Don White

Graduate student

I am interested in the continuing debates between psychology and other disciplines as to what constitutes a valid application of evolutionary theory for developing explanations of human behavior. In my master’s thesis, I examined the role of fitness maximization in evolutionary explanations and how rejection of that principle constrains any explanation based on natural selection. At present, my research focuses on two main areas: assessing the arguments for and the consequences of rejecting current fitness in developing evidence for evolutionary explanations; and, evaluating the conceptual frameworks used for evolutionary studies in various disciplines. Future topics for my PhD include semantic formalizations and explanatory schema of natural selection theory, nature and strength of the evidence produced by various approaches, and possibilities for a theoretically-consistent, conceptual framework that reconciles and accommodates differences in the study of human behaviour. My long-term goal is to develop such a framework as well as practical tools and procedures needed for evaluating and supporting such complementary explanations offered by all branches of the human evolutionary behavioural sciences.