- Subject index
Via 100 entries, 21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook highlights the most important topics, issues, questions, and debates any student obtaining a degree in the field of psychology ought to have mastered for effectiveness in the 21st century. This two-volume reference resource, available both in print and online, provides an authoritative source to serve students’ research needs with more detailed information than encyclopedia entries but without the jargon, detail, or density found in a typical journal article or a research handbook chapter. Students will find chapters contained within these volumes useful as aids toward starting research for papers, presentations, or a senior thesis, assisting in deciding on areas for elective coursework or directions for graduate studies, or orienting themselves toward potential career directions in psychology.
Chapter 32: Comparative Psychology
Regardless of their area of expertise, scientists who approach the study of behavior in terms of adaptive function, evolutionary history, and developmental mechanisms can be considered comparative psychologists. Comparative psychology tries to bridge the gap between psychology's focus on behavior and biology's focus on evolution. The idea that evolution often starts with a functional change, such as a novel foraging behavior or mating strategy, and morphological changes then ensue has appealed to biologists since the 19th century. The preeminence of function over form is found, for example, in Lamarck's famous example of giraffes stretching their neck to reach higher foliage, thus resulting in the transmission of longer necks to their offspring. Although modern evolutionary theorists have largely abandoned this Lamarckian mechanism, known ...