Evolutionary psychology is essential to understand human behavior and the human mind. Evolution gives ultimate , not proximate explanations.
In ethology, the study of animal behavior, causation can be considered in terms of these two mechanisms.
- Proximate causation: Explanation of an animal’s behavior based on trigger stimuli and internal mechanisms.
- Ultimate causation: Explanation of an animal’s behavior based on the principles of evolution. The ultimate causation requires that the behavioral and physical traits are genetically heritable, and explains behavior by correlating behavioral traits to mechanisms that favor evolutionary development, such as natural selection.
Why are men more unfaithful and promiscuous then women?
- ultimate explanation: A woman can only have one offspring every few years. No matter with how many men she has sex. So she can only influence the genetic quality of her offspring, and try to find a good father, a good caretaker. A promiscuous man can have an unlimited number of offspring, the world record being many hundreds. So more partners gets more offspring for men. And thus the genes for promiscuity in men spread faster then the genes for faithfulness.
- proximate explanation: testosterone, culture, ….
Literature on Evolution
- Evolutionary Psychology Primer by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby
- Evolutionary Psychology and the Emotions
- The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture
- Human Behavior and Evolution Society
- Evolution and Human Behavior
- Human Behavior Research in Vienna
- The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
Richard Dawkins lecture on natural selection and evolutionary psychology Part 1/2
Richard Dawkins lecture on natural selection and evolutionary psychology Part 2/2
Richard Dawkins talking to Steven Pinker about Evolution and the Mind
Why Richard Dawkins Doesn’t Debate Creationists
- Barkow, J., Cosmides, L. and Tooby, J. 1992. The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary psychology and the
generation of culture. NY: Oxford University Press.
- Dawkins, R. 1986. The blind watchmaker. NY: Norton.
- Pinker, S. 1994. The language instinct. NY: Morrow.
- Williams, G. 1966. Adaptation and natural selection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.