Biological and evolutionary psychologies

The limits of critical psychology

Authored by: John Cromby

Handbook of Critical Psychology

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9781848722187
eBook ISBN: 9781315726526
Adobe ISBN: 9781317537182


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Biological and evolutionary psychologies are separate but overlapping fields of enquiry. Textbooks are where the taken-for-granted assumptions of a discipline are frequently made most explicit, and most biological psychology textbooks also include discussion of evolutionary explanations and evolutionary psychology. For example, Kalat (2009: 1) describes biological psychology as the study of the ‘animal roots of behaviour’, saying that ‘it holds that we think and act as we do because of certain brain mechanisms, which we evolved because ancient animals with these mechanisms survived and reproduced’ (3). Toates (2007) similarly places considerable emphasis on evolutionary explanations, arguing that they are one of four ways in which behaviour can be accounted for (alongside causal, developmental, and functional explanations).

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