How Evolution Psychology Explain Human Behaviour

evolution psychology

Basic Introduction:

A man looking at the camera

Evolution psychology is the study of psychological traits and how they have evolved, rather than their proximate cause. It can be divided into two separate theories: Social Darwinism and the Behavioral Ecology theory. The purpose of these theories is to try and explain human behavior and mental patterns through evolutionary means.

Evolutionary Psychology:

A person looking at the camera

Evolutionary psychology attempts to explain how much of human behavior is based on genetics, instead of learned behavior. Some evolutionary psychologists look at the functions that certain behaviors have allowed humans to survive and reproduce to properly understand why these particular behaviors exist. Many evolutionary psychologists are split into two different schools of thought: The Evolutionary Social Sciences Theory (ESS) and the Behavioral Ecology theory (BE).

ESS Theory:

One school of thought is known as ESS Theory which consists mostly of Evolutionary Anthropologists who are committed to studying modern culture in an attempt to identify its ancestral traits. This branch focuses on identifying common patterns between cultures to find solutions for how people can reduce violence between one another. in this field believe that many psychological problems are among the direct results of being isolated from others. It is believed that this isolation can cause people to have more mental problems than any other group. Some of these problems include depression, anxiety, anger, and even suicide. The problem with ESS Theory, however, is that it focuses mostly on specific parts of culture instead of its evolution over time.

BE Theory:

The second school of thought is called BE Theory which consists mostly of Behavioral Ecologists who look at how people interact in small groups and try to find patterns between those interactions and try to find their evolutionary purpose. This theory tries to trace roots back as much as possible to identify psychological traits and behaviors within cultural norms and practices. This theory looks at how humans adapt their communities to evolve and survive in certain areas of the world. This way, these theories are looking for traits that exist within culture but also provide a more flexible understanding of how humans adapt to their environment psychologically as well as physically.

Darwin’s Theory:

Darwin’s theory on evolution can be applied to psychology because it is believed that similar species share many psychological traits that allow them to survive together. The three main factors that affect natural selection are Differential Reproduction (the ability for individuals to produce young), Inheritance (traits passed down from parents to offspring), and Adaptations (a change in appearance or behavior). These traits can be explained using Evolutionary Psychology because they apply directly to human mental capabilities. It is believed by some evolutionary psychologists that much of our modern behavior is the direct result of our ancestors developing these adaptive traits to survive.


There are many different possible answers to why humans developed these particular behaviors, but this varies between men and women because natural selection acts differently on each gender. It is believed that women have evolved certain psychological traits that allow them to maintain harmony within their group while men have developed traits that allow them to be ruthless when it comes time for survival. Men are more likely to possess qualities such as competitiveness, dominance, aggressiveness, ability to take risks, courage, physical strength, and even sexual prowess. Women are more apt at being compassionate, empathetic, contribute more towards caring for their young by producing milk among other things which makes it easier for them to raise children. There are still many more traits that have not been mentioned because of the risk of overwhelming the average reader.

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