
Form to Function (reverse-engineering – or "solution to problem"). Morning sickness, and associated aversions to certain types of food, during pregnancy seemed to have the characteristics of an evolved adaptation (complexity and universality). Margie Profet hypothesized that the function was to avoid the ingestion of toxins during early pregnancy that could damage fetus (but which are otherwise likely to be harmless to healthy non-pregnant women).
Corresponding Neurological Modules Evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuropsychology are mutually compatible – evolutionary psychology helps to identify psychological adaptations and their ultimate, evolutionary functions, while neuropsychology helps to identify the proximate manifestations of these adaptations.

Evolutionary psychologists also use various sources of data for testing, including experiments, archaeological records, data from hunter-gatherer societies, observational studies, self-reports and surveys, public records, and human products. Recently, additional methods and tools have been introduced based on fictional scenarios, mathematical models, and multi-agent computer simulations.

Read more about this topic:  Evolutionary Psychology

Other articles related to "research methods, methods, research, research method":

Clotaire Rapaille - Research Methods
... of "archetype discovery" stems from the psychoanalytic methods pioneered by the Viennese psychologist Ernest Dichter ... These research methods focus on finding what he calls the “code”, the unconscious meaning people give to a particular product, service or ...
River Valley High School, Singapore - River Valley High School Integrated Programme (RVIP) - Programmes - CID Extended Learning
... the opportunities to engage in individualised research in an area of strength ... All students must complete coursework in Research Methods and opt to undertake research in one of the following programmes the Junior Scientists Programme ... Research Methods Course The Research Methods Course is an extension of what the students have learnt in their Learning Clusters but in more depth and using the research method appropriate to the individualised ...
Earl Babbie - Published Books
... Ringer) 'Science and Morality in Medicine' (1970) 'Survey Research Methods' (first edition 1973) 'Society by Agreement' (first edition in 1977) 'Understanding Sociology' (1982) 'Apple Logo for ... and Fred Halley) 'The Basics of Social Research (first edition in 1999) 'Exploring Social Issues' (first edition in 1999 with Fred Halley, Joseph F ... Healy, and John Boli) 'Fundamentals of Social Research' (first edition in 2002 with Lucia Benaquisto) 'The Basics of Communication Research' (first edition in 2004 with Leslie Baxter) 'Social ...

Famous quotes containing the words methods and/or research:

    With a generous endowment of motherhood provided by legislation, with all laws against voluntary motherhood and education in its methods repealed, with the feminist ideal of education accepted in home and school, and with all special barriers removed in every field of human activity, there is no reason why woman should not become almost a human thing. It will be time enough then to consider whether she has a soul.
    Crystal Eastman (1881–1928)

    One of the most important findings to come out of our research is that being where you want to be is good for you. We found a very strong correlation between preferring the role you are in and well-being. The homemaker who is at home because she likes that “job,” because it meets her own desires and needs, tends to feel good about her life. The woman at work who wants to be there also rates high in well-being.
    Grace Baruch (20th century)