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Human Evolutionary Psychology - Essay Example

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Human knowledge and understandings of psychology are not a static constructs. Rather, as information grows and the scientific process corrects itself, new theories are put forward and evidence for them is analyzed…
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Human Evolutionary Psychology
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Human Evolutionary Psychology

Looking back over the past 150 years, one of the most profound changes that human thought and scientific knowledge has taken is with regards to the widespread acceptance of the theory of evolution. Although this has typically been constrained to an understanding of biological life science, the theory of evolution also portends a great deal of definition and possible understanding with regards to such diverse and interrelated fields as human psychology, sociology, and ultimately the way in which human interaction and individual emotions are exhibited within the current environment. This acceptance of evolutionary theory with respect to psychological interpretations has oftentimes been dubbed evolutionary psychology (or EP) (Buss 1999). Whereas it cannot be understood that evolutionary psychology is a flawless theory that helps to explain the mechanisms by which psychology is understood at each and every level, the following analysis will seek to weigh some of the challenges and arguments against evolutionary psychology and determine whether or not these challenges merit a reconsideration of the theory as such. Although such a necessarily short analysis is not sufficient to delineate and thoroughly measure such a broad and nuanced topic, a survey of the respective issues at hand will herein be discussed as a way of leveraging a further level of understanding within the mind of the reader. One of the most strident forms of criticism of evolutionary psychology that currently exists is with regards to what is termed as “optimality principle”. At each the very core definition, the optimality principle refers to the fact that evolution is capable of providing the entity that it acts upon with an optimal level of efficiency (Oesch & Miklousic, 2012). In short, this underscores and underlines the very core tenet of what the theory of evolution itself puts forward; specifically and especially with regards to the biological constructs of the theory of evolution. In such a manner, the individual who ascribes to and evolutionary psychology approach must therefore that that many of the actions and psychological responses/thought processes that are exhibited within the test subjects must necessarily be evidence of the fact that the optimality principle has a hand to play in the way the human emotions and psychological responses are developed and differentiated (Ingraham et al, 2012). Those that resist such an interpretation put forward the understanding that the optimality principle is an ineffective measurement of how and why behavior and psychological response is exhibited in the way it is. The most obvious shortcoming of the optimality principle is the fact that measurement within any one specific period of time is an ineffective means of determining whether or not the optimality principle, and by extension evolutionary theory, can have a positive or negative impact upon human psychology. In short, rather than this shortcoming being a means for an individual to reject evolutionary psychology as an incomplete theory is minimal. The ultimate reason for this is the fact that evolutionary psychology functions in exactly the same way that the biological theory of evolution functions. Rather than taking current exhibitions of behavior and/or human psychology as the unit of measure, one must consider the fact that whatever is represented within a given case study is merely indicative of a process of change that has differentiated itself based upon evolutionary pressure (Glass, 2012). As such, positive and negative approaches that reference such an outcome must not be concentric on defining the human psychological construct as good, bad, evolved, failed, working, or effective. ... Read More
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