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How Children Invented HumanityThe Role of Development in Human Evolution$
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David F. Bjorklund

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190066864

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190066864.001.0001

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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: 26 July 2021

Children, Childhood, and Development in Evolutionary Perspective

Children, Childhood, and Development in Evolutionary Perspective

(p.1) 1 Children, Childhood, and Development in Evolutionary Perspective
How Children Invented Humanity

David F. Bjorklund

Oxford University Press

This chapter highlights the principles of evolutionary psychology and evolutionary developmental psychology, emphasizing that adaptations occurred at all life stages, not just in adults, and may have been especially important early in life. Infants, children, and adolescents evolved sets of behaviors, emotions, and cognitions adapted to their immediate environments and not necessarily to future ones. These adaptations are inherited but only develop properly through interaction with a supportive context. Humans evolved most of their unique psychological features over the last 2 million years or so, living as hunter-gatherers on the savannahs of Africa, and these are the environments in which human nature evolved. Many scholars contend that hunter-gatherer childhoods are the models upon which we should judge the practices we use in raising children today.

Keywords:   neoteny, ontogeny, phylogeny, evolutionary psychology, evolutionary developmental psychology, plasticity, environment of evolutionary adaptedness, evolved probabilistic cognitive mechanisms, ontogenetic adaptations

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