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Evolutionary Developmental Psychology

Evolutionary developmental psychology is a theoretical approach that explains children’s and youths’ psychological traits, or adaptations, as having evolved across many generations in order to effectively pass one’s genes on to future generations. Evolution thus works forward in time so that today’s environments select tomorrow’s genetics. This entry examines how evolutionary theory can help us understand children’s psychology. Beginning with a synopsis of the history of evolutionary psychology, the entry then discusses how evolutionary psychology might be applied to child studies by offering two case studies—one focused on bullying and one focused on attachment.

The History of Evolutionary Psychology

Historically, most of the research in evolutionary psychology has focused on adults. However, given that individuals must survive infancy and childhood in order to become reproductive adults, ...

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