July 16, 2003

CONTENTS,  Special Issue, VOL.23 Dec 2002
VOL.22, 2001
VOL.21, 2000
VOL.20, 1999
VOL.19, 1998
VOL.18, 1997
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including Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuro
Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology
and Human Ethology
ISSN 0172–780X

Vol. 23, Suppl.4, December 2002

Comparative Approaches in Evolutionary Psychology: Molecular Neuroscience Meets the Mind

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Comparative Approaches in Evolutionary Psychology: Molecular Neuroscience Meets the Mind    [References]   [FULL TEXT]

Neuroevolutionary Psychobiology (Short title)

Jaak Panksepp, Joseph R. Moskal, Jules B. Panksepp & Roger A. Kroes

Submitted: September 7, 2002
Accepted: September 18, 2002

Key words:
evolutionary psychology, neuroevolutionary psychobiology, emotions, cognition, mind, depression, social dominance, play, microarrays, gene chip, psychiatric disorders

2002; 23(suppl 4) :105–-115
pii: NEL231002R11
PMID: 2496741


Evolutionary psychologists often overlook a wealth of information existing between the proximate genotypic level and the ultimate phenotypic level. This commonly ignored level of biological organization is the ongoing activity of neurobiological systems. In this paper, we extend our previous arguments concerning strategic weaknesses of evolutionary psychology by advocating a foundational view that focuses on similarities in brain, behavior, and various basic psychological features across mammalian species. Such an approach offers the potential to link the emerging discipline of evolutionary psychology to its parent scientific disciplines such as biochemistry, physiology, molecular genetics, developmental biology and the neuroscientific analysis of animal behavior. We detail an example of this through our impending work using gene microarray technology to characterize gene expression patterns in rats during aggressive and playful social interactions. Through a focus on functional homologies and the experimental analysis of conserved, subcortical emotional and motivational brain systems, neuroevolutionary psychobiology can reveal ancient features of the human mind that are still shared with other animals. Claims regarding evolved, uniquely human, psychological constructs should be constrained by the rigorous evidentiary standards that are routine in other sciences.


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