Evolutionary and differential psychology: conceptual conflicts and the path to integration

Tim Marsh*, Simon Boag

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    67 Downloads (Pure)


    Evolutionary psychology has seen the majority of its success exploring adaptive features of the mind believed to be ubiquitous across our species. This has given rise to the belief that the adaptationist approach has little to offer the field of differential psychology, which concerns itself exclusively with the ways in which individuals systematically differ. By framing the historical origins of both disciplines, and exploring the means through which they each address the unique challenges of psychological description and explanation, the present article identifies the conceptual and theoretical problems that have kept differential psychology isolated not only from evolutionary psychology, but from explanatory approaches in general. Paying special attention to these conceptual problems, the authors review how these difficulties are being overcome by contemporary evolutionary research, and offer instructive suggestions concerning how differential researchers (and others) can best build upon these innovations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number655
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalFrontiers in Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author/s. This Document is protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission.


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