Goetz, A. T., Shackelford, T. K., Starratt, V. G., & McKibbin, W. F. (2008). Intimate partner violence. In J. D. Duntley & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Evolutionary forensic psychology (pp. 65-78). New York: Oxford University Press.

 Intimate Partner Violence

Aaron T. Goetz, Todd K. Shackelford, Valerie G. Starratt, and William F. McKibbin

 The theory of evolution by natural selection revolutionized the study of biology. So too is it revolutionizing the study of human psychology and behavior. Charles Darwin himself predicted, “Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history” (1859, p. 488). Modern evolutionary psychological perspectives have been used to predict and understand a diverse array of human behaviors, such as altruism, mating, and violence. In the past few decades, many psychologists have begun to recognize the value of using an evolutionary perspective to guide their research. With a focus on evolved mechanisms and associated information-processing features, evolutionary psychology has risen as a powerful heuristic tool for the study of human psychology and behavior. Evolutionary psychology leads researchers to look at old phenomena in a different light. Such a new perspective potentially offers powerful insights into human psychology and behavior. In this chapter, we use the tools provided by evolutionary theory to explore why violence and abuse occur between intimate partners. Specifically, we focus our discussion on physical and sexual intimate partner violence.

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McKibbin, W. F., Shackelford, T. K., Goetz, A.T., & Starratt, V. G. (2008) Evolutionary psychological perspectives on rape. In J. Duntley and T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Evolutionary forensic psychology. (pp. 101-120). New York: Oxford University Press.

 Evolutionary Psychological Perspectives on Rape

William F. McKibbin, Todd K. Shackelford, Aaron T. Goetz, and Valerie G. Starratt

…This chapter reviews the topic of rape from a modern evolutionary psychological perspective (see, e.g., Barkow, Cosmides, & Tooby, 1992; Buss, 2004). Evolutionary psychology is a powerful heuristic tool that can be used to generate new, testable hypotheses across all domains of psychology. Evolutionary psychology rests on several key premises (Buss, 2004). The fi rst premise states that natural selection is the only known process capable of producing complex functional systems such as the human brain. The complexity of human behavior can only be understood completely by taking into account human evolutionary history and natural selection. Second, behavior depends on evolved psychological mechanisms . These are information-processing mechanisms housed in the brain that register and process specific information and generate as output specific behaviors, physiological activity, or input relayed to other psychological mechanisms. Third, evolved psychological mechanisms are functionally specialized to perform a specific task or to solve a specific problem that recurrently affected reproductive success over evolutionary history. This premise is often referred to as domain specificity . Finally, the numerousness premise states that human brains consist of many specific evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to produce behavior. Together with a number of other theoretical tools and heuristics provided by modern evolutionary theory, these premises are used to generate evolutionary theories of psychology and behavior.

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