Why do people resort to plastic surgery to look young? Why are stepchildren at greatest risk of fatal abuse? Why do we prefer gossip to algebra? Why must Dogon wives live alone in a dark hut for five days a month? Why are young children good at learning language but not sharing? Over the past decade, psychologists and behavioral ecologists have been finding answers to such seemingly unrelated questions by applying an evolutionary perspective to the study of human behavior and psychology. Human Evolutionary Psychology is a comprehensive, balanced, and readable introduction to this burgeoning field. It combines a sophisticated understanding of the basics of evolutionary theory with a solid grasp of empirical case studies.
Covering not only such traditional subjects as kin selection and mate choice, this text also examines more complex understandings of marriage practices and inheritance rules and the way in which individual action influences the structure of societies and aspects of cultural evolution. It critically assesses the value of evolutionary explanations to humans in both modern Western society and traditional preindustrial societies. And it fairly presents debates within the field, identifying areas of compatibility among sometimes competing approaches.
Combining a broad scope with the more in-depth knowledge and sophisticated understanding needed to approach the primary literature, this text is the ideal introduction to the exciting and rapidly expanding study of human evolutionary psychology.
"Written with students in mind, Human Evolutionary Psychology is a highly readable and balanced account of EP's central concepts and conflicts, from altruism and mate choice to cultural evolution and the origins of language."--New Scientist
"Creative synthesis that should play a significant role in the study of the impact of evolution on individuals and society."--Choice
"This is more than a much-needed comprehensive introductory text to the area. It is an antidote to the erroneous view that the evolutionary approach to human psychology and action is some monolithic view focused solely upon the concept of adaptation and reproductive success. As this book shows, it is many things, including the study of the causal powers and origins of human culture. If this book has a single message, it is long live pluralism."--Henry Plotkin, University College London
"This is an impressive review of the literature on the evolution of human behavior, including human evolutionary ecology and psychology. It will be a useful teaching resource, and there is nothing quite like it currently available."--Ruth Mace, University College London
"This well-written and balanced textbook presents the complexity of the debate over evolutionary psychology. A valuable addition to the teaching resources for the growing area of evolutionary psychology, it provides the foundational information that allows students to confront the primary source material."--Steven Scher, Eastern Illinois University
Table of Contents
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Louise Barrett:
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