Evolutionary theory: Fringe or central to psychological science?

By Danielle Sulikowski in Frontiers in Psychology, 24 May 2016. From the conclusion:

“Newer conceptualizations of EP are uncommitted to notions of massive modularity, look beyond the Pleistocene for the selection pressures that have shaped psychological mechanisms and incorporate developmental and cultural impacts into theories concerning the evolved functions of psychological mechanisms. It is clear however, that the massive modularity roots of modern EP still influence how many, including both advocates and critics, view the field. One message that is clear from the works presented in this volume, is that EP must mature and free itself of many of its early assumptions and assertions (as seems to be currently happening empirically, if not yet theoretically, Burke). Only if this occurs, will EP be placed to properly integrate with Evolutionary Biology and be in a position to cement evolutionary theory as a unifying meta-theory for Psychological Science. Whether such a New Evolutionary Psychology should incorporate computational theories of mind or reject these in favor of the newer e-cognition perspectives is an empirical question and not one whose answer needs to be decided before the weight of evidence has settled in either court (Stephen).

E-cognition is defined as “extended, embodied approaches which place emphasis on the role played by the whole organism and its environment in the decision-making process, rather than simply the brain.” Some examples are is Stotz’s extended evolutionary psychology:  “Combining evolutionary theories concerning genetic, epigenetic, behavioral, and cultural systems of inheritance, developmental plasticity and niche construction, with e-cognition, Stotz outlines a truly integrative EP.” Barrett and Stulp et al. argue for the extended mind hypothesis which “places much emphasis on the sociocultural nature of human psychology and the external resources (cultural and technological artifacts) that form part of the modern human cognitive system. The Extended Mind Hypothesis offers the various forms of e-cognition, rather than EP, as the appropriate meta-theoretical perspective to succeed the computational theory of mind.”

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Paul Watson
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Paul Watson

Ed and All,

I agree completely with the Danielle Sulikowski quote posted by Ed. Sulikowski is here writing about the standard view from “modern Darwinism” and modern EP. And it is exactly what i have been teaching in my Evolution of Religiosity and Human Coalitional Psychology course for many years. Religious practice, cross-culturally, guided by religious professionals (shaman, priests, etc.) has developed as the “go to” tool for the promotion of fitness-enhancing versions of “extended mind.” — Paul

Paul Watson
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Paul Watson

Is there a way to leave PDF’s for members to read that relate to posted topics? In the meantime, here is a link to a recent article from The Atlantic. http://nautil.us/blog/why-social-science-needs-evolutionary-theory

Paul Watson
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Paul Watson

Sorry, NOT The Atlantic, but still good.