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Evolutionary Theory

Frank Schwab


While social sciences of the twentieth century could be characterized by endeavors to “de-biologize” human nature, evolutionary thinking has become increasingly presentable in scientific rationale. The most influential approach utilizing evolutionary theory to answer questions in respect of communication is evolutionary psychology (EP). EP (or Darwinian psychology) is focused on how evolution has shaped human mental architecture. EP is a theoretical approach to psychology that attempts to explain mental traits (cognitive architecture) as adaptations, i.e., as functional products of natural or sexual selection. This approach introduces the functional way of thinking about biological mechanisms to the field of psychology. Darwin and Wallace proposed that natural and sexual selection explain why organisms comprise a number of functional mechanisms that often exhibit a surprisingly complex evidence of design. This theory has important implications: (1) all evolved mechanisms must serve some function that ultimately increases the reproduction of the organism, and (2) the design of each mechanism will be best understood in relation to the environment it evolved in. EP has roots in cognitive psychology and evolutionary biology. It also draws heavily on behavioral ecology, artificial intelligence, genetics, (human) ethology, anthropology, archaeology, biology, and zoology. EP is closely ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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