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Optimality Modeling in Human Evolutionary Behavioral Science

Author(s): Jeon, Joonghwan

Journal: Journal of Ecology and Field Biology
ISSN 1975-020X

Volume: 31;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 177;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Evolutionary psychology | Human behavioral ecology | Optimality modeling | Research method

Recently, the evolutionary study of human psychology and behavior has undergone rapid growth,diversifying into a few distinct sub-disciplines. One fundamental issue over which researchers in Human BehavioralEcology and Evolutionary Psychology (EP) have different views is the role of formal optimality modelingfor making hypotheses and deriving predictions about human adaptations. The study of EP typically rests oninformal inferences and rarely uses optimality modeling, a strategy which human behavioral ecologists haveseverely criticized. Here I argue that EP researchers have every reason to make extensive use of optimalitymodeling as its research method. I show that optimality modeling can play an integral role in identifying thefunctional organization of human psychological adaptations.
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