Within my majors of Psychology and Criminal Justice, the concept of human evolution and variability is very well understood. It seems that the study of Psychology can be applied to essentially any field of study with it being such a broad topic. Alters and Alters describe the idea of evolution in a very similar matter. They say that evolution is the “thread that ties them all together,” referring to all of the fields of study in the world. Psychology is a general study of humans and how their minds work, while evolution is similarly know for being helpful to any of “those who study life.” Psychology allows us to see differences in different people through their behavior, relationships, and lifestyle, just to name a few things. Evolution also allows us to see human differences by explaining why these differences exist in the first place. And while psychology focuses directly on human-to-human relationships, evolution looks at relationships between species and even generations of species. Essentially, evolution leads to an “extensive and expansive impact on human thought,” with psychology aiming for the same goal. It is not difficult to see how the subjects overlap.
Beyond the broader sense of the correlation between evolution and psychology, there are more specific parallels as well. The study of developmental psychology can be easily applied to the idea of evolution. Developmental psychology focuses on how and why humans develop in the ways that they do throughout their entire lifespan. Evolution can aide developmental psychology by also studying how humans have developed throughout history. If the name itself doesn’t give it away, it is also true that evolutionary psychologists can benefit from the study of evolution. Evolutionary psychologists spend their time “searching through our ancestral programming to determine how natural selection has resulted in a species that behaves as it does.” They are using the evolution concept of natural selection in direct relation to the psychological study of human behavior.
With the core concept behind evolution being genes, it is clear that they play a big role. Genes determine who we will be while also telling the story of who our ancestors were. Genes and human behavior play together. Psychology understands that genes affect personality traits directly, while evolution explains how certain human behaviors can eventually lead to different genes. This is through the process of natural selection where successful traits are passed on.
Genes play a large role in the study of disease as well, and disease can explain a lot behind a person, a generation, even a species. The field of Criminal Justice often has a focus on discovering what and how someone died and this can often lead to disease as the answer. Disease is not always a simple solution though, as it too can change through time and become drug resistant. This means that natural selection allowed for the disease to morph into a version of itself that is not killed by drugs. This idea of disease mutation can also explain “insect resistance to pesticides or microbial resistance to antibiotics.” Through these studies of disease and genes, it is possible for Criminal Justice studies to understand certain causes of death.
Darwin’s concept behind nature versus nurture is important in understanding the correlation between psychology and evolution. Our genes and our environment play a large role in determining not only an individual’s fate but potentially the fate of an entire population. Alters and Alters explain the “gene tree analysis” and how it can help psychologists see what is genetic and what is due to environment when it comes to disease. This study is a perfect overlap between the studies of psychology and evolution.
The coursework this week allowed me to see Psychology and Criminal Justice differently in that I can now see that every subject is correlated. It now seems there is not one field of study that cannot be even marginally explained through the eyes of another focus. It is incredible that the answers to so many questions can be answered in so many different ways.