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Applied Evolutionary Psychology$
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S. Craig Roberts

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199586073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586073.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 09 December 2021

The evolved child: adapted to family life

The evolved child: adapted to family life

(p.54) (p.55) Chapter 5 The evolved child: adapted to family life
Applied Evolutionary Psychology

David F Bjorklund

Patrick Douglas Sellers II

Oxford University Press

While the influences of natural selection on human behaviour are most obvious in adulthood, selective pressures actively operate on humans across the entire lifespan, even prenatally, necessitating an examination of childhood from an evolutionary perspective. Application of evolutionary theory is especially important to an investigation of early childhood, as this time period is critical for cognitive and social development, particularly in response to familial interaction. We discuss research on child and family behaviour from an evolutionary developmental perspective, with particular emphasis on differences between family members in investment behaviours. We conclude by examining emerging research and theory related to differential susceptibility to rearing environments, which addresses how children’s early social environment plays a key role in setting developmental pathways, with significant implications for a variety of behaviours throughout childhood.

Keywords:   child development, evolutionary developmental psychology, facultative adaptations, parental investment, differential sensitivity to experiences, biological sensitivity to context

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