Adaptive Origins: Evolution and Human Development

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Taylor & Francis, Sep 17, 2010 - Psychology - 408 pages
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In this text, students are invited to rethink psychology by grounding it in the natural sciences with the understanding that evolutionary and developmental processes work together with culture to solve problems of human adaptation. These processes are cast as interdependent: Development cannot be understood except in the light of evolutionary theory, and the best proof of evolution is the fact of development. For students of evolutionary psychology, all the central topics -- such as evolved mental modules for theory of mind or language -- require an understanding of the developmental processes that lead to their expression. Genes, as important as they are, are never the whole story.

The role of biological factors is explored in chapters outlining evolution, development, genetics, human origins, hormones and the brain. Then, the integrative value of this evolutionary/developmental vision in understanding key topics in psychology is illustrated by applying it to traditional area of inquiry including infancy and attachment, emotions and their expression, social relations with peers, cognitive and language development, sex differences, courtship and mating, violence and aggression, and cooperation and competition.

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About the author (2010)

Peter J. LaFrenière is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Maine. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1975 and received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1982 after two-years in the Peace Corps in West Africa. He is an internationally recognized expert on social and emotional development in young children with over 80 articles in developmental, evolutionary, and clinical journals in English and French. Besides basic research, LaFreniere has published articles, films, and assessment instruments on social competence and behavior problems in young children that have been translated into a dozen languages and are widely used in North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. From 1998-2003 he was editor of the Human Ethology Bulletin, reflecting a career-long interest in the integration of evolutionary, cross-cultural, and developmental perspectives. In 1999 he published the book Emotional Development: A Biosocial Perspective. In 2000 he received a Fulbright research grant at the Laboratoire de Psycho-Biologie du Developpement in Paris, France which led to the publication of a multi-national study involving eight countries. He continues to teach and write on topics in evolution and human development and in 2009 he hosted the Summer Institute on human evolution and development sponsored by the International Society for Human Ethology.

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