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Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind, 4th Edition

By David Buss

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Feb 18, 2011

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For courses in Evolutionary Psychology .  


David Buss, one of the foremost researchers in the field, has thoroughly revised his already successful text with nearly 400 new references to provide an even more comprehensive overview of this dynamic field. Using cutting-edge research and an engaging writing style, the Fourth Edition of Evolutionary Psychology  ensures that your students will master the material presented.

Table of Contents


1. Scientific Movements Leading to Evolutionary Psychology

Landmarks in the History of Evolutionary Psychology

            Evolution before Darwin

            Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection

            Darwin’s Theory of Sexual Selection

            The Role of Natural and Sexual Selection in Evolutionary Theory

            The Modern Synthesis: Genes and Particulate Inheritance

            The Ethology Movement

            The Inclusive Fitness Revolution

            Clarifying Adaptation and Natural Selection

            Trivers's Seminal Theories

            The Sociobiology Controversy

Common Misunderstandings About Evolutionary Theory

            Misunderstanding 1. Human Behavior is Genetically Determined

            Misunderstanding 2. If It's Evolutionary, Then We Can't Change It

            Misunderstanding 3. Current Mechanisms are Optimally Designed

Milestones in the Origins of Modern Humans

            BOX 1.1 Out of Africa versus Multiregional Origins

Landmarks in the Field of Psychology

            Freud’s psychoanalytic theory

            Williams James and the Psychology of Instincts

            The Rise of Behaviorism

            The Astonishing Discoveries of Cultural Variability

            The Garcia effect, Prepared fears, and Decline of Behaviorism

            Peering into the Black Box: The Cognitive Revolution


Suggested Readings

2. The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology

The Origins of Human Nature

            Three Theories of the Origins of Adaptive Mechanisms

            The Three Products of Evolution

            Levels of Evolutionary Analysis in Evolutionary Psychology

The Core of Human Nature: Fundamentals of Evolved Psychological Mechanisms

            All Species Have a Nature

            Definition of an Evolved Psychological Mechanism

            Important Properties of Evolved Psychological Mechanisms

Methods for Testing Evolutionary Hypotheses

            Comparing Different Species

            Cross-cultural Methods

            Physiological and Brain Imaging Methods

            Genetic Methods

            Comparing Males and Females

            Comparing Individuals within a Species

            Comparing the Same Individuals in Different Contexts

            Experimental Methods

Sources of Data for Testing Evolutionary Hypotheses

            Archeological Records

            Data From Hunter-Gatherer Societies



            Life-History Data and Public Records

            Human Products

            Transcending the Limitations of Single Data Sources

Identifying the Adaptive Problems

            Guidance of Modern Evolutionary Theory

            Guidance from Knowledge of Universal Human Structures

            Guidance from Traditional Societies

            Guidance from the Paleoarcheology and Paleoanthropology

            Guidance from Current Mechanisms

            Guidance from Task Analysis

            Organization of Adaptive Problems


Suggested Readings


3. Survival Problems and Solutions

Food Acquisition and Selection

            Social and Cultural Aspects of Food

            Food Preferences

            Disgust: The Disease Avoidance Hypothesis

            Sickness in Pregnant Women: The Embryo Protection Hypothesis

Fire and Cooking

Why Humans Like Spices: the Antimicrobial Hypothesis

Why Humans Like To Drink Alcohol: The Evolutionary Hangover?

            The Hunting Hypothesis

            The Gathering Hypothesis

            Comparing the Hunting and Gathering Hypotheses

            The Scavenging Hypothesis

            Adaptations to Gathering and Hunting: Sex Differences in Specific Spatial Abilities

Finding a Place to Live: Shelter and Landscape Preferences

            The Savanna Hypothesis

Combating Predators and Other Environmental Dangers: Fears, Phobias, Anxieties, and “Evolutionary Memories”

            Most Common Human Fears

            Children’s Anti-Predator Adaptations

            BOX 3.1  Evolved Navigation Theory and the Descent Illusion

            Combating Disease

Are Humans Programmed to Die?

            The Theory of Senescence

            The Puzzle of Suicide



Suggested Readings


4. Women’s Long-Term Mating Strategies

Theoretical Background for the Evolution of Mate Preferences

            Parental Investment and Sexual Selection

            Mate Preferences as Evolved Psychological Mechanisms

The Content of Women’s Mate Preferences

            Preference for Economic Resources

            Preference for Good Financial Prospects

            Preference for High Social Status

            Preference for Older Men

            Preference for Ambition and Industriousness

            Preference for Dependability and Stability

            Preference for Size and Strength

            Preference for Good Health and Physical Appearance

            Love and Commitment

            Preference for Willingness to Invest in Children

            Preference for Similarity

            Additional Mate Preferences

Context Effects of Women’s Preferences

            Effects of Women’s Personal Resources on Mate Preferences

            Effects of Temporal Context on Women’s Mate Preferences

            The Mere Presence of Attractive Others: Mate Copying

            Effects of Menstrual Cycle on Mate Preferences

            Effects of Women’s Mate Value on Mate Preferences

How Women’s Mate Preferences Affect Actual Mating Behavior

            Women’s Responses to Men’s Personal Ads

            Women’s Marriages to Men High in Occupational Status

            Women’s Marriages to Men Who are Older

            Effects of Women's Preferences on Men's Behavior

            BOX 4.1  What About Lesbian Sexual Orientation?


Suggested Readings

5. Men's Long-Term Mating Strategies

Theoretical Background for the Evolution of Men’s Mate Preferences

            Why Men Might Benefit from Commitment and Marriage

            The Problem of Assessing Women’s Fertility or Reproductive Value

The Content of Men’s Mate Preferences

            Preference for Youth

            Evolved Standards of Beauty

            Body Fat, Critical Waist-to-Hip Ratio, and Body Mass Index

            Sex Differences in the Importance of Physical Appearance

            Do Men Have a Preference for Ovulating Women?

            Solutions to the Problem of Paternity Uncertainty

Context Effects on Men’s Mating Behavior

            BOX 5.2  Homosexual Orientation

            Men in Positions of Power

            Context Effects from Viewing Attractive Models

            Testosterone and Men's Mating Strategies

            The Necessities and Luxuries of Mate Preferences

Effect of Men’s Mate Preferences Affect Actual Mating Behavior

            Men's Responses to Women’s Personal Ads

            Age Preferences and Marital Decisions

            Effect of Men’s Mate Preferences on Women’s Competition Tactics

            Effect on Men's Preferences on Attention, Vocalization, Tips, and Engagement Rings


Suggested Readings

6. Short-Term Sexual Strategies

Theories of Men’s Short-Term Mating

            Adaptive Benefits for Men of Short-Term Mating

            Potential Costs of Short-Term Mating for Men

            BOX 6.1 Functions Versus Beneficial Effects of Short-Term Mating

            Adaptive Problems Men Must Solve When Pursuing Short-Term Mating

Evidence for an Evolved Short-Term Mating Psychology

            Physiological Evidence for Short-Term Mating

            Psychological Evidence for Short-Term Mating

            Behavioral Evidence for Short-Term Mating

Women’s Short-Term Mating

            Evidence for Women’s Short-Term Mating

            Hypotheses About Adaptive Benefits to Women of Short-Term Mating

            Costs for Women of Short-Term Mating

            Empirical Tests of Hypothesized Benefits to Women

Context Effects on Short-Term Mating

            Individual Differences in Short-Term Mating

            Other Contexts Likely to Affect Short-Term Mating


Suggested Readings


7. Principles of Parenting

Why Do Mothers Provide Parental Care More Than Fathers?

            The Paternity Uncertainty Hypothesis

            The Mating Opportunity Cost Hypothesis

An Evolutionary Perspective on Parental Care

            Genetic Relatedness to Offspring

            Offspring’s Ability to Convert Parental Care Into Reproductive Success

            Alternative Uses of Resources Available for Investment in Children

The Theory of Parent-Offspring Conflict

            Mother-Offspring Conflict in Utero

            Mother-Child Conflict and Sibling Relatedness

            Parent-Offspring Conflict over Mating

            BOX 7.1  Killing Parents and Asymmetry of Valuing Parents and Children


Suggested Readings

8. Problems of Kinship

Theory and Implications of Inclusive Fitness

            Hamilton’s Rule

            Theoretical Implications of Hamilton’s Rule

Empirical Findings That Support the Implications of Inclusive Fitness Theory

            Alarm Calling in Ground Squirrels

            Kin Recognition and Kin Classification in Humans

            Patterns of Helping in the Lives of Los Angeles Women

            Life-or-Death Helping among Humans

            Genetic Relatedness and Emotional Closeness: Is Blood Thicker Than Water?

            Kinship and Survival

            Vigilance over Kin's Romantic Relationships

            Kinship and Stress

            Patterns of Inheritance--Who Leaves Wealth to Whom?

            Grandparental Investment

            BOX 8.1 Investment by Aunts and Uncles

            A Broader Perspective on the Evolution of the Family

            The Dark Side of Families


Suggested Readings


9. Cooperative Alliances

The Evolution of Cooperation

            The Problem of Altruism

            Theory of Reciprocal Altruism

            Tit for Tat

            BOX 9.1 Strategies for Promoting Cooperation

Examples of Cooperation in Nature

            Food sharing in Vampire Bats

            Chimpanzee Politics

Cooperation and Altruism among Humans

            Social Contract Theory

            Do People Remember Cheaters?

            Indirect Reciprocity Theory

            Costly Signaling Theory

            The Detection of Prospective Altruists

            The psychology of friendship

            Costs and Benefits of Friendship

            Cooperative Coalitions


Suggested Readings

10. Aggression and Warfare

Aggression as a Solution to Adaptive Problems

            Co-opt the Resources of Others

            Defend against Attack

            Inflict Costs on Intrasexual Rivals

            Negotiate Status and Power Hierarchies

            Deter Rivals from Future Aggression

            Deter Long-Term Mates from Sexual Infidelity

            The Context-Specificity of AggressionWhy Are Men More Violently Aggressive Than Women

            Box 10.1 The Recalibration Theory of Anger

Empirical Evidence for Distinct Adaptive Patterns of Aggression

            Evidence for Sex Differences in Same-Sex Aggression

            Contexts Triggering Men's Aggression against Men

            Contexts Triggering Women's Aggression against Women

            Contexts Triggering Men's Aggression against Women

            Contexts Triggering Women's Aggression against Men


            BOX 10.2  Yanomamo Warfare

            Do Humans Have Evolved Homicide Mechanisms?


Suggested Readings

11. Conflict between the Sexes

Strategic Interference Theory

Conflict about the Occurrence and Timing of Sex

            Conflict over Sexual Access

Sexual Aggression and Evolved Differences Against Sexual Aggression

            Sexual Harassment

            Sexual Aggressiveness

            Do Men Have Evolved Rape Adaptations?

            Individual Differences Against Rape Proclivity

Jealous Conflict

            Sex Differences in Jealousy

From Vigilance to Violence: Tactics of Mate Retention

            Sex Differences in the Use of Mate Retention Tactics

            Contexts Influencing Intensity of Mate Retention Effort

            Violence toward Partners

Conflict over Access to Resources

            Causes of Resource Inequality: Women’s Mate Preferences and Men’s Competitive Tactics

            BOX 11.1  Are All Men United with Other Men to Control Women?


Suggested Readings

12. Status, Prestige, and Social Dominance

The Emergence of Dominance Hierarchies

Dominance and Status in Non-Human Animals

Evolutionary Theories of Dominance and Status

            An Evolutionary Theory of Sex Differences in Status Striving

            Dominance Theory

            Social Attention-Holding Theory

            Determinants of Dominance

            BOX 12.1  Facial Dominance

            Self-Esteem as a Status Tracking Mechanism

            Strategies of Submissiveness


Suggested Readings



13. Toward a Unified Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary Cognitive Psychology

            Problem Solving: Heuristics, Biases, and Judgment Under Uncertainty

            The Evolution of Language

Evolutionary Social Psychology

            Capitalizing on Evolutionary Theories About Social Phenomena

            The Evolution of Moral Emotions

Evolutionary Developmental Psychology

            Theory of mind modules

            Life History Strategies

Evolutionary Personality Psychology

            Alternative Niche Picking or Strategic Specialization

            Adaptive Self-Assessment of Heritable Qualities

            Frequency-Dependent Adaptive Strategies

Evolutionary Clinical Psychology

            Causes of Mechanism Failure

            Evolutionary Insights into Problems Erroneously Thought to be Dysfunctions

Evolutionary Cultural Psychology

            Evoked Culture

            Transmitted Culture

            The Evolution of Art, Fiction, Movies, and MusicToward a Unified Psychology

Suggested Readings