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 to

Adolf Hitler

6. Links and

The Ascent of Humanity




Adaptation: The mind is an adaptive solution. 

  Cosmides and Tooby, considered to be the “fathers of evolutionary psychology” (Kanazawa, 2004, p.512) have over the past 12 years extended Fodor's neural module and put forward the argument that the mind is comprised of thousands of these “computational” modules. These domain-specific modules not only include psychological mechanisms for provisioning the physical senses such as eyesight but also provision for other domains, some of which are uniquely associated with humans. These include the language acquisition device (Pinker 1994 in Kanazawa, 2004, p.513), cheater detection mechanism (Cosmides, 1989 in Kanazawa, 2004, p.513) and mind-reading mechanism (Evans & Zarate, 1999, p.87). Together, these thousands of domain-specific modules function within an intricate and inter-coordinated “peer-to-peer network” (also known as the mind) - to finally produce what is known as "human nature".

What is an adaptive problem?

  Humans and all other animals face adaptive problems within the environments they operate in. Underlying the idea of adaptiveness is the evolutionary concept that the  sole purpose of an organism is to survive within its environment and reproduce itself. (Evans & Zarate, 1999, p. 42). An environment offers an organism degrees of opportunities to survive and reproduce. However it also offers degrees of obstacles or problems that hinder its survival and reproductive ability ie. adaptive problems which an organism must 'solve' - either by using its own innate resources or via evolutionary processes -  if it is to sucessfully survive and reproduce within that environment.

Running Cheetah
 "An adaptive problem is something that an organism needs to solve in order to survive and reproduce”
 (Evans & Zarate, p.42).

Modules: a psychological adaptation

  Evolutionary psychologists believe that the domain-specific module is a psychological adaptation (Hagen, 2002). Many of the thousand modules extant within the modern  human mind are infact evolved "solutions" to  common adaptive problems encountered by pre-historic humans during their  time in the Pleistocene East African savannah (Evans & Zarate, p. 45). These "solutions" or adaptations have become encoded within  the human mind through the evolutionary process of natural selection. 

  Furthermore it is believed that these individual "solutions" (or modules) to common adaptive problems posed by the savannah environment during Pleistocene, underlay the  structure and design of the human mind.


Savannah Sunset

Footnote: The Pleistocene Epoch:

The Pleistocene Epoch covers the period - 1.8 million to 11,000 years BP. It is characterised by the development, advance and retreat of great sheets of ice that covered the Northern Hemispheric continents down to latitude 45th parrallel. 

Continued  1, 23456.

Go to pages:
1, 2 4, 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