Evolutionary Learning Theory

Learning is an extremely wide process; most living organisms have the capability of learning at some extent; the process of learning is often seen as the explanation that is in competition with the evolved psychology. The evolutionary learning theory is an approach towards the social and natural sciences that explores the psychological traits, such as perception, memory and language from a modern evolutionary viewpoint. Evolutionary learning theory answers questions about the human behaviors (William, 2002).

Principles of Evolutionary Learning Theory

Principle 1.  The brain is a physical system; therefore it functions like a computer. Its circuits are made in a manner to produce behaviors that are appropriate to the circumstances in the environment.

Principle 2.  The neural circuits of the humans were designed by the natural selection to solve the problems that our ancestors encountered during the species evolutionary history.

Principle 3. Consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg; most of what goes in the mind of a person is hidden from us. Therefore, our conscious experience can mislead us into thinking that our circuitry is less complex than it really is. Most of the problems experienced by human beings and seen as easy to solve are in reality very difficult to solve; this is due to the fact that these problems require a very complicated neural circuitry.

Principle 4. Different neural circuits are specific for solving different adaptive issues and challenges within the human being.

Principle 5.  The mind of a person is adapted to deal with the problems that were faced by our hunter gatherer ancestors in the Upper Pleistocene period between ten thousand and one million years ago (William, 2002).

The above principles 2 and 3 are taken from the cognitive field of psychology as reinforcement of the evolutionary learning theory. Principles 1 and 5 are standard to any approach of the evolutionary learning theory in the study of human behaviors and mind in general.

There exist several evolutionary theorists who have different arguments on details; however, they share the starting premise that human behavior can be better understood via giving greater consideration to the selection pressures that were faced by our Pleistocene-era ancestors. They contend that the evolutionary last of the human beings molded the brains in precise manners that have significant effects on how these people behave and how the society is organized today. Theorists, such as Martin Daly and Margo Wilson, make on the arguments of issue of natural selection; natural selection tends to favor the parents with the built-in restraints against harming the biological children, but this evolutionary incentive for nurturing and restrained behavior does not extend to other children. This disposition is proposed to specifically explain the reason as to why most stepchildren are victims of abuse more often than the biological children (William, 2002).

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Charles Darwin on the Evolutionary Learning Theory

Darwinian selection has become the attraction of biology, and in the last few decades several psychologists and anthropologists have acknowledged the value of using an evolutionary perspective to guide the theories of learning in human beings. Charles focused on the evolved psychological mechanisms and the linked information processing aspects in the human brain.

Natural Selection and Sexual Selection

Evolution by the natural selection progression is the consequential process that exists when individuals of a precise population differ in characteristics; this differing is usually heritable, and different people have different behaviors in different settings. Variations in human beings enable them to have different abilities of survival in the same environments, in cases where the variation is heritable; these genes are passed on to the offsprings.  Individuals with the inherited characteristics tend to have higher chance of competing in their environments.

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Sexual selection in the evolutionary learning theory involves the process that favors the rise in the occurrence of alleles that are directly associated with the reproduction. Charles Darwin distinguished the aspect of sexual selection from that of natural selection. Sexual selection entails the two components of intersexual competition that involves the competition between the individuals of the same gender for sexual access to the opposite sex. In this aspect of learning, even a trait that is liable to survival has the chances of evolving.

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