Educating the Evolved Mind

Conceptual Foundations for an Evolutionary Educational Psychology

Edited by:
Jerry Carlson, University of California - Riverside
Joel R. Levin, University of Arizona

A volume in the series: Psychological Perspectives on Contemporary Educational Issues. Editor(s): Jonathan Plucker, Johns Hopkins University.

Published 2007

In this volume, David Geary provides a comprehensive theory that brings children’s education into the 21st century, and provides directions for the development of a new discipline, “evolutionary educational psychology.” Geary presents the case that a scientifically grounded approach to children’s schooling and, to a lesser degree, their later occupational interests can be informed by recent advances in the application of evolutionary theory to the understanding of the human brain, mind, and its development. He develops a taxonomy of evolved cognitive abilities and describes how, from an evolutionary perspective, these abilities are modified and refined during childhood. From there, he lays the framework for understanding the relation between evolved abilities, such as language, and the non-evolved competencies that are built from them with schooling, such as reading. Geary describes the mechanisms, such as working memory, that enable humans to transform evolved cognitive abilities into culturally important, school taught competencies. These are integrated with discussion of human intellectual history and cultural evolution, and the sources of children’s motivation to learn inside and outside of the classroom. In all, this may well be the most revolutionary theory of children’s schooling since Rousseau.

Foreword. Educating the Evolved Mind: Conceptual Foundations for an Evolutionary Educational Psychology. David C. Geary. Knowledge, Abilities, and Will, Phillip L. Ackerman. Instructing Evolved Minds: Pedagogically Primary Strategies for Promoting Biologically Secondary Learning, Daniel B. Berch. The Most Educable of Animals, David F. Bjorklund. Educating the Evolved and the Developing Mind: Commentary on Geary’s “Educating the Evolved Mind: Conceptual Foundations for an Evolutionary Educational Psychology”, Andreas Demetriou. What is the Meaning of Evolutionary Psychology for Education?, Earl Hunt. Evolution of Scientific Thinking: Comments on Geary’s “Educating the Evolved Mind”, David Klahr. Evolutionary Biology and Educational Psychology, John Sweller. Educating the Evolved Mind: Reflections and Refinements, David C. Geary. About the Authors.

"Anyone interested in learning, and in the development of a science of teaching, would do well to consider the central argument [of this book]. There is much to think about here, much to admire, and potentially much to disagree with - but this is a contribution that should not be ignored. A highly recommended read." Keith S. Taber University of Cambridge in Education Review (Read full review)