PSY231: Evolutionary Psychology Essay, MUM, Malaysia You are required to select one topic or issue from any area of psychology, and explain how the issue can be viewed from an evolutionary psychology perspective

University Monash University Malaysia (MUM)
Subject PSY231: Evolutionary Psychology

Assignment 1 – Critical Application Essay


For this individual assignment, you are required to select one topic/issue from any area of psychology, and explain how the issue can be viewed from an evolutionary psychology perspective. That is, you need to critically evaluate a particular topic/issue in psychology, and analyze it using evolutionary psychology research, theories or hypotheses.

Select a topic that interests you personally, and do a literature review to see if there has been any research on that topic conducted from an evolutionary perspective.

If so, you then need to explain why viewing your chosen topic from an evolutionary perspective is useful or important. If there is a lack of research on your topic conducted from an evolutionary perspective, then you need to explain why – along with arguing for how evolutionary psychology can contribute to this topic

Example and Suggested Outline

Let’s say you have an interest in health psychology. Specifically, you are concerned with rising obesity rates in a particular country, which can lead to a host of health complications.

You review past research and find that the existing research focuses on high sugar/caloric value food (such as sweetened beverages) as being the chief cause of obesity in modern society (Malik et al. 2010). You notice however, that less research explain why we have such a preference for sweet food.

Research from nutritionists however, suggests that a strong preference for sweet, high-caloric value foods may be part of our evolutionary heritage (Lieberman, 2003). Hunter-gatherer societies preferred such foods because of the high energy content it provided for them.

This would be essential for survival in environments where food was scarce. Obesity, and its associated health complications, could be a maladaptive response towards our liking for such sweet foods.

In the final section of the essay, you will then need to provide recommendations that will help improve the current situation and provide some kind of benefit to society.

For instance, health interventions and programs may highlight the mismatch between our primitive dietary requirements with that of today’s lifestyle and inform the public that while we have a natural preference for sweet foods, adopting a more balanced, less-sugary diet may prevent health complications as a result of consuming too much sugar.

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