Explore BrainMass

Explore BrainMass

    Evolutionary Psychology Theories and Theorists

    Evolutionary psychology is grounded in Charles Darwin's work in evolutionary biology, particularly his theories of natural and sexual selection. William D. Hamilton's theory of inclusive fitness is also quite important. Natural selection states that those that are more suitable to the environment are more likely to survive and thus leave their more desirable genes available to the next generation. Sexual selection, on the other hand, favours traits that make mates more attractive to the opposite sex and therefore gives mating advantages. This obviously leads to their same genes being passed on more readily. Inclusive fitness is a theory of selflessness whereby a certain being will see it fit to protect not only himself, but also others who carry similar genetics – with the purpose of trying to increase the reproduction of its own superior genes. Through this type of group selection, you will see acts of 'altruism'.

    Evolutionary psychology uses these theories, but has developed it's own view that is largely independent of other biological fields. In particular, evolutionary psychologists believe that a relatively short period in history is responsible for a relatively large portion of our evolutionary development.

    According to Tooby and Cosmides, evolutionary psychology's theoretical foundations rest on the following six principles:¹

    1. The brain is a computer designed by natural selection to extract information from the environment.

    2. Individual human behaviour is generated by this evolved computer in response to information it extracts from the environment. Understanding behaviour requires articulating the cognitive programs that generate the behaviour.

    3. The cognitive programs of the human brain are adaptations. They exist because they produced behaviour in our ancestors that enabled them to survive and reproduce.

    4. The cognitive programs of the human brain may not be adaptive now; they were adaptive in ancestral environments.

    5. Natural selection ensures that the brain is composed of many different special purpose programs and not a domain general architecture.

    6. Describing the evolved computational architecture of our brains “allows a systematic understanding of cultural and social phenomena” ¹

    These theoretical underpinnings provides the reasoning to why evolutionary psychologists believe that all human behaviours should be explained by psychological mechanisms. This is what puts evolutionary psychology apart from other biological evolutionary research.




    1.Tooby, J. and L. Cosmides, 2005, “Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Psychology”, in The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, D. Buss (ed.), Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    Image: Nobel Laureates Nikolaas Tinbergen(left) and Konrad Lorenz (right)
    Source: Wikimedia Commons

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com May 28, 2020, 1:43 am ad1c9bdddf

    BrainMass Solutions Available for Instant Download


    Freud believed that dreams have a manifest and a latent content. Illustrate through an example, the manifest and latent content of a dream.

    Impact of Structuralism

    As an approach, structuralism attempted to break down consciousness into elements of consciousness for study. It assumed that studying these parts of consciousness would lead to an understanding of the whole issue. 1) Analyze the limitations and strengths of the method of studying consciousness in parts. 2) Identify and d

    Jung, Adler, Horney, Erikson and Freud

    Compare and contrast the theories of Jung, Adler, Horney, and Erikson with the theory of Freud. Compare and contrast their theoretical perspective, major concepts, and approach to therapy.

    Psychotherapy: Sensationalists, Rationalists, and Romantics

    The three groups, the sensationalists, the rationalists, and the romantics, have very different epistemologies. The sensationalists trusted the senses or sense experience to determine truth. While many of them also used reason to some degree, they placed a greater trust in the senses. The rationalists, while giving some credence

    Greek Influences

    When early Greek philosophers developed theories in the premodern period, they challenged many dominant assumptions of this period. Socrates and Plato were two of the most influential early philosophers who addressed the issue of the good life. For these two philosophers, the good life was an ethical life. Socrates and Plato had

    History and Systems of Psychology: Rationalism, Contemporary Culture, etc.

    1) Identify at least two examples of premodern, modern, and postmodern authoritarian views in contemporary culture and what are their impacts on the educational system (i.e., address the student and professor roles and the issue of academic freedom). 2) The beginning of rationalism is often traced to Descartes statement, "I thi

    Punishment-based interventions compared with reinforcement-based interventions

    There is much debate regarding the use of punishment to modify behaviors. Compare the effectiveness of punishment-based interventions with reinforcement-based interventions for modifying behavior. Include examples that support your position. Discuss what the literature suggests is the best approach for modifying behavior. Ind

    Performance Appraisals (in psychology)

    * Evaluate different performance appraisal methods that might be applied in the field of child psychology * Explain the various benefits and vulnerabilities of each performance appraisal method -400 words for 4 credits -NO References

    Industrial/Organizational Psychology

    Explain why industrial/organizational psychology should be considered a science. Include an explanation of how descriptive and inferential statistics are used in industrial/organizational psychology research *300 words for 3 credits *NO References

    Hobbes' Theory of Mind

    We know Descartes proved his theory that the mind and body was connected. Discuss whether Hobbs tested his theory and was it purely qualitative?

    Weisel's 1981 Nobel Lecture: Empiricism vs. Rationalism

    In Weisel's 1981 Nobel lecture, he reported research performed on cats and monkeys by depriving visual experience from these animals from birth. The animals failed to develop basic visual perception and only recovered very slightly after the deprivation had ended. However, he also noted that some basic visual processing capabili

    Evolutionary Theory of Attraction

    According to the authors, an evolutionary perspective takes "the long view—how people act today is based on behavior patterns that evolved from our species' hominid past." Explain how the evolutionary concept of reproductive fitness is related to attraction and love in men and women. Describe some of the criticisms that have b

    Environmental Factors-Skinner

    Dealing with unhealthy groups like gangs or cults is an important issue in social psychology. Bob is an adolescent who grew up in a gang-infested part of a large city. His parents provided little supervision while he was growing up and left Bob mostly on his own. He developed friendships with several kids in his neighborhood

    Criminal Behavior

    Explain whether or not evolutionary theory accounts for criminal behavior and why, using specific examples