Bjorklund, David F
Oxford University Press, USA
Infants and children are the often-ignored heroes when it comes to understanding human evolution. Evolutionary pressures acted upon the young of our ancestors more powerfully than on adults, and changes over the course of development in our ancestors were primarily responsible for the species and the people we have become. This book takes an evolutionary developmental perspective, emphasizing that developmental plasticity--the ability to change our physical and psychological selves early in life--is the creative force in evolution, with natural selection serving as a filter, eliminating novel developmental outcomes that did not benefit survival.
This book is about becoming--of becoming human and of becoming mature adults. Bjorklund asks, "How can an understanding of human development help us better understand human evolution?" Then, turning the relation between evolution and development on its head, Bjorklund demonstrates how an understanding of our species' evolution can help us better understand current development and how to better rear successful and emotionally healthy children.