Evolution and Human Behavior

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Overview

The past decade has seen an upsurge of interest in the application of evolutionary thinking to the study of human behavior. This introductory book provides an overview of the key theoretical principles of human sociobiology and evolutionary psychology and shows how they illuminate the ways humans think and behave. The book takes as one of its main premises the idea that we think, feel, and act in ways that once enhanced the reproductive success of our ancestors.

The book covers fundamental issues such as the origins and function of sexual reproduction, mating behavior, human mate choice, patterns of violence in families, altruistic behavior, the evolution of brain size and the origins of language, the modular mind, and the relationship between genes and culture. It also examines the larger implications of Darwinism for how we view ourselves as a species and our sense of ourselves as a moral animal. The book includes a valuable historical introduction to evolutionary theories of behavior and concludes with an examination of the social and political ramifications of evolutionary thought. It contains numerous diagrams and illustrations, comprehensive references, summaries, and suggestions for further reading.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262032810
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 7/24/2000
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John Cartwright is Senior Lecturer and teaching fellow at the University of Chester, where he teaches courses on evolutionary psychology, genetics and evolution, and animal behavior.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Boxes

Pt. I Fundamentals of the Evolutionary Approach 1

1 Historical Introduction: Evolution and Theories of Mind and Behaviour, Darwin and After 3

2 Darwinism, Inclusive Fitness and the Selfish Gene 30

3 Sex, Sexual Selection and Life History Theory 51

4 Foundations of Darwinian Psychology 79

Pt. II Human Evolution and its Consequences 93

5 The Evolution of Homo Sapiens 95

6 Encephalisation and the Emergence of the Human Mind 115

Pt. III Cognition and Emotion 45

7 Modularity, Cognition and Reasoning 147

8 Emotions 171

Pt. IV Cooperation and Conflict 189

9 Kin Selection and Altruism 191

10 Conflict Within Families and Other Groups 211

Pt. V Mating and Mate Choice 229

11 Human Sexual Behaviour: Mating Systems and Mating Strategies 231

12 Human Mate Choice: the Evolutionary Logic of Sexual Desire 247

13 Incest Avoidance and the Westermarck Effect 271

Pt. VI The Disordered Mind 285

14 Mental Disorders: Some Theoretical Approaches 287

15 Mental Disorders: Some Case Studies 305

Pt. VII Wider Contexts 325

16 The Evolution of Culture: Genes and Memes 327

17 Ethics 343

Epilogue: The Use and Abuse of Evolutionary Theory 361

Glossary 376

Bibliography 387

Index 411

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