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Chapter 5: Evolutionary Processes
Two kinds of evolutionary processes inform psychological research on stereotypes and prejudices. One is a process through which genetic variants are selectively transmitted from individuals to their offspring through sexual reproduction; this process has shaped psychological mechanisms that characterize contemporary human populations. The other is a process through which knowledge structures are selectively transmitted between individuals through interpersonal communication; this process shapes the belief systems that characterize human cultures. Inquiry into the first kind of process (genetic evolution) produces novel discoveries about contemporary human prejudices and the cues that trigger them. Inquiry into the second kind of process (cultural evolution) produces novel discoveries about the contents of popular stereotypes. This chapter reviews these bodies of research, and their implications.
Two distinct types ...