Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Psychopathology Versus Adaptation

  • Gareth CrazeEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2307-1



The potential reframing of psychological abnormalities and pathologies as having adaptive, evolutionary fitness-maximizing attributes.

The scientific conceptualization of psychological abnormalities and pathologies has been steadily refined through developments in cognitive science, neurobiology, and neuroendocrinology. The role that genetic and epigenetic influences play in undergirding the neural and biochemical activity that influences human cognitive development and function is now well-established in the literature. Indeed, many mental health conditions that have typically been referred to as “diseases” or “ailments” are probably normal instances of within-species phenotypic variation with respect to differences in cognitive and affective processing and subsequent behavioral output. Rather than being disabilities, conditions such as autism, synesthesia, and even major depressive disorder – each of which have an enduring presence in the human...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Kniffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA