Evolutionary Perspective in Psychology: Principles and Examples – PsychCentral.com

In the eternal quest to understand human behavior, does evolutionary psychology provide the missing link? Darwin may have approved.

You do the things you do for a multitude of reasons. Your childhood relationships, the challenges you’ve faced, and the chemical processes in your body are among the things that can influence your behaviors.

Evolutionary psychology adds ancestral traits to the equation.

The evolutionary theory says that the habits and cognitive traits that helped your ancestors survive have likely been passed down through the generations until making their way to you.

The evolutionary perspective in psychology is a purely theoretical approach. It allows for the assumption that many of your core behaviors and ways of processing information are a result of evolution.

Evolutionary psychology is partly based on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The theory was introduced in his 1859 book “On the Origin of Species.”

In sum, Darwin theorized that within a given population, specific traits are more helpful than others when it comes to the survival of the species. This is referred to as natural selection.

Traits that increase the chance of survival are more likely to be genetically passed on to future generations. This creates a process where undesirable traits are more likely to fade over time, while desirable traits carry on strongly.

For example, at some point, foxes with longer legs were able to escape predators more easily. As the shorter-legged foxes fell prey, only the long-legged foxes lived on to reproduce and pass on their genetic characteristics to their offspring. Over time, most or all foxes developed longer legs.

Evolutionary psychology applies this premise to human thinking and behavior.

Principles of evolutionary psychology

Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, two of the most influential evolutionary psychologists, outlined six core tenants of evolutionary psychology in a 2005 paper.

Tenet 1

Your brain’s purpose is to analyze information from the environment like a computer would process information. The brain is a physical system, and its pathways to process information are fine-tuned through natural selection.

“Pathways” refers to the connections between brain cells, or neurons, that allow messages to travel from one region of the nervous system to another.

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Source: https://psychcentral.com/health/evolutionary-psychology

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