Top Examples of Evolutionary Psychology – The Psychology of Primitive Man

In psychology there are quite a few totally different competing ‘faculties of thought’ that totally different theorists and researchers will use to attempt to clarify varied psychological phenomena. Likewise, totally different therapists and psychiatrists will depend on these totally different fashions as a way to attempt to perceive psychological issues and that will help you deal with them.

Whereas there are numerous, many totally different faculties, among the hottest embrace: behavioral psychology, cognitive behavioral psychology, social psychology, organic psychology, psychodynamic psychology and evolutionary psychology. Whereas some practitioners will closely favor considered one of these specific fashions over the opposite, one of the best apply is usually to make use of a broad data of all of them as a way to come to conclusions and to determine one of the best programs of motion for somebody.

Evolutionary psychology is one space that’s notably fascinating and which can be utilized to grasp an enormous vary of feelings, behaviors and phenomena. It is a sort of psychology that goals to clarify all of our thought processes, feelings and actions by way of the earlier survival benefit they might have granted us within the wild. In different phrases, the declare is that our mind is in some ways an identical to that of prehistoric man and as such it isn’t all the time completely suited to life at the moment.

Understanding Evolution

Earlier than we leap into evolutionary psychology it’s vital that we first have a fast primer on evolution on the whole. Evolution is probably the most broadly accepted rationalization for the event of life as we all know it and it primarily describes how a course of referred to as ‘pure choice’ may result in the event of clever and sentient life.

Mainly, our species begins life a method and has a couple of variations as brought on by mutations and pure variation. These with sure traits will then die, whereas these with extra helpful traits will survive inflicting a kind of pure ‘selective breeding’ over time that favors sure traits. In case your species eats from the tops of timber and also you develop just a little taller, then it is possible for you to to pluck extra meals out of the timber and thus it is possible for you to to eat higher. Your shorter brethren might be malnourished in the meantime and they’re going to die. Consequently, taller people will survive and breed collectively and you’ll in the end develop into taller as a species. Then considered one of you is perhaps born with a genetic mutation providing you with a super-long tongue. This will likely allow them to succeed in even larger within the tree and because of this you’ll thrive and have wholesome youngsters. Over time they may also thrive and produce extra long-tongued offspring till you now have a race of very tall individuals with very lengthy tongues.

How This Applies to Psychology

Usually we consider evolution by way of bodily traits, however it will probably additionally apply to our psychology. Somebody who’s offended as an illustration might need extra likelihood of surviving as a result of they’re extra threatening to their competitors and to their prey. Somebody with a greater reminiscence is perhaps higher at surviving as a result of they’ll keep in mind the placement of extra meals.

The result’s that our psychologies – in accordance with evolutionary psychology – have developed as a way to acquire the perfect survival benefit. The one downside is that in addition they occurred to evolve a long time in the past, that means that they aren’t essentially all that well-adapted to trendy dwelling.

Examples of Evolutionary Psychology

However one of the best ways as an instance how evolutionary psychology works is to have a look at some examples of it. Learn on and we’ll have a look at some totally different psychological phenomena and in every case we’ll see the way it is perhaps described via the lens of evolutionary psychology…


There may be particular survival worth to a phobia, with the thought being that somebody who’s afraid of one thing harmful will thus maintain their distance from it. So within the wild when you had a phobia of snakes, then you definately would have a bonus over somebody who didn’t – since you wouldn’t go and choose them as much as hug them.

An evolutionary psychologist would then level out that lots of our phobias are in truth phobias of issues that we might have had motive to be afraid of within the wild (precise phobias that’s). As an illustration, we’re more likely to have an precise phobia of snakes or of spiders, versus one thing like weapons which are literally a extra severe risk to us at the moment.

There are issues with this strategy although – as an illustration it doesn’t clarify why totally different individuals have totally different phobias. Why aren’t we all afraid of snakes? Likewise it doesn’t clarify why one thing like a phobia of buttons or of balloons would ever exist.


For those who take an evolutionary psychology strategy to coping with stress and nervousness, you’ll clarify it by way of the ‘combat or flight’ response totally. ‘Battle or flight’ is what we name the method the physique goes via while you see a perceived risk. You’ll then be flooded with adrenaline and with norepinephrine and this can trigger your coronary heart price to raise, your pupils to dilate and your thoughts to focus. Within the quick time period, it is a very helpful response for escaping lions or forest fires as a result of it offers you focus and higher reactions and velocity.

However at the moment, most of our ‘stessors’ can’t be handled by sprinting or preventing. As an alternative we get harassed by cash issues and by our bosses shouting at us. In such a scenario, the combat or flight response has no sensible profit, however as a substitute simply locations a pressure on our nervous system and immune system. Spending too lengthy on this state can find yourself inflicting you to develop into exhausted and tremendously will increase your probability of getting sick.

Relationships and Motivation

Evolutionary psychologists would view our ‘prime directive’ as being to procreate and to have wholesome youngsters. Which means that nearly each choice we make will possible improve our probabilities of survival and procreation – even when it doesn’t really feel like that. This has to be the case in a purely evolutionary rationalization as a result of it’s the solely factor that’s being chosen for.

The concept that we’re utterly motivated by intercourse is consistent with Freudian psychodynamic concept. It additionally seems to carry water underneath some circumstances.

The character of {our relationships} must also be decided with the way in which that we procreate. Certainly, girls usually tend to be drawn to extra masculine-looking males when they’re in estrus. Likewise, males usually tend to ‘play away’ from house as a result of they’ve much less to achieve by way of spreading their DNA from staying in a monogamous relationship.

{Couples} who look alike usually tend to be attracted to 1 one other as a result of that manner their youngsters’s DNA will possible have extra in frequent with them. Girls like highly effective males as a result of they’ll present for his or her offspring. Males like voluptuous girls with wider hips as a result of it suggests excessive fertility. Girls like males with muscular tissues as a result of they’re more likely to produce more healthy younger. Each sexes choose these with symmetrical faces as a result of it will increase the probability that their cells are wholesome and capable of divide with out error.

After all it is a very stark view of relationships, love, motivation and life on the whole and many individuals would argue that we’re extra advanced than that.


Within the wild, it won’t appear to make horrible sense that we should always generally put our personal wants behind these of one other if our entire intention is to attempt to survive longer and thus be capable of reproduce. Thus there are some who would declare that there isn’t a such factor as a really ‘altruistic’ act. We solely give individuals issues, as a result of we expect this can assist us to type allies, or as a result of we hope they’ll give us one thing again sooner or later sooner or later.

One other manner that an evolutionary psychologist may have a look at this although, is as altruism being means via which we are able to improve the survival of our species as a entire. It could even be essential as a way to facilitate socializing – and we all know that there’s power in numbers.


After you have a baby although, your work is just not but achieved. At this level you continue to have to rear stated baby and be sure that they develop to develop into wholesome adults in order that they’ll proceed to move in your DNA. That’s why parenthood is such an vital side of our psychology and it’s why we really feel such extremely robust bonds with our offspring.

And this evolution may also clarify another elements of our psychology. As an illustration, it describes our tendency to seek out sure animals ‘cute’. The explanation we do is invariably that they’ve giant eyes that give them the looks of infants. In reality, it’s even potential that the motive cats have giant eyes is that they’ve developed this manner as a way to reap the benefits of our nature. Arguably, cats are a symbiotic at greatest or parasitic at worst. Their purr is even the identical wavelength because the sound of a child crying!

The Execs and Cons of Evolutionary Psychology

As you possibly can see then, there are some clear areas the place evolutionary psychology is an effective match and the place it will probably assist clarify elements of our psychological lives. On the similar time although, there are additionally some flaws with the strategy and a few implications that we maybe would relatively keep away from.

In all probability, our evolutionary previous can assist to explain a few of our traits and behaviors and it’s possible helpful for these causes. Nonetheless, it’s also possible that evolutionary psychology can solely describe some elements of our psychology and that it really works greatest when mixed with issues like behavioral psychology, psychodynamic concept or CBT. These different faculties of thought are additionally vital seeing as evolutionary psychology doesn’t present us with a lot of a plan in the case of addressing psychological well being points.

And truly evolutionary psychology can work very nicely when positioned subsequent to different faculties of thought. As an illustration, behavioral psychology explains the mind’s capability to type robust associations between concepts… nicely you might then argue that we type associations as an evolutionary adaptation too!

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