Love - What Evolutionary Psychology Can Tell Us About the Psychology of Love

Psychology, for all its flaws, is a science, and evolutionary psychology is the most scientific manner of making sense out of human behaviour. This article examines what evolutionary psychology is and how it relates to the psychology of love.

What is evolutionary psychology?

Evolutionary psychology refers to the belief that human psychological nature has evolved as a series of selective adaptations to past biological environments. In much the same way that bipedalism evolved as a consequence of upright-walking hominids being able to walk longer distances, and therefore forage for food better, human psychology has also evolved because certain adaptations afforded survival advantages in the past. Evolutionary psychology is therefore rooted in biology, and it views human beings as living organisms that are carriers of competing genes.

In creating a synthesis of the various disciplines that contribute towards an understanding of human behaviour, evolutionary psychology emphasises adaptation, gene-level selection and the effects of competition between individuals and species. It proposes that the human mind is made up of a number of evolved mechanisms also known as "cognitive modules," which are individually responsible for certain behaviours. For example, there seems to be a language acquisition module.

What are the principles of evolutionary psychology?

Evolutionary psychology has several beliefs pertaining to the function of the brain and how it produces human behaviour. One of these is that the brain causes the body to behave in certain ways depending on the external and internal inputs that it receives. For example, visually perceiving a dangerous animal will cause the brain to flood the body with adrenaline, which in turn causes it to fight or to flee. Another belief is that these adaptations have been created by natural and sexual selection.

The general approach of evolutionary psychology to understanding human behaviour is that the different cognitive modules evolved as specialised areas for solving survival and reproductive problems in the prehistoric biological environment. Because most of the adaptations that make up human behaviour occurred a long time ago, humans effectively have minds optimised for Stone Age life. This belief is, for many people, a horrifying idea that is best denied or ignored. Others believe that, in order to truly understand the psychology of love, one has to be willing to deal with the ugly as well as the beautiful.

What does evolutionary psychology have to do with the psychology of love?

Because sexual reproduction is the method through which genes are passed on to subsequent generations, and because genes are one of the major determinants of human behaviour, understanding the psychology of love goes hand-in-hand with understanding genetics. If you want to understand a romantic phenomenon, ask yourself "How does this behaviour benefit the genetic survival of the person performing it?"

It could be argued that all behaviours are, at least in part, directed to ensuring an organism's genetic survival, and if this interest conflicts with the survival of the body or the organism's well-being, then those considerations must be disregarded. For men, behaviour is intended to attract someone to breed with. For women, behaviour is intended to attract the highest possible quality of mate. Keeping an evolutionary perspective in mind will greatly help you to understand how people think in romantic situations.

If you are interested in learning more about why people operate the way they do in romantic situations, you should study the psychology of love.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Vince_McLeod

Source: Ezine


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