Parental impacts on development: How proximate factors mediate adaptive plans

Tamas Bereczkei

in Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology

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

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Parental impacts on development: How proximate factors mediate adaptive plans

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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In the light of the theory of evolution, parental impacts, like other environmental stimuli, are hypothesized to be processed by children's evolved psychological mechanisms. Various behavioural algorithms, decision rules, learning programs, and epigenetic rules transform input from the family context into behavioural output that presumably solved adaptive problems in evolutionarily relevant environments. This is why evolved physiological and psychological processes, considered as proximate mechanisms, are so crucial in the evolutionary explanations of human behaviour. This article clarifies the specific ways in which these mechanisms channel behavioural acts into adaptive decisions. A central task is to gain insights into the details of socialisation: how children process the information that comes from their parents and how this shapes adaptive patterns and states during development.

Keywords: evolution; parental impacts; children; psychological mechanisms; proximate mechanisms; human; behaviour; adaptive decisions; socialisation

Article.  10266 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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