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J Pers. 2001 Dec;69(6):955-78.

Human nature and culture: an evolutionary psychological perspective.

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Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin 78712, USA.


Personality psychology is the broadest of all psychological subdisciplines in that it seeks a conceptually integrated understanding of both human nature and important individual differences. Cultural differences pose a unique set of problems for any comprehensive theory of personality-how can they be reconciled with universals of human nature on the one hand and within-cultural variation on the other? Evolutionary psychology provides one set of conceptual tools by which this conceptual integration can be made. It requires jettisoning the false but still-pervasive dichotomy of culture versus biology, acknowledging a universal human nature, and recognizing that the human mind contains many complex psychological mechanisms that are selectively activated, depending on cultural contexts. Culture rests on a foundation of evolved psychological mechanisms and cannot be understood without those mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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