WEP15508 - What is Evolutionary Psychology? Explaining the...

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1 What is Evolutionary Psychology? Explaining the New Science of the Mind Co-Directors, Center for Evolutionary Psychology University of California, Santa Barbara To be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (UK); Yale University Press (USA) DRAFT. Please do not cite or quote without authors’ permission CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION Debauching the mind: Evolutionary psychology's past and present The Standard Social Science Model 2. BACK TO BASICS Principle 1. The brain is a physical system that functions as a computer Principle 2. Our neural circuits were designed by natural selection Principle 3. Consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg Principle 4. Neural circuits are specialized Principle 5. Our modern skulls house a stone age mind 3. UNDERSTANDING THE DESIGN OF ORGANISMS Common descent and adaptation Why does structure reflect function? Seeing organization Design evidence Nature and nurture: An adaptationist perspective “Innate” is not the opposite of “learned” Specialized or general-purpose? Present at birth? Co-determinism and the twin fallacies of biological determinism and environmental determinism. More nature means more nurture Fear of genes Evolutionary psychology is not behaviour genetics What heritability does not mean Evolutionary psychology focuses on universal architecture Ultimate versus proximate explanation Is evolutionary psychology politically suspect? 4. REASONING INSTINCTS: AN EXAMPLE FROM SOCIAL EXCHANGE
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2 1. INTRODUCTION Debauching the mind: Evolutionary psychology's past and present In the final pages of the Origin of Species , after Darwin had presented the theory of evolution by natural selection, he made a bold prediction: "In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation." More than a century later, a group of young scholars began to work out exactly how Darwin’s fundamental insights could be used as a foundation on which to build a more systematic, scientifically accurate psychology. The resulting field is called evolutionary psychology . The goal of research in evolutionary psychology is to discover, understand, and map in detail the design of the human mind, as well as to explore the implications of these new discoveries for other fields. Evolutionary psychology is an approach to psychology, in which knowledge and principles from evolutionary biology are put to use in research on the structure of the human mind. It is not an area of psychology, like vision, reasoning, or social behaviour. It is a way of thinking about psychology that can be applied to any topic within it. What, then, is the mind?
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WEP15508 - What is Evolutionary Psychology? Explaining the...

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