Adaptations, Exaptations, and Spandrels

David M. Buss, Martie G. Haselton, Todd K. Shackelford, April L. Bleske, Jerome C. Wakefield

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Adaptation and natural selection are central concepts in the emerging science of evolutionary psychology. Natural selection is the only known causal process capable of producing complex functional organic mechanisms. These adaptations, along with their incidental by-products and a residue of noise, comprise all forms of life. Recently, S. J. Gould (1991) proposed that exaptations and spandrels may be more important than adaptations for evolutionary psychology. These refer to features that did not originally arise for their current use but rather were co-opted for new purposes. He suggested that many important phenomena - such as art, language, commerce, and war - although evolutionary in origin, are incidental spandrels of the large human brain. The authors outline the conceptual and evidentiary standards that apply to adaptations, exaptations, and spandrels and discuss the relative utility of these concepts for psychological science.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)533-548
    Number of pages16
    JournalAmerican Psychologist
    Volume53
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

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    Genetic Selection
    Psychology
    Language Arts
    Noise
    Brain
    Warfare

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)

    Cite this

    Buss, D. M., Haselton, M. G., Shackelford, T. K., Bleske, A. L., & Wakefield, J. C. (1998). Adaptations, Exaptations, and Spandrels. American Psychologist, 53(5), 533-548. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.53.5.533

    Adaptations, Exaptations, and Spandrels. / Buss, David M.; Haselton, Martie G.; Shackelford, Todd K.; Bleske, April L.; Wakefield, Jerome C.

    In: American Psychologist, Vol. 53, No. 5, 01.01.1998, p. 533-548.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Buss, DM, Haselton, MG, Shackelford, TK, Bleske, AL & Wakefield, JC 1998, 'Adaptations, Exaptations, and Spandrels', American Psychologist, vol. 53, no. 5, pp. 533-548. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.53.5.533
    Buss DM, Haselton MG, Shackelford TK, Bleske AL, Wakefield JC. Adaptations, Exaptations, and Spandrels. American Psychologist. 1998 Jan 1;53(5):533-548. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.53.5.533
    Buss, David M. ; Haselton, Martie G. ; Shackelford, Todd K. ; Bleske, April L. ; Wakefield, Jerome C. / Adaptations, Exaptations, and Spandrels. In: American Psychologist. 1998 ; Vol. 53, No. 5. pp. 533-548.
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