adaptations) increased their chances of survival and reproduction. The adaptations were passed along
to future generations. The evolutionary theory represents a way of thinking that can be used to
understand different aspects of mind and behavior. We will look at three aspects of the evolutionary
theory to illustrate this point:
c. SOLVING ADAPTIVE PROBLEMS - as humans evolve, we build our behaviors (physically and
mentally) according to our environments. Accordingly, the body contains specialized mechanisms
that have evolved to solve problems that require adaptation. The evolutionary theory is useful
when we think of adaptive problems that we, humans, have encountered over the years (ie
language, eating etc).
iii.the evolutionary theory is also useful when we think of the necessary adaptions with regard to
social behavior. One’s social environment and surrounding culture plays a part in how people
develop their own behaviors and attitudes. Now, with the evolutionary theory, many people
regard these behaviors as an adaptive solution to human problems (ie people feel the need to fit
in with a group, so naturally behaviors that lead to social exclusions are discouraged in order to
maintain the idea of social groups or cliques).
d. MODERN MINDS IN STONE AGE SKULLS - the evolutionary theory tells us that we must seek to
understand the challenges that our ancestors faced in order to understand our current challenges and our
current behaviors whether they be adaptive or maladaptive. Today’s current behaviors (ie reading
books, driving cars, watching tv etc) are considered by-products of adaptive solutions to earlier
e. CULTURE PROVIDES ADAPTIVE SOLUTIONS
e. One of the most difficult adaptive situations is when dealing with other human beings. Humans
rely on other humans for survival (ie babies at birth need caring from their parents). This
concept of interdependency is not unique to humans, and the complexity of the nature of
relations (group living) gives rise to culture (=one’s beliefs, values, rules, customs and norms
that exist within a group). The group is unified through a common language and environment.
We assume that this culture (the beliefs, values, rules, customs, norms) are passed through to
following generations through learning.
f. For example, how we behave, what we eat, how we express our emotions (these are examples
of something we can call our cultural rules) is largely influenced by the culture in which we are
g. our cultural rules reflect the adaptive solutions that have been worked out by previous
generations. For example, our ancestors figure out appropriate behavior in a certain
environment and pass on these solutions to next generations and so on. So, the whole group in
this environment (this culture) practises similar behavior and beliefs. This knowledge that is
passed down through the generations helps future generations solve current adaptive problems
h. culture plays a key role in shaping how people view and reason about the surrounding world.
Also, culture vastly differs amongst different groups, thus people’s views and reasonings are
vastly different in different culture groups. For example, Westerners are analytic and break
down complex ideas to simple components, they are logical and use rules to explain
information. Easterners, on te other hand, see the world as it is in front of them and look at all
the elements in front of them, regardless of their complexity level.
e. using research from centuries BCE, cultural psychologists study Western and Eastern
societies and conclude that Western societies focus on independency and autonomia;
Eastern societies focus on group harmonies and being a part of the collective.
i. Culture shapes beliefs and values, even those beliefs that seem unique to the individual (like
the example above comparing one’s emphasis on his/her interests versus the interests of the
j. Cultural rules are known as norms that specify how people should behave in different contexts,
material aspects of culture. Psychological scientists help provide a better understanding of the
relationship between culture and behavior.
k. So, we conclude that the human mind is adaptive both biologically and culturally speaking, and
provide solutions to survival and reproductive problems, as well as a strong framework for a