Evolutionary Psychology


Although the name “evolutionary psychology” would appear both simple and self-explanatory, suggesting a rather straightforward application of evolutionary theory to both human and nonhuman psychology, appearances can be deceptive. The status of the discipline, and its recent history, is far from straightforward, and debates among various schools of thought have been rather fraught at times. In what follows, we lay out the origins of Evolutionary Psychology, Human Behavioral Ecology and Gene-Culture Co-Evolutionary theory, explore their central tenets, and discuss the links between them. We also identify areas of tension, and discuss some of the criticisms advanced at these different approaches, both from within and outside the discipline. We emphasize the need for a more pluralist, biosocial stance in which cultural explanations are not considered distinct from biological ones, nor as complementary, but as fully intertwined.

In International Encyclopedia of Anthropology