Evolutionary psychology in the round

Robin Dunbar and Louise Barrett

in Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568308
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Evolutionary psychology in the round

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience



This article makes two general points on evolutionary psychology. First, the evolutionary approach enjoins a broad disciplinary perspective to the subject. Second, an evolutionary view does not commit to any particular assumptions about the genetic determination of behaviour. Indeed, learning, and by extension cultural transmission, play an especially important role in the behaviour of humans, and one will never be able to understand human behaviour without understanding culture and the way it influences what humans do. The important consideration in the present context is that the theory of evolution provides a framework within which a diverse range of intellectual questions can be integrated. The significance of this is well illustrated by the role it has played within biology. Evolutionary psychology, the article argues, is not a new and separate sub-discipline within psychology, but rather a framework theory that allows psychology's many diverse sub-disciplines to be integrated into a unitary whole.

Keywords: evolutionary psychology; behaviour; cultural transmission; humans; culture; theory; evolution; biology

Article.  4918 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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