Gracile Austrolapithecus 
     Evolutionary Psychology

              A new approach towards the study of the human
               mind and behaviour
Homo Egasar/Erectus
Table of  Contents

To find out more about Evolutionary Psychology (EP)

Just click the images below

1. Just what is

Ape to human princess

2. The Mind
The  modular
    human mind
Blank slate

3. Adaptation.
The mind is
   an adaptive
African hut

4. The mind.
A "savannah

The savannah mind

5. EP?
    Some beg

Adolf Hitler

6. Links and

The Ascent of Humanity



The mind: A modular human mind

MRI scan of the brain
The human brain
3D cutaway of left hemisphere

  A key tenet of evolutionary psychology is that the human mind at birth is not a tabula rasa ie a blank slate (tabula rasa is a concept first introduced by 18th century Scottish enlightenment philospher, John  Locke. ).

John Locke
    John Locke
The  mind is a tabula rasa

  Instead as Jerry Fodor in 1983 proposed in his book “The modularity of mind”, that humans are born with a modular mind, which is collectively comprised of special neural structures known as modules (Osaka, 2003, p.70). From the moment we are born, these modules collectively constrain and shape how we perceive and interact with the physical and human world (plus how we characteristically function and behave as human beings) (Bjorklund, 2003, p. 837)

So what are these modules?

  Modules are neural structures comprised of organised connections of brain neurons that “determine how the brain processes information” (Cosmides & Tooby, 1997). Each module metaphorically contains an algorithm (ie a set of instructions, or “rules”, or a “computer program”) that that enable it to perform a domain-specific function such as interpreting visual information (ie eyesight), auditory information (hearing) and emotions (Langs,1996,p.103). Furthermore each module functions as an independent domain-specific “computational unit” (Osaka, 2003, p.70).

How are these domain-specific modules structured?

There are 2 fundamental aspects to the structure of modules:

1.) Informational encapsulation.

  Each module is a self-contained computational unit together with its own algorithms and knowledge database (which it draws upon to process domain-specific information). It is also unable to draw upon the algorithms of other modules nor is any other module able to conversely draw upon its own algorithms. For example the face-detection module does not have access the algorithm/rules from the mate-selection module.

2. Domain specifity

  Each module is only activated only when it receives inputs that are relevant to the adaptive problems associated with its specific domain e.g. face-detection. For example the face-detection module will only be activated when a person receives visual input (from a visual-processing module) that suggests a familiar face. (Evans & Zarate, 1999, pp. 148-149; Cosmides & Tooby, 1997)

Continued  123456.

Go to pages:
134, 56.

On  the web

Interesting links  around the web on Evolutionary Psychology (EP). 

Just click the images below:

Steve Pinker's homepage. Plenty of EP material.
Prof Steve Pinker

The EP Primer .  A detailed outline of EP principles - prepared by Leda Cosmides & John Tooby.

Leda Cosmides & John Tooby

HBES homepage. Human Behaviour  & Evolution Society.
Human Behaviour & Evolution Society homepage