In this era of early psychology, there had been men and women who had made impact to the world of psychology and their contributions were memorably significant. From the long list of these people as listed in sparknotes.com, I have chosen Charles Darwin because of his significant concepts in relation to evolutionary psychology on how men erupted today. Additionally, many functionalists have also based their ideas on Darwin’s works, making their approaches leading to evolutionary psychology field.
The better understanding of the process of life on Earth was depicted by the English naturalist, Charles Robert Darwin. He was born February 12, 1809 in England and died April 19, 1882 in Kent. Due to his scientific theory of evolution, He had been called the father of evolutionary biology. (“Aboutdarwin.com, 2008”) While he was growing in his early years, he took care of his hairline, which made his face turned a healthy ruddy color – this gave an impression that he was in good health. But he was actually having a ravage of health problems. History had also recorded that around January 1866, he grew gray-white beard that was large flowing and unkempt which hid his identity for a while and when he attended a meeting of the Royal Society, precisely on April 27, people hardly recognized him; Joseph Hooker who was his closest friend didn’t know who he actually was. (“Aboutdarwin.com, 2008”)
While he was growing during the time, his autobiography showed that he was referred to as Charley and Bobby, and he describes himself as a naughty child. He told stories about how he stole fruits from orchard trees, and strived to be a center attention in his family. As a clumsy boy, he was virtually blamed for things that went wrong in their home. Darwin’s interests in athletic made him an excellent swift runner and he was recorded to be a great rock thrower. Though it was recorded that he was lazy, and couldn’t learn school works very fast, his sister had to educate him before he finally attended Revd. Case’s Grammar School, Shrewsbury (1818-1825). He was an average student in the school, but he consistently showed off his athletic skills. Another part of his interests is how he makes observations of objects and wanders. (Houck, 1999)
Darwin studied the ministry in Cambridge for three years, believing it would give him a chance of his interest in roaming around and collecting materials – thinking clergy men study nature with all their days. Through this period, he met John Henslow, who realized Darwin’s interests for natural history. After Darwin’s graduation in 1831, he was privileged to sailed around the world as a naturalist using the H.M.S Beagle. When he arrived from his adventure around 1836, he served in the Geological Society as a secretary (1838-1841). This was the time he wrote The Journal of a Naturalist. Around this same period was when he got married to his cousin, Emma Wedgwood. Also, he did lots of writing and around 1858, he co-authored a boo with Alfred Russel Wallace – The Origin of species by Means of Natural Selection, this was published in 1859. The content of the book was against Biblical portrayal of creation, which made it hated, albeit was praised too. Around 1871, when the controversy died down, he intensified the trauma ad published another book on The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. He was the first to explain the varying species of nature and develop the theory of evolution. (Houck, 1999)
He lived more than just an average man, lived the life he desired and enjoyed his love for nature. Many honors were given to him from different societies in Great Britain. He had only five sons and two daughters and his philosophy of life still lives on today.
Darwin’s psychological perspective was based on creationist perspective. His perspective which is the theory of evolution affirms that all the species on earth changes with respect to time, and it is a process from the principles of natural selection. His perspective on this principle tries to depict that in the battle for existence, a few people, in view of advantageous natural adaptation, are better ready to occupy adequately a given environmental niche and thus, will produce more offspring than people who are less capable. (“JRank Articles”) This was his perspective that challenged the Biblical views. In spite of this, his research to understand nature the more continued, but after some years, many scientists began to believe the soundness of his theory, although debates are still on to challenge its theological and ideological implications. (“JRank Articles”)
His Contribution to Psychology
The impact Charles Darwin had made on psychology cannot be overemphasized, as much of his works were based saliently on psychology. In one of his researches, he wrote that a common ancestor descended animals and humans. Around the 1900s and 2000s, studies have begun to prove this reality showing that animals and humans actually share some genes. This is a study that had stayed in the field of comparative psychology; a study on animals in order to learn about the human behavior, such as memory, emotions, learning, as well as social interaction. These are all based on experiments and observations with animals.
Another aspect of his contribution to psychology was the research in the psychology of individual differences. His research on this led to the understanding of humans through similarities and averages between people, as well as the underlying development of the human behavior. From Darwin’s research, many psychologists began to study and evaluate more on individual differences – focusing majorly on intelligence. Also, Darwin’s idea of natural selection had made some psychologists very interested in those traits that bring out more success in one person better than the other.
Today, the major part of psychology is based on the huge impact Darwin had made through biological underpinnings. In fact, psychological concepts will always be traced back to biological processes which are the major aspect of Charles Darwin’s specialization. (Tanner, 2008) For the fact that he was not a psychologist, he was a man who had made significant contribution to this era or early psychology.
- AboutDarwin.com – Who was Darwin. (2008). Retrieved November 10, 2015, from https://www.aboutdarwin.com/darwin/whowas.html
- Charles Robert Darwin. (2015). Retrieved November 10, 2015, from https://psychology.jrank.org/pages/162/Charles-Robert-Darwin.html
- Houck, R. (1999). Charles Darwin. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from https://www.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/darwin.htm
- Psychology Major Figures. (2015). Retrieved November 10, 2015, from https://www.sparknotes.com/psychology/psych101/majorfigures/characters.html
- Tanner, J. (2008). Darwin’s Role in Psychology. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from
The Evolution of Psychology: History, Approaches, and Questions. (2015). Retrieved November 10, 2015, from https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_introduction-to-psychology/s05-02-the-evolution-of-psychology-hi.html