July 12, 2003

CONTENTS,  Special Issue, VOL.23 Dec 2002
VOL.22, 2001
VOL.21, 2000
VOL.20, 1999
VOL.19, 1998
VOL.18, 1997
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including Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuro
Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology
and Human Ethology
ISSN 0172–780X

Vol. 23, December 2002

Psychopathology or Adaptation?
Genetic and Evolutionary Perspectives on Individual Differences and Psychopathology

Psychopathology or Adaptation?
Genetic and Evolutionary Perspectives on Individual Differences and Psychopathology

Evolutionary Psychopathology (Short Title)   

Charles Crawford & Catherine Salmon

Submitted: August 8, 2002
Accepted: September 9, 2002

Key words:
evolutionary psychology, adaptation, genetics, environment, psychopathology

2002; 23(suppl 4) :39–45
pii: NEL231002R04
PMID: 12496734

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A greater understanding of psychopathology will be found in the integration of genetic and evolutionary perspectives on adaptation and function. Evolutionary theory proposes that adaptive traits are reproduced more successfully than maladaptive ones. However, some traits, while contributing to fitness in the ancestral environment, may contribute to fitness no longer. This is known as mismatch theory. Evolutionarily informed research into various “pathologies” has yielded interesting results, some based on this theory. This paper serves to distinguish between genetic and evolutionary perspectives on psychopathology as well as to examine some recent research on the selective forces that may be implicated in psychopathy, anorexic behavior, and ADHD. We suggest that research into psychopathy in general would benefit from an evolutionary perspective and an examination of the assumptions behind past research.    

Of all the facts of life, the most important is evolution. If psychology is to take its legitimate place among the family of life sciences, it must eventually integrate its basic theories and facts with those of evolution. If we are to understand abnormal behavior, we must do so in the context of a psychology so conceived and so formulated.            Rosenthal [1]


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38 Jensen PS, Hoagwood K. The book of names: DSM-IV in context. Developmental Psychopthology 1997; 9:231–249.

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including Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuro
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and Human Ethology
ISSN 0172–780X

A peer-reviewed transdisciplinary Journal covering Neuroendocrinology, Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuropsychopharmacology, Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology and Human Ethology for RAPID publication of Original Papers, Review Articles, State-of-the-Art, Clinical Reports, Meta-Analyses and other contributions from all the fields covered by Neuroendocrinology Letters. E-mail: info@nel.edu

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