Frequently Asked Questions About Evolutionary Psychology

Everything we know has stemmed from theories. For instance, what caused the creation of everything in the universe? The most accepted answer is the Big Bang theory, which stated a titanic explosion back then made galaxies appear. What is a living thing made up of? Experts point to the cell theory, which claimed that every living thing was a product of an accumulation of cells from the parents upon conception.

Nonetheless, one of the highly popular hypotheses for centuries is the theory of evolution. It started with a British naturalist named Charles Darwin, who believed that humans and animals were related, but the species evolved differently at some point. This idea was the basis of evolutionary psychology.


What is the evolutionary theory in psychology? 

The evolutionary theory in psychology states that evolution has allowed humans to develop or adopt various psychological traits essential for survival purposes. It includes (but isn’t limited to) language, memory, cognition, perception, and many more. It all works because every part of the brain has specific functions.

What is an example of evolutionary psychology? 

One good example of evolutionary psychology is an individual’s ability to learn new lessons at school (or anywhere really). The kids can learn about flowers, colors, and even ABCs through songs they often hear from preschool. When they grow up and figure out how to read, they can use their imagination or photographic memory to remember stuff.

How does evolutionary psychology explain human behavior? 

Evolutionary psychology explains human behavior by stating that everything we do is based on what we adopt from our ancestors. For instance, monogamy is common in women, considering they are expected to submit to their husbands in the past and practically endure the men’s promiscuity to avoid raising their kids alone. Similarly, the men are expected to work hard and become a family’s primary – and often sole – provider.

What is the goal of evolutionary psychology? 

Evolutionary psychology’s primary goal is to explain how our ancestors’ way of thinking and behavior has affected how we all think and behave today.

What is wrong with evolutionary psychology? 

Evolutionary psychology is the most respected subject matter in the field. Despite that, it gets criticized a lot for the evolutionary psychologists’ refusal of the idea that the brain functions can change based on the environment, not just on the people you are with.

What are the basic concepts of evolutionary perspective? 

  • Prepared Learning: Psychologists believe that humans are predisposed to fear natural threats (e.g., reptiles, arachnids, etc.) because our ancestors have practically passed down this trait. Even if we have only seen snakes or spiders for the first time, our brains immediately associate them to danger.
  • Kin Selection: This type of natural selection states that people save their relatives first before others because they unconsciously or subconsciously want their genes to be reproduced in the future.
  • Reciprocity/Cooperation: The concept explains that individuals are more akin to cooperating when they know that the person they’re helping will return the favor eventually.
  • Parental Investment: It states that women are more selective than men when it comes to sex. One reason is that the latter can produce more gametes than the former, so they are not too choosy with who they mate with.

Who is associated with evolutionary psychology? 

Evolutionary psychology is primarily based on Charles Darwin’s works, so he is technically associated with it.

Does evolution explain human behavior? 

Yes, evolution explains human behavior. It makes sense when you think of phobias to natural threats and how they develop in people. Those who fear closed spaces or needles have possibly felt that way after getting locked up or taking injections. Still, the individuals who are afraid of spiders, heights, and snakes without even seeing them first-hand may only be explained by genetic or psychological traits that their ancestors have passed down.

How do you become an evolutionary psychologist? 

The first thing you need to do is take up a bachelor’s degree in evolutionary psychology, biological anthropology, or evolutionary biology. After that, work your way to a doctoral degree in any of those fields.

Why is evolutionary psychology criticized? 

Evolutionary psychology is a somewhat controversial form of psychology because experts say that their hypotheses are difficult or impossible to prove. That is especially true when they do not recognize nature or culture as dependent variables in a person’s cognitive and mental processes.


For instance, evolutionary psychologists theorized that our brain has specific cognitive modules that have allowed our ancestors to avoid danger in the environment. Meanwhile, others claim that the brain has changed its thinking patterns by adapting to the situation.

What are the three main criticisms of evolutionary psychology? 

  • Most researchers begin by stating the problem before working towards how it can be prevented. However, in evolutionary psychology, they merely talk about how it happened.
  • Evolutionary psychologists only recognize that our ancestors can affect the behavior and cognition of the new generations. They refuse to believe that culture and society have effects on those too.
  • Evolutionary psychologists also frown upon animals’ use by other researchers, especially since they want to explain human behavior alone. However, some claim that they use them as test subjects anyway.

Where did evolutionary psychology come from? 

Evolutionary psychology practically came from Charles Darwin, who said that our social instincts have gone through an evolution, thanks to the natural selection process. Despite it being the source of information, modern evolutionary psychologists have later made changes related to it.

Is evolutionary psychology possible? 

Psychologists, biologists, and anthropologists make it their lives’ work to prove that evolutionary psychology is possible – that mental traits can genuinely be passed down through genes. Unfortunately, their hypotheses and explanations remain far-fetched, so evolutionary psychology is technically impossible.


Where do evolutionary psychologists believe people get their behavior patterns? 

Natural selection is apparently the source of behavior patterns that evolutionary psychologists believe in. According to them, humans develop adaptive behaviors and pass them down to their offspring to continue their lineage.

What are some differences between sociobiology and evolutionary psychology?

Here are the primary differences between sociobiology and evolutionary psychology:

  • Existence: Sociobiology has been existing since 1975. Meanwhile, evolutionary psychology came ten years later.
  • Beliefs: Sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists both believe that people act with maximum reproduction in their minds. But according to the latter, they have a choice to do that or not.
  • Focus: Evolutionary psychologists focus on human behavior alone, particularly how the brain functions in adaptation. As for sociobiologists, their studies extend to biological evolution.

Final Thoughts

Evolutionary psychology is an interesting point of discussion, given that it continues to baffle many experts up to this day. Some say that it is the real deal, but many argue that the ideas revolving around the subject are practically impossible to prove without raising ethical concerns. Despite all that, it remains incredible to gain another perspective about human behavior.