Evolutionary Psychology: A Critical Introduction

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9781405191227: Evolutionary Psychology: A Critical Introduction
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The last decade has witnessed a dramatic change in ourunderstanding of the way in which the mind operates and the reasonsbehind a myriad of human behaviours.  The traditional ideathat nurture trumps nature in explanations of human behaviour hasbeen supplanted by evolutionary psychological explanations, whichposit that human beings share evolved mental architectures thatgovern their behaviour.  Evolutionary Psychology bringstogether seminal work from key scholars in the field and exploresthe ways in which evolutionary psychological research canilluminate our understanding of human behaviours and nature.

Evolutionary Psychology provides a thorough introduction toevolutionary approaches to psychology, covering topics on:

  • Applications of evolutionary theory to psychology
  • The evolution of cognition and how it interacts withculture
  • Cooperation
  • Physical attraction, mate choice and sexual selection
  • Life history theory
  • Parenting and families
  • Personality and individual differences
  • Social cognition and psychoses
  • The future of evolutionary psychology

Written to support undergraduates and masters students studyingEvolutionary Psychology and Biological Psychology, this bookcritically evaluates the extant literature while maintaining theneed for evolutionary psychologies. 

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From the Back Cover:

The last decade has witnessed an exciting change in ourunderstanding of the way in which the mind operates the reasonsbehind a myriad of human behaviours. The traditional idea thatnurture trumps nature in explanations of human behaviour has beensupplanted by Evolutionary Psychologists, who argue that humanbeings share evolved mental architectures that govern theirbehaviour. Indeed, Evolutionary Psychological explanations havebeen postulated for all manner of human behaviour, from mate choicepreferences to jealousy, cheater detection to suicide bombing. Yet,not all research groups are in agreement with this perspective:some authors have challenged the Evolutionary Psychological focuson biological or genetic explanations of behaviour, while otherssuggest that the Evolutionary Psychological paradigm ismethodologically flawed. To be sure, it is now possible to findcritiques of Evolutionary Psychology from different viewpoints, anda common theme shared by such critiques is that an evolutionaryapproach to psychology is welcome but not sufficient. This volume,which will serve as an introduction to evolutionary approaches topsychology, will bring together seminal work in the field andexplore the ways in which evolutionary psychological research canilluminate our understanding of human behaviours and nature.Together, the chapters in this volume will present a freshperspective on evolutionary approaches to psychology, criticallyevaluating the extant literature while maintaining the need forevolutionary psychologies.

Most introductions to evolutionary approaches to psychology tendto take an uncritical stand, stemming from what has been dubbed‘Evolutionary Psychological’ viewpoints.The current volume begins from the same vantage point – thatan evolutionary psychology is required – butnevertheless critically examines the extant literature fromdifferent evolutionary perspectives (e.g., developmental systemssciences, evolutionary biology, evolutionary developmentalpsychology, cultural studies, etc). The list of potential authors(see attached document) has been compiled to reflect this criticalapproach.

About the Author:

Viren Swami trained as an evolutionary psychologist, and for his doctorate examined the roles that body shape and weight play in judgements of physical attractiveness across cultures. Viren’s current research in the area focuses on the influence of evolution, culture, and individual psychology on perceptions of human beauty, and his work has been widely discussed in national and international media. Viren is also currently conducting research in other fields of interpersonal attraction, including identifying predictors of positive body image, the effect of romantic love on partner perceptions, weight-based discrimination, and the history of beauty in art and sculpture. Other current projects include research on sociocultural adjustment among sojourners, and cross-cultural differences in lay beliefs about various topics, including intelligence, conspiracy theories, mental illness, and extraterrestrial life.

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