Evolutionary developmental psychology

Evolutionary Developmental Psychology

Evolutionary developmental psychology

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Evolutionary developmental psychology, (or EDP), is the application of the basic principles of Darwinian evolution, particularly natural selection, to explain contemporary human development. It involves the study of the genetic and environmental mechanisms that underlie the universal development of social and cognitive competencies and the evolved epigenetic (gene-environment interactions) processes that adapt these competencies to local conditions. It assumes that not only are behaviors and cognitions that characterize adults the product of natural selection pressures operating over the course of evolution, but so also are characteristics of children's behaviors and minds.

It further proposes that an evolutionary account would provide some insight into not only predictable stages of ontogeny, but into specific differences between individuals as well. Such a perspective suggests that there are multiple alternative strategies to recurring problems that human children would have faced throughout our evolutionary past and that individual differences in developmental patterns aren’t necessarily idiosyncratic reactions, but are predictable, adaptive responses to environmental pressures.

Brief history of EDP

Traditionally, evolutionary psychologists tended to focus their research and theorizing primarily on adults, especially on behaviors related to socializing and mating. There was much less of a focus on psychological development, as it relates to Darwinian evolution....
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