Risk-taking, intrasexual competition, and homicide

M Daly, M Wilson
2001 Nebraska Symposium on Motivation  
In this chapter, we take an evolutionary psychological approach to risky decision making, social competition, sex differences, and homicide. By "evolutionary psychology," we mean the pursuit of psychological science with active consideration of current theory and knowledge in evolutionary biology, which is the field concerned with elucidating the process that gave form to brains, mind, and behavior (Daly & Wilson, 1999) . Modern evolutionists are predominantly concerned with elucidating the
more » ... tional organization of living creatures ("adaptationism"), with particular reference to the creative role of Darwinian selection ("selectionism"). Although effective psychological scientists (like other life scientists; see Mayr, 1983) have always been adaptationists, they have not always been sophisticated selectionists. Psychologists have wandered down innumerable garden paths as a result of assuming that the adaptive complexity of brains and minds is organized to maximize some relatively proximal goal like happiness or homeostasis or self-actualization, rather than what evolutionary biology tells us that such complexity must really be organized to achieve, namely Darwinian fitness: the proliferative success of the focal individual's genes, relative to their alleles, in circumstances like those confronted by its evolving ancestors.
pmid:11759345 fatcat:pxb4qa3xivfzdl6tssksfhijwe