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Describe and discuss Darwin's contribution to the development of psychology.

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Introduction

Psychology: Describe and discuss Darwin's contribution to the development of psychology. Darwin, Charles (1809-1882), an English naturalist and pioneer of experimental biology, proposed the idea that over time evolution could occur producing a new species through the process of adaptation to a new environment. Thus providing the theory of evolution, (Darwinism). Darwin spent nearly 20 years building up evidence to support his theory of evolution before publishing it in "The Origin of Species"(1859) His idea's though welcomed by biologists aroused bitter controversy. Theory of evolution: a theory that accounts for the diversity of living species and the fact that the characteristics of individuals change, i.e. evolve. Darwin proposed a theory to account for the forces behind the change; as the environment changes or an individual moves to a new environment, new traits are needed to ensure survival. ...read more.

Middle

* Heritability: Some of the variation that occurs in a species is inherited. As a result of this the offspring tend to resemble their parents characteristics and mannerisms, rather than resembling that of the other members of the species. * Competition: The members of most species produce more offspring than can survive. However, animals compete for things like mates, food and places to live. Those individuals who lose the competitions are less likely to reproduce. * Natural Selection: The individuals who survive the process of competition and go on to reproduce will tend to have the characteristics that are better suited to the environment, than those who do not. Thus providing us with the initial explanation to natural selection or "survival of the fittest." ...read more.

Conclusion

Darwin was greatly influenced by the work and studies of Malthus. Thomas Malthus, (1766-1834), a British economist, in 1798 published his Essay on the principle of population, a pessimistic study warning that population growth, which is geometric, will eventually outstrip food production, which grows arithmetically. His theories influenced the work of Darwin in the line of reasoning that led to his principle of natural selection and the survival of the fittest. Malthus and Darwin were both pessimistic about the chances of any species showing reproductive restraint. As a result of this, Darwin reasoned that what must happen is that there will be ever-increasing competition for the finite resources. Competition exerts selective pressure because those who lose, when resources are limited, fail to reproduce. The Theory of Evolution is relevant to the study of psychology as without a relevant hypothesis of evolution (change over time). There would be no analysis for psychology itself. ...read more.

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