Original article:

Introductory Psychology Texts as a View of Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology’s Role in Psychology

Evolutionary Psychology 3: 355-374 R. Elisabeth Cornwell, School of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 9JU, Scotland, ec29@st-andrews.ac.ukCraig Palmer, Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri-Columbia, 107 Swallow Hall, Columbia, MO 65211 1440, USA, PalmerCT@missouri.eduPaul M. Guinther, Psychology Department, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, P.O. Box 7150, Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7150, USAHasker P. Davis, Psychology Department, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, P.O. Box 7150, Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7150, USA, hdavis@uccs.edu

Abstract

Sociobiology and its descendant evolutionary psychology (EP) have struggled to gain ground within the social sciences over the past 30 years. While some have heralded the Triumph of Sociobiology (Alcock, 2001), others have critiqued it as a poor approach to understanding human behavior and would prefer that a Darwinian perspective remain outside the domain of human social sciences. We attempt to assess just how successful (or not) it has been by examining how it has been covered in introductory psychology textbooks over the past 30 years. Our findings indicate that a Darwinian perspective has gained influence and acceptance within the field of psychology over the past three decades. However, we also find that EP as a sub-discipline is often perceived as narrowly defined and limited to research on mating strategies. We address how these perceptions may affect the future of EP, and possible steps needed to increase both the acceptance and importance of evolutionary theory to psychology.

Keywords

Evolutionary Psychology, Introductory Textbooks, Psychology, Sociobiology.

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)
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