• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Evolutionary psychologists are concerned with functional explanations of human behaviour. How do evolutionary psychologists explain the evolution of the human mind?

Extracts from this document...


Evolutionary psychologists are concerned with functional explanations of human behaviour. How do evolutionary psychologists explain the evolution of the human mind? What are some of the methods evolutionary psychologists employ to investigate their claims? Evolutionary psychologists are interested in understanding how and why human abilities developed as they have today and assumed that human abilities are the results of a long period of evolution. (p.108) Functional approaches are also used by these evolutionary psychologists to explain the cause of some particular human behaviours rather than causal explanations which only explain the immediate causes of behaviour. In my essay, I will discuss how evolutionary psychologists explain the evolution of the human mind and look at the research methods used by these evolutionary psychologists to investigate their claims. Evolutionary psychologists believe that every organ and system in the human body comprises of both a functional and genetic basis. Control behaviour also emerged together with other human processes like distinct mental functions of perception, mind reading and emotional responding. Elements of evolution like time, genetic transmission and diversity, and natural and sexual selection over many generations also aid the evolutionary process (p. ...read more.


From the above, it is seen that evolutionary psychologists try to link the human mind to human behaviour and that the survival of human species indeed lies in the fact that humans make use of their mind to try to think in order to survive. Besides that, environmental pressures also influence the way in which human think and thus, create the evolution of a modular mind. As a result, developmental psychologists used the term 'theory of mind' to describe animals who have the ability to understand one another. This theory of mind-reading includes implicit mind-reading, counter-deception, recognition of intervening variables and experience projection. In particular, it is important to differentiate 'complex mind-reading' from 'simpler behaviour reading' (p.127). Inevitably, in the explanation of the evolutionary of the human mind, many evolutionary psychologists have to make use of a range of methods to support their theories and claims. Some of the methods are as follows: The first method consists that of natural history like observation, classification and induction. For example, Darwin had collected a wide range of samples of plant and animal life before classifying them to develop theoretical concepts in order to make sense of his data (p. ...read more.


It proposes how the human brains evolve (Machiavellian hypothesis and modular hypothesis), shows how the human evolution comes about through the studying of other animals as well as encourages an interdisciplinary approach and generating new investigations and understanding through the use of functional questioning. Undeniably, on the other hand, evolutionary psychology seems to suggest that humans are forced to behave in specific ways and the limitations with regards to the impact of change in which humans live. Thus, evolutionary psychology has only a limited amount of value as it is linked to human psychology, as what some critiques believed. In view of the criticisms, human creative intelligence makes us different from other animals and the way in which human live in the past does provide an impact on the way we live now as many of the survival instincts in humans can still be seen today. In conclusion, human behaviour is indeed difficult to explain and account for. "The mind is an equisitely organized system that accomplishes remarkable feats that no engineer can duplicate" (Stephen Pinker, p. 154). It is not an easy feat for evolutionary psychologists to explain the evolution of the human mind and due recognition should be given to them to acknowledge their contributions towards the study of the human mind. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Samuel and Bryant (conservation)Bandura, Ross and Ross (aggression)Hraba and Grant (doll choice) a. What ...

    by an adult, they would imitate this aggressive behaviour when they are given the chance. The researchers of this study generated 4 hypotheses: * "...subjects exposed to aggressive models will reproduce aggressive acts resembling those of the models..." * "...the observation of non-aggressive models will have a generalized inhibiting effect on the subject's subsequent behaviour..."

  2. IQ and intelligence tests.

    These arguments are unfounded, and have caused much controversy and debate. Suggestions such as those made by Jensen and Eysenck have had some very adverse social effects. Extreme right wing groups such as the national front have used the information to justify their arguments that certain racial groups are inferior.

  1. Is Popular culture an Influence on Violent Behaviour?

    obsession as was seen in the murder of James Bulger by two boys who were allegedly influenced by director Tom Holland's Child's Play III, a violent film about a possessed doll who goes on a killing spree. By using a child's toy as the main protagonist of violence, the director

  2. Developmental Psychologists.

    However, the level of discreteness of the various theories also varies with some being more discrete than others. Piaget's theory of Cognitive Development and the Psychosocial Development theory of Erikson are far more discrete than the Moral Reasoning Development of Kohlberg.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work