Adaptive Origins : Evolution and Human Development book cover
1st Edition

Adaptive Origins
Evolution and Human Development

ISBN 9781138988279
Published November 18, 2016 by Psychology Press
408 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In this text, students are invited to rethink psychology by grounding it in the natural sciences with the understanding that evolutionary and developmental processes work together with culture to solve problems of human adaptation. These processes are cast as interdependent: Development cannot be understood except in the light of evolutionary theory, and the best proof of evolution is the fact of development. For students of evolutionary psychology, all the central topics -- such as evolved mental modules for theory of mind or language -- require an understanding of the developmental processes that lead to their expression. Genes, as important as they are, are never the whole story.

The role of biological factors is explored in chapters outlining evolution, development, genetics, human origins, hormones and the brain. Then, the integrative value of this evolutionary/developmental vision in understanding key topics in psychology is illustrated by applying it to traditional area of inquiry including infancy and attachment, emotions and their expression, social relations with peers, cognitive and language development, sex differences, courtship and mating, violence and aggression, and cooperation and competition.

Table of Contents

1. Evolutionary Theory. 2. Contemporary Evolutionary Perspectives. 3. The Genetic Basis of Evolution and Development. 4. Human Origins. 5. Brain Evolution and Development. 6. Hormones and Behavior. 7. Facial Expressions and Basic Emotions. 8. Attachment in Infancy. 9. Theory of Mind and Language. 10. Sex Differences. 11. Mate Choice and Reproductive Strategies. 12. Darwinian Medicine and Evolutionary Psychiatry. 13. Altruism, Cooperation and Competition.

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Peter J. LaFrenière is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Maine. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1975 and received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1982 after two-years in the Peace Corps in West Africa. He is an internationally recognized expert on social and emotional development in young children with over 80 articles in developmental, evolutionary, and clinical journals in English and French. Besides basic research, LaFreniere has published articles, films, and assessment instruments on social competence and behavior problems in young children that have been translated into a dozen languages and are widely used in North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. From 1998-2003 he was editor of the Human Ethology Bulletin, reflecting a career-long interest in the integration of evolutionary, cross-cultural, and developmental perspectives. In 1999 he published the book Emotional Development: A Biosocial Perspective. In 2000 he received a Fulbright research grant at the Laboratoire de Psycho-Biologie du Developpement in Paris, France which led to the publication of a multi-national study involving eight countries. He continues to teach and write on topics in evolution and human development and in 2009 he hosted the Summer Institute on human evolution and development sponsored by the International Society for Human Ethology.


"[Adaptive Origins is] relevant to anyone interested in people, not only speech and language therapists … this is a hugely interesting book." – Katie Cullian, pediatric speech and language therapist, in Speech & Language Therapy in Practice

"Peter LaFrenière, an evolutionary developmental psychologist, intends Adaptive Origins:Evolution and Human Development to serve as a developmental psychology textbook for undergraduates. However, it is probably better described as a new primer for the entire field of evolutionary psychology. ... LaFrenière has made a significant contribution to the progress of evolutionary psychology through his integration of the many disciplines that nonbiologists need to take into account in order to understand the impact of evolution on human behavior. His book belongs in the libraries of professors and researchers as well as the students for whom it was written." – Sidney Perloe in PsycCRITIQUES

"For anyone from undergraduate students to accomplished scientists, LaFrenière's book provides the crucial groundwork for understanding development and evolution, and why understanding either requires investigation of both. A very readable textbook for all levels from one of the key contributors to understanding humanity in a fully biological context." – D. Kimbrough Oller, Ph.D., Professor and Plough Chair of Excellence, The University of Memphis School of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, USA

"This is a terrific book. Peter LaFrenière has a remarkable talent for presenting seemingly difficult ideas clearly, concisely, in a way that draws readers in and holds them through the sheer power of the ideas. On every topic he goes right to the heart of the matter, with no hemming and hawing, so there is no room for boredom. The book represents beautifully the new wave in the evolutionary analysis of human behavior. The developmental perspective puts flesh on the skeleton that evolutionary psychology was just a few years ago. I recommend the book to anyone who wants to understand our species." –  Peter Gray, Ph.D., Research Professor of Psychology, Boston College, USA