Mach Report This Comment
Date: October 11, 2009 09:37PM
What is Evolutionary Psychology?
Our bodies evolved over eons, slowly calibrating to the African savanna on
which 98 percent of our ancestors lived and died. So, too, did our brains.
Evolutionary psychology postulates that the mind is shaped by pressure to
survive and reproduce. We jealously guard romantic partners and cherish our
closest relatives above all others, lest we fail to pass on our genes. We easily
acquire language, which is critical for cooperation and hence survival.
Differential calculus and sky-diving are much harder to fathom—such activities
did not exist for most of human history, and hence our brains are not adapted to
such scenarios. The fact that people nonetheless routinely undertake such
behavior is a testament to the plasticity of the brain and the importance of
individual differences. Evolutionary psychology acknowledges these forces but
stresses the ultimate (and largely unconscious) gene's eye view of