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How Does Evolutionary Psychology Explain Human Behavior

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Darwins Views On Evolution And Behavior

How Evolutionary Psychology Explains Human Behavior

When most people think of evolution, they usually think about how animals physical characteristics evolved through natural selection. So they might think about how giraffes got their long necks or why male peacocks ended up having big, colorful tails.

Most people dont think about the role that evolutionary processes played in the development of behavioral and psychological characteristics.

But we can ask evolutionary questions about behavior, such as why cats hiss rather than making some other noise when threatened, or why many animals react to staring eyes.

Or, getting closer to home, we can ask: Why do people scrunch up their noses when theyre disgusted? Why do people tend to like attractive people more than unattractive people? Why are we are more afraid of snakes than we are of cars? What evolutionary processes led to these consistencies in peoples reactions?

Thinking about evolution is important for understanding certain mysteries of human behavior because, in some cases, the answer to the puzzle has something to do with how human nature evolved.

Charles Darwin recognized that his theory of natural selection applied not only to the evolution of physical characteristics, but also to behavioral and emotional reactions. But Darwin also knew that his ideas encountered greater acceptance when applied to the evolution of other animals, rather than that of people.

Learn more about solving psychological mysteries

Moral Psychology And Evolutionary Psychology

Many philosophers who work on moral psychology understand that theirtopic is empirically constrained. Philosophers take two mainapproaches to using empirical results in moral psychology. One is touse empirical results to criticize philosophical accounts of moral psychology and one is to generate hypotheses about our moral psychology. For those who think that some of ourmoral psychology is based in innate capacities, evolutionarypsychology is a good source of empirical results and empirically basedtheory. One account of the make-up of our moral psychology followsfrom the massive modularity account of the architecture of the mind.Our moral judgments are a product of domain specific psychologicalmodules that are adaptations and arose in our hominid forebears inresponse to contingencies in our social environments. Thisposition is currently widely discussed by philosophers working inmoral psychology. An example of this discussion follows.

How Do Evolutionary Theorists Explain Behavior

Evolutionary Psychology Approach Psychological abilities, such as reading others intentions, making friends, and gaining trust, are known to help a person throughout life. Evolutionary psychologists believe that these skills are rooted in deeply complex neural circuits in the brain and that they are inherited.

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What Is The Sociobiological Theory

Sociobiology is a field of biology that aims to examine and explain social behavior in terms of evolution. … It argues that just as selection pressure led to animals evolving useful ways of interacting with the natural environment, so also it led to the genetic evolution of advantageous social behavior.

Does Evolution Explain Human Behavior


We reiterate that evolutionary theory provides an important framework for understanding behavioral variability within and across human populations, but we suggest that better integration between the subfields is required to establish a sufficient understanding of diversity. Specifically, research on the neurobiology of social behavior can help identify mechanisms by which genetic variation leads to differences in behavior, while studies on anthropological history can inform us about the actual extent of natural selection acting on various traits.

Evolutionary psychology aims to explain individual differences in behavior as resulting from the action of genes on the environment during reproductive cycles. This field has been extensively debated throughout the years, but it’s increasingly accepted that genetics play a role in determining many behaviors. For example, scientists have found evidence that individuals with certain genetic variants are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors such as smoking or taking drugs. Studies like these can help understand why some people use tobacco and others don’t even try it out.

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How Hardwired Is Human Behavior

New fields of science dont emerge in a flash, and evolutionary psychologysometimes called modern Darwinismis no exception. But over the past several years, evolutionary psychology as a discipline has gathered both momentum and respect. A convergence of research and discoveries in genetics, neuropsychology, and paleobiology, among other sciences, evolutionary psychology holds that although human beings today inhabit a thoroughly modern world of space exploration and virtual realities, they do so with the ingrained mentality of Stone Age hunter-gatherers. Homo sapiens emerged on the Savannah Plain some 200,000 years ago, yet according to evolutionary psychology, people today still seek those traits that made survival possible then: an instinct to fight furiously when threatened, for instance, and a drive to trade information and share secrets. Human beings are, in other words, hardwired. You can take the person out of the Stone Age, evolutionary psychologists contend, but you cant take the Stone Age out of the person.

You can take the person out of the Stone Age, not the Stone Age out of the person.

Evolutionary Psychology : A Convergence of Research and Controversy

The central proposition of evolutionary psychologythat human beings retain the mentality of their Stone Age forebearsgathers its strength from six convergent sources of scientific research.

Common Criticisms Of The Field

Undoubtedly, evolutionary psychology is fascinating, not least because of its willingness to combine ideas and research from multiple cutting-edge fields including cognitive science, anthropology, information theory, and genetics.

However, it has the power to upset communities and meets resistance from academics for several reasons, including :

  • Conceptual concernsRegarding the underlying theory of evolutionary psychology
  • Political implicationsThe impact that the ideas and research have from a political and a social point of view
  • ValidityCan we rely on the work, the results, and what they appear to tell us?
  • Sampling concernsConcerns regarding the sampling and the participants used studies
  • Religious mattersThe incongruity with religious teachings

While concerns arise for political, social, methodological, and epistemological reasons, there is also resistance to evolutionary psychologys potential as an organizing paradigm for all of existing psychology .

Some of the challenges, especially those from a religious perspective, arise from resistance to seeing us as indistinct from animals .

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How Does Evolution Influence Behavior


. Simply so, does evolution explain human behavior?

Evolutionary psychology is one of many biologically informed approaches to the study of human behavior. Along with cognitive psychologists, evolutionary psychologists propose that much, if not all, of our behavior can be explained by appeal to internal psychological mechanisms.

Likewise, how does behavior play a role in the evolution of species? For new species to evolve, populations must be reproductively isolated from each other. Explain how behavior can play a role in the evolution of species. Behavioral isolation can occur when two. populations that could otherwise interbreed do not because of differences in behavior.

Keeping this in view, how does evolution relate to psychology?

In short, evolutionary psychology is focused on how evolution has shaped the mind and behavior. Evolutionary Psychology proposes that the human brain comprises many functional mechanisms, called psychological adaptations or evolved cognitive mechanisms designed by the process of natural selection.

How does natural selection affect human behavior?

In a population, individuals show different behaviour. It is about the effects of human selection on fish behavior. The basic mechanisms are the same as natural selection. Individuals can also learn and modify their behavior, so that they can escape the selective pressure.

What Is Mating Behavior

Evolutionary Psychology: What is it and How Might it Explain Human Behavior?

The hot topic of evolutionary theory is a reproductive success. And it is about the study of Parental investment that is the quantity of parental investment that is done by the males and females of a species. In various species, both members do not invest equally. The result appears in two consequences:

  • The less investing member fights with the same sex to mate with the opposite sex.
  • The member that invests more gets a chance of more discrimination during the selection of the opposite sex.

These are explained by the following patterns of parental investment:

Sexual selection:

Sexual selection is similar to natural selection. Similar to natural selection, this selection also makes the organisms more likely to mate. Some features of sexual selection are not very helpful for survival but these only for attracting the opposite sex like flashy tail feathers.


It is a situation in which a male member of species mates with more than one female. You can observe it as a common feature for many animal species. For a polygynous system of mating, a male has to fight with other male members of species to get access to the female. This is because females only pick the winners. It ensures that the offspring will have a healthy, strong, and good gene.

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Soldiers As Killing Machines: Societal Cost Of Overrulingfundamental Evolutionary Mechanisms

There is yet another layer of complexity, adding the above factors, which may challenge cooperation between groups and beyond small groups today. Humans have an innate aversion to killing members of their own species. Despite this, and notwithstanding the fact that all human beings have rational, altruistic and empathetic potential, humans kill each other. Acting against our nature in this waythat is, overruling our fundamental evolutionary mechanismscould heighten the risk of violence and the fear of others in our societies generally.

In order to overcome their aversion towards the brutal killing of their enemies, soldiers are trained to dehumanise the enemyto treat the other as a bad object that can be killed without remorse. While, at the same time, allied soldiers are seen as models of brotherhood, whose patriotic, religious and righteousness feelings are presented as an uppermost ideal. This rote programmingtraining soldiers as killing machinesmagnifies the hostility towards the other.

Basics Of Evolutionary Theory

Evolution simply means change over time. Many think of evolution as the development of traits and behaviors that allow us to survive this dog-eat-dog world, like strong leg muscles to run fast, or fists to punch and defend ourselves. However, physical survival is only important if it eventually contributes to successful reproduction. That is, even if you live to be a 100-year-old, if you fail to mate and produce children, your genes will die with your body. Thus, reproductive success, not survival success, is the engine of evolution by natural selection. Every mating success by one person means the loss of a mating opportunity for another. Yet every living human being is an evolutionary success story. Each of us is descended from a long and unbroken line of ancestors who triumphed over others in the struggle to survive and reproduce. However, in order for our genes to endure over timeto survive harsh climates, to defeat predatorswe have inherited adaptive, psychological processes designed to ensure success.

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A Suggested Further Reading

  • Barkow, Jerome, Leda Cosmides, and John Tooby, eds. . The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • The manifesto of Evolutionary Psychology.
  • Barrett, Louise, Robin Dunbar, and John Lycett, eds. . Human Evolutionary Psychology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • A very useful textbook of evolutionary psychology in the broad sense, covering both Evolutionary Psychology and Human Behavioral Ecology.
  • Buller, David . Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • A philosophical critique of Evolutionary Psychology, arguing that the empirical tests Evolutionary Psychologists rely on to establish that current Homo sapiens possesses the postulated cognitive adaptations in the areas of cheater detection, mating, marriage, and parenthood are flawed.
  • Buss, David . Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  • The textbook of Evolutionary Psychology, written by one of its most ardent advocates.
  • Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby . Cognitive Adaptations for Social Exchange. In: The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Eds. Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides, and John Tooby. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 163228.
  • The classic paper on cheater detection.
  • Dawkins, Richard . The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Pinker, Steven . How the Mind Works. New York: Norton.
  • Principles Of Evolutionary Psychology

    Evolutionary Psychology

    Evolutionary psychology is a well-defined discipline of study and research, with fundamental foundations that have developed and continue to guide new studies. There are five basic principles of evolutionary psychology:

    • Your brain is a physical system that instructs you to behave in a manner appropriate and adaptive to your environment.
    • The neural circuitry of your brain helps you solve problems in an appropriate manner. The specific ways that the neural circuitry is constructed were directed by natural selection, over the course of generations.
    • Most of your psychological behaviors are determined subconsciously by your neural circuitry, and you are largely unaware of these subconscious processes. You rely on conscious decision-making to guide you in your daily life, and you may be aware of the conclusions resulting from the complex neural circuitry while remaining unaware of the underlying process involved.
    • Neural circuits in the brain are specialized to solve different adaptive problems. For example, the circuitry involved in vision is not the same as for vomiting.
    • Your mind is based on adaptive changes that originated in the Pleistocene era.

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    How Does The Biological Perspective Explain Human Behavior

    4.4/5biological perspectivehuman behaviorperspectivesof the answer

    The biological perspective on personality emphasizes the internal physiological and genetic factors that influence personality. It focuses on why or how personality traits manifest through biology and investigates the links between personality, DNA, and processes in the brain.

    One may also ask, why is the biological perspective important? The Biological Perspective seeks to determine the psychological aspects of human behavior looking at evidence from genetic and neurological studies as well as studies of the immune system. Also known as biopsychology, it has played a major role in psychology from the beginning.

    Consequently, how does the biological perspective explain thoughts feelings and behavior?

    It is the only approach in psychology that examines thoughts, feelings, and behaviors from a biological and thus physical point of view. he biological approach seeks to explain mental processes and behavior by focusing on the function of the nervous system at the cellular and structural level.

    What is behaviourist perspective all about?

    The behaviorist perspective is a theory of psychology that states that human behaviors are learned, not innate. The theory of behaviorism focuses on the study of observable and measurable behavior. It emphasizes that behavior is mostly learned through conditioning and reinforcement .

    Cultural Barriers And Negative Reporting

    The absence of a common identity create an obstacle to moving beyond the fear of the stranger and welcoming war refugees and migrants. Moreover, the negative reporting and alternative facts approach taken by a vast number of media outlets and politicians intensifies the divide. This fear mobilises the emotional circuits of the amygdala, neutralizing critical thinking, creating tunnel vision and leading to an aversion of the population to other identities.

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    Evolutionary Theory And Human Behaviors:

    With the help of evolutionary theory, evolutionary psychology explains the similarities of psychological characters. According to Evolutionary psychology process of natural selection evolves patterns of behaviors. It happens in the same way as physical characters evolve. And this is how the adaptive behaviors keep passing from one generation to the other.

    Humans are evolved as social, collaborating, compassionate, and charitable beings. They share these common identities in small groups. Similarly, humans remain trapped in a fear of strangers. This fear influences the ways of perceiving events and people. This also explains how humans react to newcomers in their societies.

    Evolutionary Psychology Natural Selection And Human

    Evolutionary Psychology: A Brief Overview

    Evolutionary psychology is a field specializing in hypotheses in which natural selection explains all human behaviors. According to this way of thinking, all of our modern behaviors are best understood as carryovers from those ancient behaviors that offered our ancestors evolutionary advantage over others.

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    Beyond Heritability: Twin Studies

    In this study, it talks about the general observations of 50 study samples regarding over 800,000 pairs of twins and how their behavior may have been impacted by genes or by their environment. Due to the ethical limitations of human experimentation, there can only be a conclusion that there are mild causal effects. Heritable estimations are quite frankly useless in these studies because the results purely depend on the environmental conditions of the study participants, and it only becomes applicable when all participants are in the same environment.

    If a separated teen is brought up in a rich environment, their gene makeup has a higher likelihood of being a factor in their upbringing. If his or her counterpart twin, in contrast, is brought up in a poor environment, the influence of their genes will be insignificant because of a less nurturing surrounding. Another example is the first sexual encounter on separated twins do their shared genetics influence them to take action around the same time? The answer is no, because such events are a result of the environmental influences of delinquency.

    Psychologist Eric Turkheimer states that there are essentially Three Laws of Behaviour Genetics:

    First Law: All human behavioural traits are heritable.

    Second Law: The effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes.

    He explains that genes only make up ~50% of our behaviours while the rest is influenced by our environment.

    Nature Or Nurture Or Both

    Given what we have discussed so far, is it genes or environment that influences behaviour? It is actually both genetic and social influences that contributes to an individuals behaviour. Below is a video that explains how both components contribute to an individual.

    Now that you understand how genes and environment work together, is it possible for one component to influence an individual more than the other? Below is an article that explains how grizzly bears conflict behaviour may attribute to genetic inheritance or social learning talk about beary bad behaviour!

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    How Does Sociobiology Explain The Development Of Human Behavior

    4/5sociobiologyexplain human behaviorsbehaviorshumans

    Correspondingly, what is sociobiology in psychology?

    Sociobiology is a field of biology that aims to examine and explain social behavior in terms of evolution. Within the study of human societies, sociobiology is closely allied to Darwinian anthropology, human behavioral ecology and evolutionary psychology.

    Also Know, who founded sociobiology? Sociobiology. Sociobiology, the systematic study of the biological basis of social behaviour. The term sociobiology was popularized by the American biologist Edward O. Wilson in his book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis .

    Similarly, what is an example of sociobiology?

    Sociobiology also examines behavior that indirectly contributes to reproduction. An example is the theory of optimal foraging which explains how animals use the least amount of energy to get the maximum amount of food. Another example is altruistic behavior .

    What do Sociobiologists study?

    Sociobiology is a field of scientific study which is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to explain and examine social behavior within that context.

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