The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 2010 - Science - 943 pages
3 Reviews

This book is an intellectual tour de force: a comprehensive Darwinian interpretation of human development. Looking at the entire range of human evolutionary history, Melvin Konner tells the compelling and complex story of how cross-cultural and universal characteristics of our growth from infancy to adolescence became rooted in genetically inherited characteristics of the human brain.

All study of our evolution starts with one simple truth: human beings take an extraordinarily long time to grow up. What does this extended period of dependency have to do with human brain growth and social interactions? And why is play a sign of cognitive complexity, and a spur for cultural evolution? As Konner explores these questions, and topics ranging from bipedal walking to incest taboos, he firmly lays the foundations of psychology in biology.

As his book eloquently explains, human learning and the greatest human intellectual accomplishments are rooted in our inherited capacity for attachments to each other. In our love of those we learn from, we find our way as individuals and as a species. Never before has this intersection of the biology and psychology of childhood been so brilliantly described.

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," wrote Dobzhansky. In this remarkable book, Melvin Konner shows that nothing in childhood makes sense except in the light of evolution.

  

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Review: The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind

User Review  - Annie - Goodreads

I confess that I have read this in more of a cafeteria-style way, reading the chapters and portions that were of particular interest to me. This will stay on my academic reference shelf for a long ... Read full review

Review: The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind

User Review  - wfj - Goodreads

Extremely dense & lengthy, but I plugged through it. I'm planning to review it w/ a colleague in a series of "mini-journal clubs" to better recall important ideas & findings. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
12
Some Premises
14
Some History
17
Evolution and Modification of Behavior
19
Evolution of Ontogeny in the Human Animal
26
Levels of Causation in the Explanation of Behavior
27
Evolution The Phylogenetic Origins of Childhood wherein we learn how the laws of evolution produced the shape of human social and emotional de...
31
Paradigms in the Evolution of Development
33
Male Parental Care
452
Male Parental Investment and Reproductive Success
453
Paternal Investment Social Organization and Ecology in Nonhuman Species
456
The Paternal Role among Kung HunterGatherers
462
Paternal Roles in Other HunterGatherers
463
Paternal Roles in NonHunterGatherers
466
Observable Patterns and Their Possible Significance
468
Subsistence Adaptation and Family Organization
471

NeoDarwinian TheoryThe Adaptationist Paradigm
38
Life History Theory
45
Evolutionary Allometries
54
Heterochrony in the Phylogeny of Development
58
The Evolution of Developmental Genes EvoDevo
65
Phyletic Reorganization in Brain Evolution
69
Developmental Ethology
70
Evolutionary Developmental Psychology
72
Thinking about Birdsong
75
Brains Evolving
78
Vertebrate Body Plans and Behavioral Advances
83
The Emergence of Mammalian Brain and Behavior
86
Developmental Keys to Psychosocial Evolution
92
Ape Foundations Human Revolution
100
Hominin Evolution and Behavior
107
Hominin Brain Evolution
112
Evolving Human Life Histories
116
Hominin Behavior Social Organization and Culture
117
The Evolution of Human Brain Growth
124
Humanizing Anthropoid Brain Growth
126
Hominin Ontogeny
128
Heterochrony in Hominin Evolution
136
Neurological Models of Psychosocial Function
145
The Orbitofrontal Cortex and the Somatic Marker Hypothesis
147
The Polyvagal Model
149
The MirrorNeuron System
151
Lateralized Higher Functions
153
Imperfect Models
156
Maturation Anatomical Bases of Psychosocial Growth wherein we see how neural and endocrine systems guide the paths of development called for b...
157
Paradigms in the Study of Psychosocial Growth
159
The Neurogenetics of Animal Models and Human Disease
162
Neuroembryology
172
Developmental Neuroendocrinology
178
Postnatal Brain Development
181
Developmental Behavior Genetics
190
Neurological Individuality
198
Thinking about Bipedal Walking
202
The Growth of Sociality
206
The Fourth Trimester and the Presocial Baseline
207
The Rise and Fall of Early Crying
214
Smiling and Mutual Gaze
219
The Growth of Attachment and the Social Fears
227
Universals of Human Attachment and Social Fear
228
Animal Studies
230
Biological Mechanisms
233
The Growth of Language
241
A Language Acquisition Device
244
CrossCultural and Other Evidence
246
Biological Foundations
250
Early Anatomical Preparedness
253
The Role of Learning
255
The Growth of Sex and Gender Differences
260
Sex Differences in Aggression
262
CrossCultural Studies
264
Neuroendocrine Foundations
267
The Transition to Middle Childhood
277
An Evolutionary Approach
281
Cognition in Middle Childhood
282
A Biological Model
291
Reproductive Behavior and the Onset of Parenting
296
Biological Changes in Puberty and Adolescence
297
Is Individual Age at Puberty a Facultative Adaptation?
298
Control of the Onset of Puberty
301
Growth and Change in the Adolescent Brain
303
The Psychological Impact of Body Changes
309
Adolescent Hormones in Sexuality and Aggression
310
CrossCultural Regularities
315
A Role for Romantic Love?
318
Ideals and Abstractions
320
The Onset of ParentingMaternal Care
321
Paternal Care and the Pair Bond
325
Thinking about Growing Up Gay
329
Plasticity Evolving
335
Selection for Plasticity and Resilience
343
Socialization The Evolving Social Context of Ontogeny wherein we discern the contributions of social life to developing relationships and emotions
347
Paradigms in the Study of Socialization
349
Laws of Learning
350
Early Experience Effects and the Sensitive Period Question
353
Ethology Field Primatology and Sociobiology
355
Ethnology and Quantitative CrossCultural Comparison
358
Historiography and Historical Demography
359
Early Social Experience
363
Postweaning Isolation and Crowding
365
Social Deprivation in Monkeys
368
The Neurobiology of Social Perturbation in Monkeys
369
Experience in the Etiology of Psychopathology
371
Early Deprivation in Human Childhood
374
The Evolution of the MotherInfant Bond
381
Maternal Care in Mammals
382
MotherInfant Relations among Kung HunterGatherers
385
MotherInfant Relations in Other HunterGatherers
388
Phylogeny and History
398
Attachment Theory and the MotherInfant Bond
409
Thinking about Maternal Sentiment
412
Cooperative Breeding in the Extended Family
426
Helpers at the Nest
427
Allocare in Nonhuman Primates
430
Nonmaternal Care among Kung HunterGatherers
435
Nonmaternal Care in Other HunterGatherers
437
Cooperative Breeding in the Human Species
441
Normative Adoption and Fosterage in Human Societies
445
The Physiology of Alloparental Care
447
Social Context and MotherInfant Interactions
448
Cooperative Breeding beyond Hunters and Gatherers
449
The United States and Other Industrial Cultures
475
Plasticity and Its Physiological Limits
476
Thinking about Oedipal Conflicts
479
Relations among Juveniles
484
Juvenile Social Relations in Selected Mammals
485
Relations among Juveniles in Kung HunterGatherers
489
Relations among Juveniles in Other HunterGatherers
492
Relations among Juveniles since the HuntingGathering Era
495
Functional Considerations
496
Developmental Mechanisms
497
Play Social Learning and Teaching
500
The Evolution of Play
501
The Development of Human Play
504
The Evolutionary Neurobiology of Play
509
Intelligent Players
510
Play Learning and Culture
511
Social Learning Imitation and Teaching
512
Toward a Neurobiology of Social Learning
515
Uniquely Human?
516
The Contexts of Emerging Reproductive Behavior
518
The Development of Sexual Behavior in Monkeys and Apes
519
Adolescence among the Kung HunterGatherers
520
Adolescence in Other HunterGatherers
522
Broader CrossCultural Patterns of Premarital Sex
524
ParentOffspring Conflict over Arranged Marriage
525
Adolescent Sexuality in the Industrial World
526
Secular Trends in Growth and Maturation
528
Secular Trends and Adolescent Behavior
530
Thinking about Incest Avoidance and Taboos
532
Stress and Resilience in the Changing Family
537
Stress in Infancy and Childhood
538
Stress in Early Life as a Signal for Facultative Adaptation
540
Stress and Resilience on the Island of Dominica
542
Mortality Attachment and Loss
544
Stress and Resilience in Exceptional Situations
547
Child Abuse and Neglect in Western Industrial States
550
Evolutionary Considerations in Abuse and Neglect
552
Changing Family Structure in Western Industrial States
556
Abuse Neglect and Adolescent Aggression
559
Stress and Coping in Human Development
560
HunterGatherer Childhood The Cultural Baseline
564
Generalizations and Challenges
565
The HunterGatherer Childhood Model
566
HunterGatherer Childhood in Evolutionary Context
568
Evaluating the Divergences
570
Facultative Adaptation Discordance or Both?
577
Does Nonhuman Culture Exist?
579
Defining the Extremes
580
The Approach from Material Culture
582
The Approach from Socially Learned Local Variation
584
The Approach from Teaching and Cultural Learning
586
The Approach from Language and Symbol
587
The Approach from History
589
Enculturation The Transmission and Evolution of Culture wherein we come to understand what culture changes
593
Paradigms in the Study of Enculturation
595
Laws of Learning Expanded
596
Culture and Personality
598
The Whiting Model
605
Broader CrossCultural Analyses
606
Extensions and Modifications of the Model
608
Challenges to the Role of Early Experience
610
Culture and Mind
612
Thinking about the Question How?
619
The Culture of Infancy and Early Childhood
624
CrossCultural Variation in Infant Care
628
Possible Mechanisms of Influence
630
Language Acquisition and Language Learning
632
The Culture of Subsistence
636
Work Play and Cultural Transmission
637
Childrens Work in Farming Cultures
647
The Culture of Middle Childhood
651
Enculturation among the Gusii of Kenya
652
Enculturation Processes beyond Conventional Learning
654
Enculturation by Children
661
Inculcating Morality?
665
Children and Religion
669
The Culture of Gender in Childhood and Adolescence
675
Cultural Tradition in Adolescent Development
681
Evolutionary Culture Theory
687
The Meme Model and the Question of Coherence
688
CavalliSforza and Feldman
691
Lumsden and Wilson
693
Boyd and Richerson
697
The Durham Model
698
Defining Culture
701
Applying the Model
702
Some Models Compared
707
Thinking about Boys at War
708
Universals Adaptation Enculturation and Culture
713
A Culture Acquisition Device
719
A Model of Culture in Biological Context
725
Conclusion wherein we see as through a glass darkly how human relationships and emotions may actually emerge
729
The Ultimate Epigenetic Enterprise
731
A General Theory?
732
Chaos SelfOrganization and Complexity
733
A Theory of Generative Variation
735
Selection Epigenetics and Development
740
Reprise
741
Epilogue
750
References
757
Acknowledgments
917
Index
921
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Melvin Konneris Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Program in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology atEmory University, and author ofThe Tangled Wing,Becoming A Doctor,Childhood: A Multicultural View, andUnsettled: An Anthropology of the Jews.

Bibliographic information