Pleistocene mind: a critical review of evolutionary psychology, and an introduction to intelligent design psychology.


Rosemead School of Psychology

Publication Date

Winter 2001


Researchers and scientists in evolutionary psychology, a new theoretical perspective within the field of psychology, have proposed striking insights into human behavior based on our long evolutionary past. These insights and proposals have gained support over the past decade among psychologists, but they have also been roundly criticized. According to proponents, the field of evolutionary psychology seeks to synthesize modern evolutionary theory with the latest psychological findings, informed by the field of evolutionary biology. This new field of evolutionary psychology claims to have discovered insights about our universal human nature, pointing to our supposed millions of years of evolution during the Pleistocene era as the main designer of our minds. Evolutionary psychologists point to such universal phenomenon as feelings of shame, cheater-detectors, standards for female beauty, mate selection, and child abuse by step-fathers as evidence for specialized brain circuits that were designed by evolution. Adapted to a life on the savannas, the human mind is composed of these functionally specialized circuits, and to fully understand behavior today we must understand the pressures of savanna life. Critics of this new discipline, including philosophers, scientists, and evolutionary biologists, have responded with serious counterpoints. This article provides a brief overview of the field and the arguments brought against EP, including evaluating both the empirical evidence and the theoretical underpinings. Implications for those favoring a theistic world- view are also discussed, and an introduction is given to a new field called Intelligent Design Psychology.


Intelligent design (Teleology); Evolutionary psychology

Publication Title

Journal of Psychology & Theology





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