Evolutionary Science of Human Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Approach
This up-to-date, accessible book represents the new wave in the evolutionary analysis of human behavior that involves a reexamination of old ideas in light of recent empirical advances in the biological sciences.
A solid foundation for an evolutionary science of behavior was established in the mid-20th century by Nobel laureates Niko Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz. They provided a framework to address four basic questions concerning the behavior of all organisms: evolution, development, causation (mechanisms), and function. All four questions will receive attention in this volume. However, today’s evolutionary approach also includes concepts and even entire new fields that were not part of this earlier synthesis.
The book is intended for professionals in the field of evolutionary psychology and other scholars who wish to know more about the interdisciplinary origins of an evolutionary approach to behavior, including graduate students and advanced undergraduates.
The book is divided into two parts. The first half of the book surveys disciplines relevant to applying an evolutionary perspective to the study of human behavior. The exponential growth of disciplines like molecular genetics, genomics, epigenetics, behavior genetics, ethology, primatology, developmental psychology, life history theory, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, neuroscience and endocrinology has resulted in a pressing need to re-organize and integrate this new knowledge. We believe that it is essential for evolutionary scholars to maintain a basic familiarity with all of these disciplines.
The second half of the book covers selected aspects of behavior and its development. Students of mainstream psychology and the social sciences will find themselves on familiar ground here. However, the treatment of emotional, cognitive, personality, and social development is organized within the framework of evolutionary theory. Important topics in early social development such as emotional expression, attachment, play, peer relations, cooperation, dominance behavior and aggression are covered in detail.
Equally fundamental topics dealing with cognition, theory of mind, communication and language are also presented. Readers will learn how these evolved systems emerge from earlier precursors and the processes by which they are transformed and reorganized over the lifespan.
Later chapters cover adolescence, mate selection, reproductive strategies, parental investment and marriage. Contemporary social problems involving coalitionary violence and suicide terrorism are given fresh treatment by incorporating evolutionary models. The last three chapters present exciting new evolutionary perspectives on physical diseases and mental illness. These include ethological approaches to mental illnesses, the need to examine sex differences in all health research, and a final chapter inviting one to rethink research and practice in public health in the light of modern evolutionary theory.
The first wave of evolutionary psychology textbooks was crucial in establishing courses within required psychology curricula and conveyed the promise and excitement of this emerging field. It is our hope that this edited volume will help to broaden and expand an integrated evolutionary perspective on human behavior.
Human behavior, Evolution
Biological Psychology | Psychology
LaFreniere, Peter J. and Weisfeld, Glenn E., "Evolutionary Science of Human Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Approach" (2014). Faculty and Staff Monograph Publications. 206.