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Evolutionary Psychology: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) Paperback – March 1, 2005


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Evolutionary Psychology: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) + Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose + The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
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Product Details

  • Series: Beginner's Guides
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851683569
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851683567
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Three page article comparing 4 Evolutionary Psychology titles. It was very positive about ours. Evolutionary Anthropology

About the Author

Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Liverpool, has lectured around the world and is the author of several acclaimed books, including Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language (Faber & Faber, 1988). Louise Barrett and John Lycett are lecturers in Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Liverpool.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By gjc on November 11, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a psychologist, but I did not have any dedicated evolutionary psychology education within my university training. I bought this book to make up for my own lack of knowledge and to give me a starting point from which to understand evolutionary psychology. And, it did the job I hoped for. Having said this, I think it does assume some psychology knowledge, although not a great deal. This book would be best for people with at least a first-year-level undergraduate psychology education, but other people without formal training would still understand most of its content without much difficulty.

This book provides exactly what its title promises, a beginner's guide to evolutionary psychology. What exactly makes this a beginner's guide is that it takes the time to explain assumptions, background, and terminology. Happily, the background explanation does not weigh down the text, or unnecessarily delay the appearance of more central content. In addition, there's a useful short glossary. Moreover, the book is clearly designed to promote learning about the content because each chapter concludes with a plain-English summary that reinforces the main ideas.

Despite its short length (about 165 pages of text) there is quite a lot of interesting content in this book. In particular, I found the research on child development, brain development, social interaction, and moral behaviour very interesting. I think other readers would find the information on close personal relationships (couple relationship / mating) very interesting too - which was one areas of psychology in which I am familiar with evolutionary explanations. Finally, this book provides a different, although possibly complementary, explanation of the evolution of religion than Richard Dawkins's recently top-selling "the God Delusion".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Chastain on March 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
A good overview of the incipient field of evolutionary psychology (inchoate in the 70s, emerging in the 80s, newly born in the 90s, and now in its formative years). For a more indepth anthology of primary sources (peer-reviewed articles and a few introductory passages), I recommend the following.

The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Spurgin on August 13, 2005
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This book is better than most in that it looks at more than one point of view on certain topics. Good for getting people started on evolutionary psychology, although if you've gotten far enough to read this book some of it will be a little remedial. If you know something about EP already you'll want something more challenging.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christine Lo on October 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Currently working through this book for an anthropology class on evolutionary perspectives. Definitely recommend this book; it's easily accessible and incredibly rich and insightful about interesting evolutionary concepts I would have never considered to be an evolutionary strategy, such as infanticide. It's quite a fun read contrary to the many books I encountered in various classes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Simon Laub on February 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
According to Evolutionary psychology the human brain is the product of evolution and natural selection.
Indeed, according to evolutionary psychology - Evolution shapes everything: Hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, immune systems etc. and even cognition.

Sure, evolution might seem very impersonal and materialistic. Still, according to evolutionary psycholoy, it was evolution that ended up giving us all of our human feelings and thoughts. Evolution might be the story of the selfish gene, but evolution might also tell us something about how we learned to work together. Even altruism can be explained with the help of evolutionary ideas (i.e. kin selection and reciprocity might help us to understand how nonselfish social traits, such as altruism, could arise).

Some critics argue that evolutionary psychology hypotheses are difficult or impossible to test.
Still, all in all I find the book persuasive - and certainly an interesting read.

-Simon
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