Evolutionary Social Psychology: Adaptive Predispositions and Human Culture

Douglas Kenrick, Josh Ackerman, Susan Ledlow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


We have argued that the evolutionary perspective to social psychology is not untestable, not reductionist, not a theory about rigid genetic determinism, not a justification for the status quo, and not incompatible with sociocultural or cognitive analyses. What it is, instead, is a set of ideas that have proved quite useful in generating novel hypotheses, and parsimoniously connecting findings from very different domains ranging from mate choice and family relationships to aggression and intergroup relations. Adopting an evolutionary perspective can help us appreciate not only the common threads that bind the people in our culture to those in other cultures, but also, beyond that, to the other species with which we share the earth. Taking this broad perspective, however, also makes us aware of the vast reaches of our own ignorance. As yet, we know very little about how evolved psychological mechanisnis inside individuals develop, or how they influence, and are influenced by, the complex cultures that humans construct. Bringing light to these questions will require a fuller integration of all the different theoretical perspectives on human social behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X


  • Evolutionary Perspective
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Mate Choice
  • Parental Investment
  • Sexual Selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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