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Friday, November 7, 2014

Why isn't everyone an evolutionary psychologist?

By Darren Burke
Front. Psychol., 27 August 2014
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00910

Despite a widespread acceptance that the brain that underpins human psychology is the result of biological evolution, very few psychologists in any way incorporate an evolutionary perspective in their research or practice. There have been many attempts to convince mainstream psychology of the importance of such a perspective, mostly from those who identify with “Evolutionary Psychology,” and there has certainly been progress in that direction, but the core of psychology remains essentially unevolutionary. Here I explore a number of potential reasons for mainstream psychology continuing to ignore or resist an evolutionary approach, and suggest some ways in which those of us interested in seeing an increase in the proportion of psychologists adopting an evolutionary perspective might need to modify our tactics to increase our chances of success.

If we assume that very few highly educated people don't believe in biological evolution (which is a fairly safe assumption), then it follows that the vast majority of scientifically oriented psychologists, and psychology researchers believe that the neural mechanisms that underpin our psychological abilities and propensities are the product of evolution—of natural, kin, and sexual selection. It is puzzling, therefore, that there is not a more widespread acceptance of the importance of an evolutionarily informed approach in our science.

The entire article is here.