Psychopathology or adaptation? Genetic and evolutionary perspectives on individual differences and psychopathology.

  Vol. 23 (Suppl 4) 2002 Neuro endocrinology letters Journal Article   2002; 23(Suppl 4): 39-45 PubMed PMID:  12496734    Citation  Keywords:  Adaptation, Biological, Adaptation, Psychological, Biological Evolution, Humans, Mental Disorders:genetics, Models, Biological,.   

: A greater understanding of psychopathology will be found in the integration of genetic and evolutionary perspectives on adaptation and function. Evolutionary theory proposes that adaptive traits are reproduced more successfully than maladaptive ones. However, some traits, while contributing to fitness in the ancestral environment, may contribute to fitness no longer. This is known as mismatch theory. Evolutionarily informed research into various "pathologies" has yielded interesting results, some based on this theory. This paper serves to distinguish between genetic and evolutionary perspectives on psychopathology as well as to examine some recent research on the selective forces that may be implicated in psychopathy, anorexic behavior, and ADHD. We suggest that research into psychopathy in general would benefit from an evolutionary perspective and an examination of the assumptions behind past research.

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