Just before scientists deal with cognitive revolution, it had already been focused on computational processes occur in brain such as perception, reasoning, memory and learning. After Darwin, the engineered computational systems by natural selection gathered information to maintain and regulate physiology and behavior assisted us to think about psychology. The mysterious way of human brain is adaptively organized to solve complex problems for survival and reproduction as heritage from our ancestors. The question to be asked is here how does evolutionary psychology begin?
Evolutionary psychology (EP) can be explained as the consequences of series human behaviors and their complexity regarding to human brain evolution. When we took into account the evolution of each organ into the body, they evolve to perform a tandem of function: blood is pumped by heart, series of enzymes secreted by stomach. The same thing can be thought for brain where it gets information from the environment later it produces behavior by using this information and maintaining its physiology. This naturally selected computer like system processes information like programs. (Williams, 2008). Due to many different programs control brain, distinctly different adaptive problems were being used by these programs. Actually, our ancestors successfully managed these events where they cooperated with their environment by avoiding predators, by grammar learning or managing aggression and so on (Dawkins,1999). Hence, evolutionary psychologists agreed on that devices found in human brain manipulating our behaviors are specifically functionalized. For these to produce adaptive behaviors, the interaction must occur among expert systems that are rich in content.
In the case of behaviors, sexually monomorphic or dimorphic mechanisms play role generation of sex differences in behavior. For example, engineered computational system in woman and men might distinctly differ in terms of preferences, distinct inferences and motivational systems. Consequently, different decisions may happen on the same information (Eagly, 1997). In order to analyze the social behavior, evolutionary psychologists use game theory in which it proposes that the success of one individual in a group or population affects other individual’s decisions and behaviors. For example, a decision taken by one individual, or a reaction, a behavior or an attraction for a specific subject and their whole results are not only affecting the own individual but also affect the surrounded people whom have the same benefits or purpose in determined environment. Eventually, this interaction model confers on defined decision rules that resulting in possible behavior (Maynard Smith, 1998).
The same methodology can be applied to collective actions described as sharing resulted benefits to achieve a desired goal by three or more individuals, collaboratively. In this cooperation, defectors are named as “free riders”. In collective action, the low contributors that named as free riders get better payoffs than the high contributors. For instance, to withdraw free riders meaning to eliminate them from the group. Oppositely, in social exchange, preventing cheaters occur by switching partners. However, collective action requires to punish free riders to encourage them for higher contributions in the future. (Panchanathan & Boyd, 2004). These are selection pressures in mind where it naturally evolved.
In the light of aforementioned, EP is a meshwork explains computational processes occur in the brain. Human brain is more than we think where our mind solves problems, interact with environment, reflect our behaviors, make us take decisions. Utilizing evolutionary gaming theory, and understanding information processing nature of human brain will led us psychological science more by discovering the design of mind. Thanks to this biggest revolution, the nature of human being might be well-understood.
Dawkins, R. (1999). The extended phenotype: the long reach of the gene. Oxford University Press.
Eagly, A. H. (1997). Sex differences in social behavior: comparing social role theory and evolutionary psychology.
Panchanathan, K., & Boyd, R. (2004). Indirect reciprocity can stabilize cooperation without the second-order free rider problem. Nature, 432(7016), 499-502.
Smith, J. M. (1988). Evolution and the Theory of Games. Cambridge university press.
Williams, G. C. (2008). Adaptation and natural selection: a critique of some current evolutionary thought. Princeton University Press.