My mind, my thoughts, my words

Evolutionary Perspective (on Personality) (P6)



Evolutionists think that genetics are the key to everything. Personality aspects are the result of evolution by selection – they exist and endured because they are adaptive to survival and reproductive success. They should be found cross-culturally and are transmitted via genes. The focus is on the species ‘humans’, not the individual human being.

Survival of the Fittest

The key elements of the evolutionary perspective are:

  • features of the mind to solve problems
  • mental mechanisms adaptive to the past: tendencies that may no longer be good for us, e.g. the fact that we like fatty foods
  • domain specific: mind and body solve specific problems that occur in specific settings; we’re not generally ‘afraid’ but afraid of certain stimuli that is threatening (e.g. of tigers)
  • architecture of mental system: often, the mind is seen as some sort of computer; however, the evolutionary perspective states that the mind contains multiple info processing devices, each processing info from specific domains of life

comic-evolutionMate Preference and Parental Investment Theory

Men want young women, women want rich men. Women are worried about emotional cheating, men more so about sexual cheating (which may have to do with the fact that, if a woman cheats, he might not end up being the father of her children) (however, studies show that in tests, men just think of sex and become aroused).

Evolutionary Theory and the Big Five

Trait terms emerged to help categorise people’s behaviours. Language may thus not only describe current behaviours but also behaviours that evolved a long time ago and were important throughout time (e.g. ‘active’, ‘dominant’, ‘passive’, ‘submissive’, ‘agreeable’, ’emotional’, ‘smart’ – if people wondered about these things, the terms would eventually enter their lexicon). Or, a trait might exist because it’s been vital to human adaption (extroversion might be needed to get along with others and thus promote survival).

One comment on “Evolutionary Perspective (on Personality) (P6)

  1. Pingback: Psychology (undergrad level) | My mind, my thoughts, my words

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This entry was posted on 17/04/2013 by in Psychological Issues and tagged , , , , , .
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