Relationship-Specific Social Psychological Adaptations Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Mainstream social psychology has sought parsimonious explanations of broad general applicability, and has in practice focused on stranger interactions. An evolutionary perspective; however, justifies predicting a rich diversity of relationship-specific social psychological adaptations. The demands of motherhood, fatherhood, mateship, sibship and other relationships are qualitatively distinct, and so, it appears, are the psychophysiological mechanisms that have evolved to deal with them. One window on what distinguishes social relationships is provided by the substance and epidemiology of interpersonal conflicts. Homicides exhibit victim-killer relationship-specific patterns in context, motive and demography, which we discovered only because we adopted an evolutionary psychological perspective. We offer a number of specific hypotheses about possible human psychological adaptations that have yet to be assessed, but are readily derived from consideration of the particular qualities of specific relationship types.

publication date

  • 1997