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Essay on Social and Evolutionary Psychology

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Social and Evolutionary Psychology


In an attempt to define civilized man’s relationship to the jungle and primitive societies, one must first consider the theories of social psychologists who have offered interpretations of modern man’s reactions upon insertion into a primitive setting. The main contrast in human states that arises from this argument is the concept of civilization versus savagery. Much is uncovered about the path man tends to take when confronted with these two options when studying the research as to what arises from man’s savage tendencies when the restraints of society no longer tame human primal instincts.

One such field that explores the instinctual nature of the human psyche is Evolutionary Psychology. The research goal of this concentration is to discover and understand the design of the human mind. The theory presented on this topic is that the mind is a set of information-processing machines that were designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This idea suggests that modern man has evolved from his primal ancestors in mental design in a Darwinian manner of a “natural selection” of sorts. A major intellectual in this field of Evolutionary Psychology was William James, the author of Principles of Psychology. In his work, James uncovers the question of human “instincts”. He defines them as “specialized neural circuits that are common to every member of a species and are the product of that species’ evolutionary history”. It then are these ‘circuits” as referred to by James, that constitute “human nature”. Upon further understanding of “human nature”, we can then formulate a better hypothesis as to what modern man’s course ...


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...at man’s instinctual impulses override those placed upon him by society. When applying these theories to the hypothesis formulated on civilized man’s response to the jungle, we are lead to believe that human “instincts” would most likely overtake all other human impulses, thus leading man to act upon primal behavioral tendencies as opposed to those formulated by civilized society.

Works Consulted

McDougall, William. “An Introduction to Social Psychology.”(1919). Social Psychology. 2002. Online. Internet. Oct 01 2002. Available: http://socserv2.socci.mcmaster.ca/~econ/ugcm/3ll3/mcdougall/socialpsych.pdf

“Nature vs. Nurture.” Social Psychology. 2002. Online. Internet. Oct 02 2202. Available : http://psychology.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.trinity.edu%2F%7Emkearl%2Fsocpsy.html

James, William. Principles of Psycology.1891. London.


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