Pros And Cons Of Evolutionary Psychology

1917 Words 8 Pages
Building on the work of Huxley, Tinbergen (1963) formulated four questions to tap into how organisms were structured and why they evolved the way they did (p. 411). Evolutionary questions typically fall into the why group as they address the ultimate levels of inference. Conversely, questions of ontology seek developmental answers for observable changes. Psychology is primarily concerned with the individual level of analysis, but in the case evolutionary psychology the theoretical and practical lines are much more blurred. This paper will provide a roadmap for the main positions held by evolutionary psychology while criticizing some of its key assumptions and theoretical blunders. Developmental issues will be frequently brought up to highlight …show more content…
For a long time, the central dogma and genocentric notions about behavior and anatomy formed an inappropriate theoretical framework for evolutionary explanations. The central dogma proposed a simple causal relationship from genes to traits. Genes were conceptualized as the only real contributors to heredity and traits altered by experience could not be passed down to the next generation (Rosenberg, 2006, p. 550). The word dogma should have served as a hint to comparably rigid explanations that are at best a simplified version of reality. Not surprisingly, evolutionary psychology received a lot of criticism for relying heavily on ill defined concepts, reductionism and exclusions of developmental explanations (Lickliter & Honeycutt, 2003; Racine, 2013). Interplay between genetics and environment is necessary for an adequate explanation of traits and individuals and their interactions are not necessarily linear and one-directional. Epigenetic inheritance has shown that phenotypic behaviors and the environment are involved in gene expression and regulation, yet evolutionary psychology has done little to update its theoretical foundations in light of this (Racine, 2013, p. 144; Rosenberg, 2006, p.559). Therefore, attempts to integrate development into an evolutionary framework must theoretically accommodate bidirectional influences, while also practically answer epigenetic …show more content…
Natural selection has a filtering property in that maladaptive traits, whether behavioral or otherwise, get selected out of the gene pool. Conversely, learned behaviors are mostly not under the influence of natural selection, and while they may be beneficial, they need not be adaptive. For example, cultural behaviors may play a big role in development, but does not alter the adaptive fitness of individuals. The assumption of the EDP model is that all evolutionary traits manifest, but it provides little explanation for what the conceptual parameters for how

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