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Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary Psychology
Neuroscience Perspectives concerning Human Behavior and Experience

June 2013 | 536 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Many books in evolutionary psychology emphasize just a small part of the total picture. William J. Ray's book gives students a clear understanding of how current psychological knowledge of human behavior and experience draws from a variety of perspectives. It begins with an understanding of evolution and the close connection between organisms and their environment, focusing on how the environment and genes can influence humans and the cultures of which they are a part. Using current research in social processes, decision making, and brain imaging, Ray explores how humans solve certain life problems in the same way that many non-human species do. He also highlights human abilities not seen in other species, including our ability to use language, develop culture, and create writings and art that can influence other humans thousands of years later. Written in a clear, easy-to-understand manner, the book emphasizes developmental processes and family relationships, sexual and social relationships, and emotionality and language. It concludes with an examination of health and disease, psychopathology, and culture, all seen through an evolutionary lens.

PART I: Introduction and Background
Chapter 1: Introduction to an evolutionary perspective
Chapter 2: What is evolution?
Chapter 3: Evolution and genetics
PART II: Basic human function and process
Chapter 4: Evolution of brain and function
Chapter 5: Developmental processes
Chapter 6: Emotionality
Chapter 7: Language
Chapter 8: Sex and gender
Chapter 9: Sexual selection
Chapter 10: Kin and family relationships
Chapter 11: Social relations
Chapter 12: Making social decisions
PART III: Applications
Chapter 13: Health and disease
Chapter 14: Psychopathology
Chapter 15: Culture


Instructor Teaching Site
The Instructors site will include Power Points, a Test Bank, Class Assignments & Discussion Questions.

The Student study site will include Journal Articles & Web Resources.

Great introductory book for evolutionary psychology course. Up to date and easy to read. Includes many ilustrations, charts and diagrams. On the website additional interesting and useful materials (both for teachers and students) are avialable. It is really worth considering as one of a main textbook for evolutionary psychology teaching.

Dr Sylwester Orzechowski
Psychology , Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin
May 19, 2014

This is really comprehensive text on the subject of evolutionary psychology. It is authored with unwavering authority and the learner whether they are newcomer or seasoned psychology student should find the text invaluable in their studies at all levels.

Mr Andrew Thorne
Bristol Centre For Care, Health & Educ, City of Bristol College
April 4, 2014

This is a very helpful book for those who want the evolutionary perspective for certain human behaviour. In a way this may relate to all social sciences. Perhaps the book could have been improved by addressing the debate on the difference (and potential consequences) of adopting an evolutionary perspective whilst allowing a degree of communal responsibility.

Dr Chahid Fourali
London Metropolitan Business School, London Metropolitan Uni (City Campus)
April 11, 2013

A very useful coverage of the evolutionary approach and its applications within contemporary psychology is provided. The evolution of the brain, genetic apsects and chapter on sexual selection are excellent. Of particular use in my teaching are the sections on development, emotionality, kinship, social functioning and culture. A wealth of conceptual detail is provided along with a very helpful reading of the current research.

Mr Paul Buckley
Nursing , Bradford University
April 8, 2013

Great book for undergraduates looking to explore evolutionary psychology, easy to understand, with good explanations of key concepts.

Ms Helen Hewertson
centre for research informed teaching, Central Lancashire University
July 24, 2012
Key features


  • Cutting-edge neuroscience research (e.g., brain imaging) relating to evolutionary psychology, with a more integrated perspective of human evolutionary processes
  • Study resources at the end of each chapter with review questions, key terms and concepts, glossary terms, and further readings help assess the reader assess their comprehension of the major points covered and enhance their learning experience
  • Additional website resources, such as the Human Genome Project and the research performed at the Smithsonian Institution on human evolution, to introduce the student to additional avenues to follow up on current research, offering relevant and up-to-date findings

For instructors