Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 41–52 | Cite as

Evolutionary psychiatry and depression: testing two hypotheses

  • Somogy Varga
Scientific Contribution


In the last few decades, there has been a genuine ‘adaptive turn’ in psychiatry, resulting in evolutionary accounts for an increasing number of psychopathologies. In this paper, I explore the advantages and problems with the two main evolutionary approaches to depression, namely the mismatch and persistence accounts. I will argue that while both evolutionary theories of depression might provide some helpful perspectives, the accounts also harbor significant flaws that might question their authority and usefulness as explanations.


Evolutionary psychiatry Depression Social navigation hypothesis Rumination 



I wish to thank Laurence J. Kirmayer and Jennifer Radden for helpful comments and suggestions.

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany
  2. 2.Center for Subjectivity ResearchUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen SDenmark

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