Human evolution and social cognition

Mark Schaller, Justin H. Park, Douglas Kenrick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Many aspects of human cognition - especially the processes that define the conceptual territory of social cognition - are adapted to the recurrent problems and opportunities posed by these other members of ancestral human populations. So, to understand social cognition fully and deeply, it is useful - perhaps even essential - to employ scientific strategy. First, it is important to identify the set of fitness-relevant 'problems' recurrently posed by human social environments. Second, one should employ an evolutionary cost-benefit analysis to deduce plausible cognitive adaptations that would have helped 'solve' those problems. When considered in an evolutionary light, human social cognition is not merely one domain of inquiry within the small scientific province of social psychology; it is instead a topic of relevance to any scientist who cares about the evolution and behavioural ecology of mammals in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743658
ISBN (Print)9780198568308
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012


  • Cognition
  • Environments
  • Evolution
  • Fitness
  • Human
  • Mammals
  • Populations
  • Problems
  • Social cognition
  • Social psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Human evolution and social cognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this