Evolution, Emotion, and Reason: Evolution and Rationality

Paul Bloom


This lecture introduces students to the study of psychology from an evolutionary perspective, the idea that like the body, natural selection has shaped the development of the human mind. Prominent arguments for and against the theory of natural selection and its relationship to human psychology are reviewed. Students will hear several examples of how studying mental phenomenon from an evolutionary perspective can help constrain theories in psychology as well as explain many prevalent human instincts that underlie many of our most basic behaviors and decisions.

Reading assignment:

Gray, Peter. Psychology (5th edition), pp. 61-68, 345-351

Pinker, Steven. "How the Mind Works." In The Norton Psychology Reader. Edited by Gary Marcus. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006. pp. 39-44

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