Describe the difference between Darwin’s theories of (a) natural selection and (b) sexual selection. How do Darwin’s original theories relate to modern research in evolutionary psychology?
Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection states that living things change over time due to variations in heritable behavioral and physical traits. Natural selection occurs where organisms with beneficial traits are better adapted to their environment. Therefore, they can compete, reproduce, and survive at higher rates than those less evolved. The theory of sexual selection, on the other hand, is a mode of natural selection that is based on how members of the same biological sex compete for members of the opposite sex for mating (intrasexual) and how members of a particular biological sex select mates of the opposite sex for reproduction (intersex). That means that some individuals have higher chances of reproductive success than others within the same population.
Evolutionary psychology is based on the argument that psychological processes have adaptive functions and evolutionary processes involve both the body and the brain. Modern psychologists apply Darwin’s theories to study and explain the evolution of the human mind and how it benefits an individual. They explain the common aspects of human experience and behavior like consciousness, language, and memory. These aspects evolved due to their adaptive fitness and promoted the survival and increment of the human species. Additionally, the theories have significant heuristic value, leading psychologists to adaptive behavior classes that promote survival and reproduction. The ideas also guide researchers to similar phenomena like foreseeable and inherent forms of family-based conflicts and sexual conflict between females and males.
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