What is Evolutionary Psychology?

Evolutionary psychology is a hybrid discipline that draws insights from modern evolutionary theory, biology, cognitive psychology, anthropology, economics, computer science, and paleoarchaeology. The discipline rests on a foundation of core premises: (1) Manifest behavior depends on underlying psychological mechanisms, information processing devices housed in the brain, in conjunction with the external and internal inputs that trigger their activation; (2) Evolution by selection is the only known causal process capable of creating such complex organic mechanisms; (3) Evolved psychological mechanisms are functionally specialized to solve adaptive problems that recurred for humans over deep evolutionary time; (4) Selection designed the information processing of many evolved psychological mechanisms to be adaptively influenced by specific classes of information from the environment; (5) Human psychology consists of a large number of functionally specialized evolved mechanisms, each sensitive to particular forms of contextual input, that get combined, coordinated, and integrated with each other to produce manifest behavior. Some information about the history and founding of evolutionary psychology can be found here.

The Evolutionary Psychology program at the University of Texas offers a doctorate of psychology degree. It provides advanced training in evolutionary psychology, social psychology, personality psychology, comparative psychology, research methods, and statistics. In addition to their research with faculty members in evolutionary psychology, graduate students are encouraged to collaborate with other faculty members in the Department of Psychology, the Department of Biology, and others.

David Buss is a full professor of psychology at the University of Texas. He is currently the head of the Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology Area and supervises a lab of evolutionary psychology Ph.D. students.

Previous Lab Photos

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