Darwin’s Psychology

Darwin has long been hailed as forefather to behavioural science, especially nowadays, with the growing popularity of evolutionary psychologies. Yet, until now, his contribution to the field of psychology has been somewhat understated.

This is the first book ever to examine the riches of what Darwin himself wrote about psychological matters. It unearths a Darwin new to contemporary science, whose first concern is the agency of organisms — from which he derives both his psychology, and his theory of evolution.

A deep reading of Darwin’s writings on climbing plants and babies, blushing and bower-birds, worms and facial movements, shows that, for Darwin, evolution does not explain everything about human action. Group-life and culture are also keys, whether we discuss the dynamics of conscience or the dramas of desire. Thus his treatment of facial actions sets out from the anatomy and physiology of human facial movements, and shows how these gain meanings through their recognition by others. A discussion of blushing extends his theory to the way reading others’ expressions rebounds on ourselves — I care about how I think you read me. This dynamic proves central to how Darwin understands sexual desire, the production of conscience and of social standards through group dynamics, and the role of culture in human agency.

Presenting a new Darwin to science, and showing how widely Darwin’s understanding of evolution and agency has been misunderstood and misrepresented in biology and the social sciences, this important new book lights a new way forward for those who want to build psychology on the foundation of evolutionary biology.
Positive psychologists focus on ways that we can advance the lives of individuals and communities by studying the factors that increase positive outcomes such as life satisfaction and happiness. Evolutionary psychologists use the principles of evolution, based on Darwin’s understanding of life, to help shed light on any and all kinds of psychological phenomena. This book brings together both fields to explore positive evolutionary psychology: the use of evolutionary psychology principles to help people and communities experience more positive and fulfilling lives.

Across eleven chapters, this book describes the basic ideas of both evolutionary and positive psychology, elaborates on the integration of these two fields as a way to help advance the human condition, discusses several domains of human functioning from the perspective of positive evolutionary psychology, and finally, looks with an eye toward the future of work in this emerging and dynamic field. Over the past few decades, evolutionary psychologists have begun to crack the code on such phenomena as happiness, gratitude, resilience, community, and love. This book describes these facets of the human experience in terms of their evolutionary origins and proposes how we might guide people to optimally experience such positive phenomena in their everyday lives.

Title: Positive Evolutionary Psychology Darwin’s Guide to Living a Richer Life
ISBN: 0190647124,9780190647124
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Genre: Psychology / Social Psychology
Date Published:
Pages: 168
Preview Link: Google Preview Link

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