Until now, evolutionary psychologists have focused largely on understanding adult behavior, giving little sustained attention to childhood. Developmental psychologists, for their part, have been wary of the perceived genetic determinism of evolutionary thinking. This important volume brings together an array of prominent developmental scientists whose work is explicitly driven by evolutionary concerns. Presenting sophisticated new models for understanding gene-environment interactions, the authors demonstrate how evolutionary knowledge can enhance our understanding of key aspects of cognitive, social, and personality development. Tightly edited chapters examine how different developmental mechanisms have evolved and what role they play in children's functioning and their adaptation to adult life. Essential topics covered include parent-child relationships, aggression, puberty, infant perception and cognition, memory, language, and more.
"This is a timely and impressive volume from many of today's leading scholars in the field of evolutionary developmental psychology, a perspective that is much misunderstood by mainstream developmental psychologists. The volume includes a nice mix of broad theoretical overviews of the discipline and detailed analyses of a wide range of social and cognitive phenomena. As such, it serves both to introduce the perspective to scholars and students who are unfamiliar with it and to illustrate the ways in which evolutionary thinking can inform the study of numerous aspects of development. It would make a marvelous textbook for instructors in search of something to stimulate and challenge the thinking of advanced undergraduate or graduate students interested in child development. Indeed, the next time I teach an advanced course in developmental psychology, I likely will build my syllabus around this book."--Laurence Steinberg, PhD, Department of Psychology, Temple University
"A cornucopia of new ideas on human development, Origins of the Social Mind is required reading for developmental psychologists."--Steven Pinker, PhD, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
"This volume represents the cutting edge of transdisciplinary scholarship. Relying on the theories and methods of evolutionary psychology, it broadens the reach of this emerging discipline to the field of child development. Particularly provocative are integrative, novel theories by Ellis and Belsky on topics of relevance to scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and parents. There is something here for everyone."--Kenneth A. Dodge, PhD, Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University