Evolutionary Perspectives on Child Development and Education

  • David C. Geary
  • Daniel B. Berch

Part of the Evolutionary Psychology book series (EVOLPSYCH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Development, Play, and Exploration in Early Learning

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. David F. Lancy
      Pages 33-65
    3. Tamara Spiewak Toub, Vinaya Rajan, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
      Pages 117-141
  3. Social and Moral Development

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 143-143
    2. Anthony A. Volk, Ann H. Farrell, Prarthana Franklin, Kimberly P. Mularczyk, Daniel A. Provenzano
      Pages 167-191
  4. Evolved Biases and Cognition and Learning in the Modern World

  5. Tamara Spiewak Toub, Vinaya Rajan, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
    Pages E1-E1
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 349-356

About this book


This stimulating volume assembles leading scholars to address issues in children’s cognitive, academic, and social development through the lens of evolutionary psychology.Debates and controversies in the field highlight the potential value of this understanding, from basic early learning skills through emerging social relationships in adolescence, with implications for academic outcomes, curriculum development, and education policy.Children’s evolved tendency toward play and exploration fuels an extended discussion on child- versus adult-directed learning, evolutionary bases are examined for young learners’ moral development, and contemporary theories of learning and memory are viewed from an  evolutionary perspective.Along the way, contributors’ recommendations illustrate real-world uses of evolution-based learning interventions during key developmental years.

Among the topics covered: 

  • The adaptive value of cognitive immaturity: applications of evolutionary developmental psychology to early education               
  • Guided play: a solution to the play versus learning dichotomy
  • Adolescent bullying in schools: an evolutionary perspective                 
  • Fairness: what it isn’t, what it is, and what it might be for
  • Adapting evolution education to a warming climate of teaching and learning
  • The effects of an evolution-informed school environment on student performance and wellbeing

Evolutionary Perspectives on Child Development and Education will interest researchers and graduate students working in diverse areas such as evolutionary psychology, cultural anthropology, human ecology, developmental psychology, and educational psychology. Researchers in applied developmental science and early education will also find it useful.


at-risk youth cognitive immaturity evolutionary development evolutionary educational psychology evolutionary perspectives on child development evolutionary perspectives on education evolutionary perspectives on teaching instructional design learning and memory systems perspectives on education and child development social and moral development

Editors and affiliations

  • David C. Geary
    • 1
  • Daniel B. Berch
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Curry School of EducationUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

Bibliographic information