Evolutionary explanations in the social and behavioral sciences: Introduction and overview
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AbstractDespite a growing acceptance of the value of evolutionary approaches to understanding the natural world there has been relatively little attention paid to evolutionary ideas in sociology, socio-cultural anthropology, and — of particular relevance for this special issue — criminology and forensic/correctional psychology. The aim of this paper is to provide an introductory overview of evolutionary approaches to human behavior with a focus on illuminating the role they can play in enriching our understanding of criminal and antisocial behavior. We begin with an overview of the main approaches to applying evolutionary theory to human behavior and we suggest that a pluralistic perspective is most likely to advance conceptual and empirical work in the field. We then turn to a brief discussion of some common, but misguided criticisms of this approach. Some of the more substantive conceptual and methodological issues that evolutionary approaches need to address are then explored. Finally, we engage with the broader issues that relate to the role of evolutionary explanations in the social and behavioral sciences.

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