Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: October 03, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956253 | Print ISBN: 9781412916707 | Online ISBN: 9781412956253| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Douglas T. Kenrick
Evolutionary psychology is the study of behavior, thought, and feeling as viewed through the lens of evolutionary biology. Evolutionary psychologists presume all human behaviors reflect the influence of physical and psychological predispositions that helped human ancestors survive and reproduce. On the evolutionary view, any animal's brain and body are composed of mechanisms designed to work together to facilitate success within the environments that were commonly encountered by that animal's ancestors. Thus, a killer whale, though distantly related to a cow, would not do well with a cow's brain, since the killer whale needs a brain designed to control a body that tracks prey in the ocean rather than eating grass in a meadow. Likewise, a bat, though also a mammal, needs a brain designed to run a tiny body that flies around catching insects at high speeds in the dark. Evolutionary psychologists ask: What are the implications of human evolutionary ...