Article

Childhood experiences and reproductive strategies

Jay Belsky

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/9780198568308.013.0018

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Childhood experiences and reproductive strategies

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This article discusses one programme of theory-building dealing with childhood experience and reproductive strategy and relevant evidence. Before doing so, however, two foundational topics must be addressed. The first is the proposition that experiences early in life might shape developments later in life. The second is life-history theory, as this serves as the higher-level framework on which the article builds. For most students of child development, it is presumed that experiences in the early years of life influence individual differences in later development. The article suggests that the biological organisation of the human life course is something in need of explanation. Life-history theory is the metatheoretical framework within more general evolutionary theory that seeks to account for the timing of reproductive and lifespan developments in terms of evolved strategies for distributing metabolic resources between the competing demands of growth, maintenance, and reproduction.

Keywords: childhood; experience; reproductive strategy; life-history theory; lifespan; developments; growth; maintenance; reproduction

Article.  11889 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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