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Evolutionary psychology (EP) is a theoretical approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological structure from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations – that is, the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection in human evolution. Adaptationist thinking about physiological mechanisms, such as the heart, lungs, and immune system, is common in evolutionary biology. Some evolutionary psychologists apply the same thinking to psychology, arguing that the mind has a modular structure similar to that of the body, with different modular adaptations serving different functions. Evolutionary psychologists argue that much of human behavior is the output of psychological adaptations that evolved to solve recurrent problems in human ancestral environments.<ref>Confer et al. 2010; Buss, 2005; Durrant & Ellis, 2003; Pinker, 2002; Tooby & Cosmides, 2005</ref>

Evolutionary psychologists suggest that EP is not simply a subdiscipline of psychology but that evolutionary theory can provide a foundational, metatheoretical framework that integrates the entire field of psychology, in the same way it has for biology.<ref name=Cosmides/><ref>Duntley and Buss 2008</ref><ref>Carmen, R.A., et al. (2013). Evolution Integrated Across All Islands of the Human Behavioral Archipelago: All Psychology as Evolutionary Psychology. EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, 5, pp. 108–26. ISSN 1944-1932{{#invoke:check isxn|check_issn|1=1944-1932|error=}} PDF</ref>

Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations<ref name=Psychology>Schacter et al. 2007, pp. 26–27</ref> including the abilities to infer others' emotions, discern kin from non-kin, identify and prefer healthier mates, and cooperate with others. They report successful tests of theoretical predictions related to such topics as infanticide, intelligence, marriage patterns, promiscuity, perception of beauty, bride price, and parental investment.<ref name=social-behavior>"Despite this difficulty, there have been many careful and informative studies of human social behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Infanticide, intelligence, marriage patterns, promiscuity, perception of beauty, bride price, altruism, and the allocation of parental care have all been explored by testing predictions derived from the idea that conscious and unconscious behaviours have evolved to maximize inclusive fitness. The findings have been impressive." "social behaviour, animal." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 23 Jan 2011. [1].</ref>

The theories and findings of EP have applications in many fields, including economics, environment, health, law, management, psychiatry, politics, and literature.<ref name=Oxford2007>The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Edited by Robin Dunbar and Louise Barret, Oxford University Press, 2007</ref><ref>The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, edited by David M. Buss, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005</ref>

Controversies concerning EP involve questions of testability, cognitive and evolutionary assumptions (such as modular functioning of the brain, and large uncertainty about the ancestral environment), importance of non-genetic and non-adaptive explanations, as well as political and ethical issues due to interpretations of research results.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>


Evolutionary psychology sections
Intro  Scope  History  Theoretical foundations  Evolved psychological mechanisms  Environment of evolutionary adaptedness  Research methods  Major areas of research  In psychology sub-fields  Reception  See also  Notes  References  Further reading  External links  

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