Evolution and Social Psychology  book cover
1st Edition

Evolution and Social Psychology

ISBN 9781138006096
Published June 9, 2014 by Psychology Press
3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Why do we think about and interact with other people in the particular ways that we do? Might these thoughts and actions be contemporary products of our long-ago evolutionary past? If so, how might this be, and what are the implications? Research generated by an evolutionary approach to social psychology issues profound insights into self-concept, impression formation, prejudice, group dynamics, helping, aggression, social influence, culture, and every other topic that is fundamental to social psychology.

Evolution and Social Psychology is the first book to review and discuss this broad range of social psychological phenomena from an evolutionary perspective. It does so with a critical and constructive eye. Readers will emerge with a clear sense of the intellectual challenges, as well as the scientific benefits, of an evolutionarily-informed social psychology.

The world-renowned contributors identify new questions, new theories, and new hypotheses—many of which are only now beginning to be tested. Thus, this book not only summarizes the current status of the field, it also sets an agenda for the next generation of research on evolution and social psychology. Evolution and Social Psychology is essential reading for evolutionary psychologists and social psychologists alike.

Table of Contents

D.T. Kenrick, M. Schaller, J.A. Simpson, Evolution is the New Cognition. M.G. Haselton, D.C. Funder, The Evolution of Accuracy and Bias in Social Judgment. R. Kurzban, C.A. Aktipis, Modular Minds, Multiple Motives. C. Sedikides, J.J. Skowronski, R.I.M. Dunbar, When and Why Did the Human Self Evolve? L.A. Zebrowitz, J. Montepare, The Ecological Approach to Person Perception: Evolutionary Roots and Contemporary Offshoots. D. Keltner, J. Haidt, M.N. Shiota, Social Functionalism and the Evolution of Emotions.  M.B. Brewer, L.R. Caporael, An Evolutionary Perspective on Social Identity: Revisiting Groups. S.L. Neuberg, C.A. Cottrell, Evolutionary Bases of Prejudices. G.J.O. Fletcher, J.A. Simpson, A. B. Boyes, Accuracy and Bias in Romantic Relationships: An Evolutionary and Social Psychological Analysis. S.E. Taylor, G.C. Gonzaga, Evolution, Relationships, and Health: The Social Shaping Hypothesis. M. Van Vugt, P.A.M. Van Lange, The Altruism Puzzle: Psychological Adaptations for Prosocial Behavior. D.M. Buss, J.D. Duntley, The Evolution of Aggression. J.M. Sundie, R.B. Cialdini, V. Griskevicius, D.T. Kenrick, Evolutionary Social Influence. T. Kameda, R. S. Tindal, Groups as Adaptive Devices: Human Docility and Group Aggregation Mechanisms in Evolutionary Context. A. Norenzayan, M. Schaller, S.J. Heine, Evolution and Culture.

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Mark Schaller, University of British Columbia, Canada; Jeffry A. Simpson, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus, USA; Douglas T. Kenrick, Arizona State University, USA.


'Social psychology has always lacked an explanatory theory - a reason for why people do all the strange things they do. Many of the answers to this question will come from an understanding of how social relations and social emotions evolved. This volume is a superb sample of work on this exciting new frontier. It represents a turning point in social psychology, realizing the hope that this fascinating topic can become an explanatory science.' - Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of 'How the Mind Works' and 'The Blank Slate'

'More than simply another edited collection, this is an essential volume that challenges every area of social psychology - where did a social process come from, what function does it serve, and how is it connected to other adaptive strategies? This body of work will rapidly become the touchstone against which all contributions in evolutionary social psychology will be judged.' - Christian Crandall, Professor of Social Psychology, University of Kansas

'The rich essays in this book beautifully demonstrate the increased conceptual power and depth of insight that can be achieved by the skillful and nuanced incorporation of an evolutionary perspective on social psychology. This foundational volume is destined to become one of the major contributions to a scientific revolution that will substantially change our understanding of human social behavior. As such, it is simply a 'must read'.' - Jim Sidanius, Professor of Psychology and of African and African-American Studies, Harvard University 

"Evolution and Social Psychology is an excellent overview of the current state of evolutionary theory in social psychology...the value to its intended audience as an overview of evolution in relation to social psychology makes it a valuable sourcebook for those interested in future directions of research and theory construction in the field."-PsycCRITIQUES