Evolutionary Theory Meets Cognitive Psychology: A More Selective Perspective

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L. Cosmides and J. Tooby, leaders in the field of evolutionary psychology, have claimed that an evolutionary perspective toward psychology requires both that psychologists conceive of psychological processes as domain specific and that psychologists view all adaptive behavior as the product of cognition. In fact, we argue, an evolutionary perspective commits psychology to neither of these positions. The real value of evolutionary theory for psychology, we contend, lies in the heuristic role it plays in determining the function of psychological mechanisms and in the depth it contributes to explanations of why psychological processes have the properties they do.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0017.00072

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy and Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Publication date: June 1, 1998

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