How does the theory of evolution effect the modern psychologist Essay

Submitted By Nicolie0145
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In order to understand the workings of the modern mind, it is important to delve into the origins of its existence. Psychological viewpoints have evolved throughout history, and this is because new information is constantly being discovered about our ancestors, and this is subsequently applied to modern theories. To fully understand the modern mind, psychologists must look back in time for over 6 million years where our ancestors evolved to become either ape, or the human being of today. Observation that species evolve over time was known long before Darwin. Archaeological evidence has shown that changes in morphology have revealed structures of organisms to be similar to those contained within the same species. Before Darwin, there was evidence of evolution, but no explanation of how a species could change over time. According to Nettle (2011), insight into the past, selective forces that shaped it and the problems faced by our ancestors can be reflected in the experiences the modern human encounters today. These findings can complement the modern approach to psychology and help the modern psychologist develop more in depth theories to help explain specific behaviours displayed by human beings today.
1.8 million Years ago, our ancestors lived in an era called the Pleistocene. This is a period when Homo erectus walked the earth. Homo erectus was tall and had larger brains than their predecessors Homo habilis. However, even after one million years of living on earth, the Homo erectus appeared to have no brain growth. This species eventually became Homo sapiens, with more rounded skulls and less hair on the body. This species would quickly become Homo neanderthalensis who hunted large game and made sophisticated tools. At this stage, the brain had become the same size of that as the modern man, yet there was still no evidential science or religion. Between 60-100,000 years ago, evolution saw the emergence of the Homo sapiens sapiens who bought a new way of existing to the Earth, this species did not simply ‘exist’, they ‘lived’. They decorated caves with art work, made jewellery and seemed to dwell in family units for the duration of their lives. Evidence has been found to suggest sacred burials with possessions, much like the traditions of the modern human being. Homo sapiens sapiens paved the way for modern living, and it has been documented that just 10,000 years ago the first towns were constructed, that people had a sense of community and family loyalty. It is with this knowledge that psychologists can better understand the mind of the modern human, and try to identify the roots of human attitudes and behaviours.
In 1885, Freud started to develop theories based on the existence of the unconscious mind and in 1900 he published his book on dream interpretations which subsequently led to psychoanalysis theory. Freud believed that the mind is made up of three components: the Id which is the basic instinct and this operates on a pleasure seeking principle. The second is the Ego, which is developed in early childhood and works as a mediator between the Id and the super-ego which is the third component and this forms the moral conscious. One of the psychoanalytic methods was that of hypnosis and this technique was used to explore the human mind. Freud was one of the first psychologists to explore the mind using controversial methods and due to this came under scrutiny. During his studies, the data he collected was purely qualitative and therefore lacked exploratory statistics. It has also been suggested that it lacked ecological validity and this made way for a new era of psychologists.
In the early twentieth century, psychology was dominated by behaviourists. The brain was viewed as a “tabala rasa” and was believed to have no other purpose than the purpose to learn (Boakes 1984). According to Baars (1986), during the 1950/60’s, the cognitive revolution within psychology changed the opinion that the brain is not blank at…