It is evident that we are not equal at birth, at five years old, at fifteen to thirty or at eighty. And is that since we are conceived until we die we are in a continuous process of change: throughout our lives, we will evolve and develop as individuals, and we will gradually acquire different abilities and abilities according to our body go maturing both biologically and from experience and learning.
It is a development process that does not end until the moment of death, and that has been studied by different disciplines. One of them is the evolutionary psychology, of which we are going to speak in this article.
EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY: BASIC DEFINITION
Evolutionary psychology is considered to be the branch of psychology whose object of study is the development of the human being throughout its life cycle. It is a discipline born of the interest in understanding the multiple changes that manifest the mind and behaviour of a developing being continued from birth to the grave.
Although studies of evolutionary psychology have traditionally focused mainly on child development, it is very important to emphasize the fact that this discipline covers the entire life cycle: adolescence, maturity and old age are also the object of highly researched and relevant research. despite having received a lower level of attention (being perhaps the adult stage the least researched of all in this regard).
This discipline emphasizes the processes of change for which the subject is passing through his life, considering the presence of distinctive and individual elements that make us unique but of similarities with regard to the development process in question. It also considers that in this development we will find both biological and environmental factors. The sociocultural environment, the degree of biological maturation and the interaction of the organism with the world are valued.
Physical, socio-affective, communicative and cognitive development are some of the main elements that from this branch of psychology are analysed and of which values, evolution, having some models or paradigms different theories and focusing more or less on concrete aspects. Evolutionary psychology allows us to assess the point of view and knowledge of each subject based on how the world perceives someone with a determined level of development. The usefulness of this is broad, given that thanks to the understanding of these factors we can adjust education, jobs or services offered to different sectors of the population considering their needs.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THIS BRANCH OF PSYCHOLOGY
Although one of its most representative authors is Jean Piaget, this discipline has multiple precursors to take into account. The first scientific records of development milestones date back to the 17th century, with the appearance of the first diaries or biographies of babies in which sensory, motor, cognitive and language behaviour were observed (Tiedemann). Darwin would also make observations regarding the evolving behaviour of the children, making his own baby biography and recording the progress of his son.
The first properly scientific study on child development is that of Preyer, who came to develop standards of scientific observation to record the behaviour of children and animals and published in 1882 "The soul of the child."
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The institutional establishment of education as something obligatory in childhood led to a deep study of the psyche and the development processes. In this stage, Binet would develop the first intelligence test dedicated to the child population. In addition, authors such as Montessori emerged that would contribute to the development of alternative educational systems beyond the one used up to now. Stanley Hall is also an indispensable precursor figure, due to him the introduction of the evolutionary psychology of the study of the adolescent subject.
Likewise, currents such as psychoanalysis would be born that would begin to give importance to children's experiences and development as an explanation of adult behaviour. Freud himself would elaborate a series of phases of psychosexual development that would contemplate different changes linked to his theory, as well as a highlight in the field of child development Anna Freud and Melanie Klein as main exponents of this current.
Evolutionary psychology has generated, throughout its history, a large number of theories and models. Winnicott, Spitz, Wallon, Anna Freud, Mahler, Watson, Bandura, Case, Fischer, Neugarten etc. They are all names of authors and relevant authors in the evolution of this discipline.