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Evolutionary Psychology: A Clinical Introduction

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2205-7
320 pages
November 2000, Polity
Evolutionary Psychology: A Clinical Introduction (0745622054) cover image
According to evolutionary biologists, we are the minders of our genes. But, as Christopher Badcock points out in this book, it is only recently that evolutionists have realized that minders need minds, and that evolution needs psychology to fill the yawning gap between genes and behaviour.

Evolutionary Psychology assumes no prior knowledge of the subject, and concentrates on the fundamental issues raised by the application of modern Darwinism to psychology. Basic concepts of evolution are explained carefully, so that the reader has a sound grasp of them before their often controversial application to psychology is discussed. The approach is a critical one, and the author does not hide the many difficulties that evolutionary psychology raises. Examples include the strange neglect of Darwin's own writings on psychology, and the fact that no existing theory has succeeded in explaining why the human brain evolved in the first place.

The book is the first to give a non-technical account of remarkable new findings about the roles that conflicting genes play in building different parts of the brain. It is also the first to consider the consequences of this for controversies like those over nature/nurture, IQ, brain lateralization and consciousness.

Evolutionary Psychology is based on many years experience of teaching evolution and psychology to social science students, and is intended for all who wish to get to grips with the basic issues of one of the most exciting and rapidly growing areas of modern science.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS, Preface, Acknowledgements, Chapter 1 SELECTION AND ADAPTATION The concept of evolution, Natural selection, Survival of the fittest, Three assumptions about adaptations, The EEA, The argument from design, Design flaws in evolution, The Swiss army knife model of the mind, The triune brain, The costs and benefits of human brain evolution, The evolutionary psychology of evolutionary psychology. Chapter 2 GENETICS AND EPIGENETICS: Inheritance and acquired characteristics, Blending inheritance and mutation, Mendel, the discovery of DNA, The genetic code, Development and preformation, Epigenesis, The role of the single Gene, Genetic and environmental determinism, The problem with programming behaviour, Epigenetic agents, Chapter 3 THE EVOLUTION & PSYCHOLOGY OF CO-OPERATION: Super-organisms and group selection, Individualism in groups, The problem of altruism, Hamilton's inequality, Kin altruism, Inclusive fitness, Prisoner's dilemma, Iterated prisoner's dilemma, Familiarity and reputation, The evolved psychology of reciprocity, Cognitive adaptations for social exchange. Chapter 4 MIND, EMOTION AND CONSCIOUSNESS: Anti-mentalism, Autism and theory of mind, Darwin's three principles of the expression of the emotions, Evolutionary psychology and The Expression of the Emotions, The pleasure principle, Freud and Darwin, Triver's evolutionary psychodynamics of consciousness, Divided consciousness, Mental topography & brain lateralization, Chapter 5 SEX, MATING AND PARENTAL INVESTMENT: Sex and parental investment, Variance of reproductive success, Mating systems, Divorce and remarriage, Human sexual adaptations, Mating preferences, Sex, scent and the selfish gene, Sex ratios, Sex discrimination, abortion and infanticide in humans. Chapter 6 GROWTH, DEVELOPMEMT AND CONFLICT: Parent-offspring conflict, Genomic imprinting, Conflict in pregnancy, Imprinted genes and brain development, Postnatal depression, Weaning conflicts, Psychological conflict between parent and child, Genetic conflict and Freudian psychodynamics, The evolution of ambivalence. Chapter 7 NATURE, NURTURE, LANGUAGE AND CULTURE: Evolutionary psychology and the SSSM, Memes, Conditioning, The nurture assumption, Language, Turner's syndrome, The nature of nurture. Glossary of technical terms, References, Index
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Christopher Badcock is Reader in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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    An accessible introduction to the principle of Evolutionary Psychology
      While providing a sound introduction the author also challenges accepted theories and suggests new approaches to the field of Evolutionary Psychology
        Readable and approachable style, without jargon and excessive detail. Includes numerous illustrative text boxes and clear, effective diagrams
          Suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter.
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          'Christopher Badcock has produced the most thorough integration of modern genetics and human behaviour to appear. This stimulating book will be valued by those who want an up to date treatment of modern genetics and human behaviour and who value a bit of controversy and a touch of speculation in their reading.' Charles Crawford, Simon Fraser University

          'Once again Christopher Badcock has written a compulsively readable book on an important topic. The application of Darwinian evolutionary biology to our understanding of the human mind and our social behaviour is producing cutting-edge science, and Badcock explains the advances made and the problems remaining with skill and insight. Knowledgeable both about the social sciences and the discoveries of modern biology, this book offers a penetrating analysis of the interacions between the branches of science. Written in a clear and understandable style, Evolutionary Psychology will surely be a standard work on the subject for years to come.' Michael Ruse, University of Guelph

          'Christopher Badcock's Evolutionary Psychology: A Critical Introduction has got to be one of the better introductory texts out there. It is a way into what can often be perceived as an intimidating and overly science-based endeavour. It fact it is extremely informed from within the natural sciences, but it is also intensely fascinating ... Christopher Badcock has done an excellent job introducing the public to a field that is often mired in high academia and scientific obfuscation.' Self & Society

          'it contains excitement and vision that, when tempered by a mature critic such as a teacher or tutor, make this book stand out as one from which I should love to teach' Paul Harvey, Head of Zoology, University of Oxford, The Times Higher Education Supplement

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