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The evolution of childhood : relationships, emotion, mind

Author: Melvin Konner
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Takes a comprehensive Darwinian interpretation of human development. Looking at the entire range of human evolutionary history, Konner tells the story of how cross-cultural and universal characteristics of our growth from infancy to adolescence became rooted in genetically inherited characteristics of the human brain--From publisher description.

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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Melvin Konner
ISBN: 9780674045668 0674045661 9780674062016 0674062019
OCLC Number: 477272507
Awards: Nominated for W.W. Howells Book Prize 2010
Description: xv, 943 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: Prologue --
The structure of this book --
Six paradigms --
1. Introduction --
Some premises --
Some history --
Evolution and modification of behavior --
Evolution of ontogeny in the human animal --
Levels of causation in the explanation of behavior --
pt. I. Evolution : the phylogenetic origins of childhood : wherein we learn how the laws of evolution produced the shape of human social and emotional development --
2. Paradigms in the evolution of development --
Neo-Darwinian theory--the adaptationist paradigm --
Life history theory --
Evolutionary allometries --
Heterochrony in the phylogeny of development --
The evolution of developmental genes (evo-devo) --
Phyletic reorganization in brain evolution --
Developmental ethology --
Evolutionary developmental psychology --
Interlude 1 : thinking about birdsong --
3. Brains evolving --
Expansion and organization in brain evolution --
Vertebrate body plans and behavioral advances --
The emergence of mammalian brain and behavior --
Developmental keys to psychosocial evolution --
4. Ape foundations, human revolution --
Ape evolution and behavior --
Hominin evolution and behavior --
Hominin brain evolution --
Evolving human life histories --
Hominin behavior, social organization, and culture --
5. The evolution of human brain growth --
Neonatal status and early brain growth --
Humanizing anthropoid brain growth --
Hominin ontogeny --
Heterochrony in hominin evolution --
Transition 1 : neurological models of psychosocial function --
The limbic system model --
The orbitofrontal cortex and the somatic marker hypothesis --
The polyvagal model --
The mirror-neuron system --
Lateralized higher functions --
Imperfect models. pt. II. Maturation : anatomical bases of psychosocial growth : wherein we see how neural and endocrine systems guide the paths of development called for by natural selection --
6. Paradigms in the study of psychosocial growth --
The neurogenetics of animal models and human disease --
Neuroembryology --
Developmental neuroendocrinology --
Postnatal brain development --
Developmental behavior genetics --
Neurological individuality --
Interlude 2 : thinking about bipedal walking --
7. The growth of sociality --
The "fourth trimester" and the presocial baseline --
The rise and fall of early crying --
Smiling and mutual gaze --
8. The growth of attachment and the social fears --
Universals of human attachment and social fear --
Animal studies --
Biological mechanisms --
9. The growth of language --
A language acquisition device --
Cross-cultural and other evidence --
Biological foundations --
Early anatomical preparedness --
The role of learning --
10. The growth of sex and gender differences --
Gender identity --
Sex differences in aggression --
Cross-cultural studies --
Neuroendocrine foundations --
11. The transition to middle childhood --
An evolutionary approach --
Cognition in middle childhood --
A biological model --
12. Reproductive behavior and the onset of parenting --
Biological changes in puberty and adolescence --
Is individual age at puberty a facultative adaptation? --
Control of the onset of puberty --
Growth and change in the adolescent brain --
The psychological impact of body changes --
Adolescent hormones in sexuality and aggression --
Cross-cultural regularities --
A role for romantic love? --
Ideals and abstractions --
The onset of parenting--maternal care --
Paternal care and the pair bond --
Interlude 3 : thinking about growing up gay --
Transition 2 : plasticity evolving --
Selection for plasticity and resilience. pt. III. Socialization : the evolving social context of ontogeny : wherein we discern the contributions of social life to developing relationships and emotions --
13. Paradigms in the study of socialization --
Laws of learning --
Early experience effects and the sensitive period question --
Ethology, field primatology, and sociobiology --
Ethnology and quantitative cross-cultural comparison --
Historiography and historical demography --
14. Early social experience --
Early handling, stress, and stimulation --
Postweaning isolation and crowding --
Social deprivation in monkeys --
The neurobiology of social perturbation in monkeys --
Experience in the etiology of psychopathology --
Early deprivation in human childhood --
15. The evolution of the mother-infant bond --
Maternal care in mammals --
Mother and infant primates, including humans --
Mother-infant relations among!Kung hunter-gatherers --
Mother-infant relations in other hunter-gatherers --
Reconstructing maternal care : phylogeny and history --
Attachment theory and the mother-infant bond --
Interlude 4 : thinking about maternal sentiment --
16. Cooperative breeding in the extended family --
Helpers at the nest --
Allocare in nonhuman primates --
Nonmaternal care among!Kung hunter-gatherers --
Nonmaternal care in other hunter-gatherers --
Cooperative breeding in the human species --
Normative adoption and fosterage in human societies --
The physiology of alloparental care --
Social context and mother-infant interactions --
Cooperative breeding beyond hunters and gatherers --
17. Male parental care --
Male parental investment and reproductive success --
Paternal investment, social organization, and ecology in nonhuman species --
The paternal role among!Kung hunter-gatherers --
Paternal roles in other hunter-gatherers --
Paternal roles in non-hunter-gatherers --
Observable patterns and their possible significance --
Subsistence adaptation and family organization --
The United States and other industrial cultures --
Dads and cads --
Plasticity and its physiological limits --
Interlude 5 : thinking about "oedipal" conflicts --
18. Relations among juveniles --
Theoretical considerations --
Juvenile social relations in selected mammals --
Relations among juveniles in!Kung hunter-gatherers --
Relations among juveniles in other hunter-gatherers --
Relations among juveniles since the hunting-gathering era --
Functional considerations --
Developmental mechanisms --
19. Play, social learning, and teaching --
The evolution of play --
The development of human play --
The evolutionary neurobiology of play --
Intelligent players --
Play, learning, and culture --
Social learning, imitation, and teaching --
Toward a neurobiology of social learning --
Teaching : uniquely human? --
20. The contexts of emerging reproductive behavior --
The development of sexual behavior in monkeys and apes --
Adolescence among the!Kung hunter-gatherers --
Adolescence in other hunter-gatherers --
Broader cross-cultural patterns of premarital sex --
Parent-offspring conflict over arranged marriage --
Adolescent sexuality in the industrial world --
Secular trends in growth and maturation --
Secular trends and adolescent behavior --
Interlude 6 : thinking about incest avoidance and taboos --
21. Stress and resilience in the changing family --
Basic stress physiology --
Stress in infancy and childhood --
Stress in early life as a signal for facultative adaptation --
Stress and resilience on the island of Dominica --
Mortality, attachment, and loss --
Stress and resilience in exceptional situations --
Child abuse and neglect in western industrial states --
Evolutionary considerations in abuse and neglect --
Changing family structure in western industrial states --
Abuse, neglect, and adolescent aggression --
Stress and coping in human development --
22. Hunter-gatherer childhood--the cultural baseline --
Generalizations and challenges --
The hunter-gatherer childhood model --
Hunter-gatherer childhood in evolutionary context --
Evaluating the divergences --
Conclusion : facultative adaptation, discordance, or both? --
Transition 3 : does nonhuman culture exist? --
Defining the extremes --
The approach from material culture --
The approach from socially learned local variation --
The approach from teaching and cultural learning --
The approach from language and symbol --
The approach from history. pt. IV. Enculturation : the transmission and evolution of culture : wherein we come to understand what culture changes --
23. Paradigms in the study of enculturation --
Laws of learning, expanded --
Culture and personality --
The Whiting model --
Broader cross-cultural analyses --
Extensions and modifications of the model --
Challenges to the role of early experience --
Culture and mind --
Interlude 7 : thinking about the question "how?" --
24. The culture of infancy and early childhood --
Culture in utero? --
Cross-cultural variation in infant care --
Possible mechanisms of influence --
Language acquisition and language learning --
25. The culture of subsistence --
Work, play, and cultural transmission --
Children's work in farming cultures --
26. The culture of middle childhood --
Enculturation among the Gusii of Kenya --
Enculturation processes beyond conventional learning --
Enculturation by children --
Inculcating morality? --
Children and religion --
27. The culture of gender in childhood and adolescence --
Culture stretches biology --
Cultural tradition in adolescent development --
28. Evolutionary culture theory --
Cultural macroevolution --
The Meme model and the question of coherence --
Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman --
Lumsden and Wilson --
Boyd and Richerson --
The Durham model --
Defining culture --
Applying the model --
Some models compared --
Interlude 8 : thinking about boys at war --
29. Universals, adaptation, enculturation, and culture --
Universals of human behavior and culture --
A culture acquisition device --
A model of culture in biological context. pt. V. Conclusion : wherein we see, as through a glass darkly, how human relationships and emotions may actually emerge --
30. The ultimate epigenetic enterprise --
A general theory? --
Chaos, self-organization, and complexity --
A theory of generative variation --
Selection, epigenetics, and development --
Reprise --
Epilogue --
References --
Acknowledgments --
Responsibility: Melvin Konner.


Offering an interpretation of human development, this title shows that nothing in childhood makes sense except in the light of evolution. It tells the story of how cross-cultural and universal  Read more...


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This monumental book--more than 900 pages long, 30 years in the making, at once grand and intricate, breathtakingly inclusive and painstakingly particular--exhaustively explores the biological Read more...

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