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.
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.