Chapter Summary

We have seen how the development of science enabled people to explain the world around them, drawing upon empirical data. This allowed them to challenge superstitious beliefs with evidence gained from the natural sciences. Psychology has, at its heart, a commitment to empiricism. It also draws significantly from the sister biological disciplines of palaeoanthropology, neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory and behavioural genetics. The story of human evolution is the story of how our brain and our psychology have evolved alongside each other. Communication, problem-solving and tool-making are key abilities within our species. Evolutionary psychology can provide a framework for understanding both why certain human behaviours have become widespread and how our cognitive hardware has evolved in response to our physical environment, limited resources and social environment.