Article

Niche construction, human behavioural ecology and evolutionary psychology

Kevin N. Laland

in Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568308
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198568308.013.0004

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Niche construction, human behavioural ecology and evolutionary psychology

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This article argues that the niche-construction approach is particularly germane to students of human evolution and to researchers using evolutionary methods to interpret human behaviour and society. Reasoning on the basis of niche-construction theory repudiates the suggestion, voiced by some leading evolutionary psychologists, that humans experience an atypically large ‘adaptive lag’, the idea that modern humans experience a gross discordance in their selective environments compared to those to which they are adapted. The niche-construction perspective is consistent with the philosophy and methods of human behavioural ecology, and confirms the potential applicability of behavioural ecological methods to all human societies. The article sketches how the niche-construction perspective brings with it a suite of novel hypotheses and methods of utility to human scientists.

Keywords: niche construction; human; evolution; behaviour; society; reasoning; adaptive lag; ecology

Article.  7672 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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