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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Evolutionary perspectives on human behavior are almost as old as the science of psychology itself. A new brand of functionalism has emerged; it draws inspiration from developments in evolutionary biology in the past half-century. This chapter offers an overview of evolutionary biology as applied to human psychology. An ecological niche is discussed, and the critical issue of the nature of the niche humans entered and defined is addressed. Unusually, individuals’ fitness was highly dependent on their ability to attract, form, and maintain cooperative coalitions with others and harness the competencies of others to their own. Several broad, evolution-inspired proposals about human social behavior are described, illustrating how evolutionary perspectives offer integrative understanding of psychological phenomena and generate new research programs. Individual differences from an evolutionary perspective are addressed. Evolutionary perspectives, rather than representing alternatives to social or cultural perspectives, offer a means to construct foundationally integrative personality and social psychology.

Keywords: evolutionary psychology, adaptationism, human niche, social selection, developmental systems

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