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Psy. 190 Current Issues in Psychology, Spring 2004
Evolutionary Psychology Paper
Evolutionary differences can be explained in the same terms as the principles of natural selection. However, rather than relying on physical features and characteristics that increase the likelihood of leaving genetic material to future generations (i.e. having grandchildren) evolutionary psychology stresses the importance of favorable psychological and behavioral traits. Like their physical counterparts, these socially malleable personality traits increase the likelihood of success in the ability to adapt to a changing environment and ultimately reproduce themselves in successive generations. These dominant genes have allowed ancestors to adapt to changes to life in social contexts much in the same way dominant and preferable physical traits ensured longevity in the past.
As a classic "chicken and egg" argument, this "nature vs.nurture" debate fuels the incendiary disconnect between evolutionary explanations of behaviors and ones that rely on permutations that are cultural in origin. However, as noted in our text, Sex and Gender, under the article, "Does Evolutionary Theory Explain Sex Differences in Humans", the goal of evolutionary psychology is to "gain understanding of the evolutionary processes underlying cultural phenomenon."
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