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Origins of the Social Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and Child Development

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Full reference for the book: Ellis, B.J., & Bjorklund, D.F. (Eds.) (2005). Origins of the social mind: Evolutionary psychology and child development. New York: Guilford Press.


Publishers webpage for this book: Guilford Press


Search for this book on the internet or in libraries near you by clicking on the ISBN number.

ISBN ISBN 1593851030


Brief summary of book: (From the publisher) 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.


Table of contents:

I. Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Developmental Psychology: Core Issues and Approaches

1. Evolutionary Psychology and Child Development: An Emerging Synthesis, David F. Bjorklund and Bruce J. Ellis Abstract

2. Ontogeny and Evolution of the Social Child, Mark V. Flinn and Carol V. Ward Full text

3. The Role of Developmental Plasticity in the Evolution of Human Cognition: Evidence from Enculturated, Juvenile Great Apes, David F. Bjorklund and Justin S. Rosenberg Abstract

4. Early Stress: Perspectives from Developmental Evolutionary Ecology, James S. Chisholm, Victoria K. Burbank, David A. Coall, and Frank Gemmiti Abstract

5. Developmental Behavioral Genetics and Evolutionary Psychology: Tying the Theoretical and Empirical Threads, Nancy L. Segal and Elizabeth M. Hill Abstract

II. Personality and Social Development

6. Differential Susceptibility to Rearing Influence: An Evolutionary Hypothesis and Some Evidence, Jay Belsky Abstract

7. Determinants of Pubertal Timing: An Evolutionary Developmental Approach, Bruce J. Ellis Abstract

8. Some Functional Aspects of Human Adolescence, Glenn E. Weisfeld and Heather C. Janisse Abstract

9. Sex Differences in Competitive and Aggressive Behavior: A View from Sexual Selection Theory, Anthony D. Pellegrini and John Archer Abstract

10. Social Behavior and Personality Development: The Role of Experiences with Siblings and with Peers, Judith Rich Harris Abstract

11. Play: Types and Functions in Human Development, Peter K. Smith Abstract

12. Evolutionary Origins and Ontogenetic Development of Incest Avoidance, Irwin Silverman and Irene Bevc Abstract

III. Cognitive Development

13. Infant Perception and Cognition: An Evolutionary Perspective on Early Learning, David H. Rakison Abstract

14. Evolution and Development of Human Memory Systems, Katherine Nelson Abstract

15. Language Evolution and Human Development, Brian MacWhinney Abstract

16. The Evolutionary History of an Illusion: Religious Causal Beliefs in Children and Adults, Jesse M. Bering Abstract

17. Cognitive Development and the Understanding of Animal Behavior, H. Clark Barrett Full text

18. The Empathizing System: A Revision of the 1994 Model of the Mindreading System, Simon Baron-Cohen Abstract

19. Folk Knowledge and Academic Learning, David C. Geary Full text


Publication history:


Reviews of this book:

"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

"Both longtime researchers and developing undergraduates will profit from this book, which makes a significant contribution to the integration of evolutionary and developmental psychology....Highly recommended."--Choice

"The contributors to this text have excellent credentials, and Ellis and Bjorklund have done a thorough job editing the text. I was impressed with how incredibly well referenced the chapters are in the book....This is a novel text with many excellent contributing writers....The book is a landmark in the field because it applies evolutionary theory to child development and adds to the nature-nurture debate."--APA PsycCRITIQUES


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