Principles of Evolutionary Educational Psychology

The principles represent the foundational assumptions for an evolutionary educational psychology. The gist is knowledge and expertise that is useful in the cultural milieu or ecology in which the group is situated will be transferred across generations in the form of cultural artifacts, such as books, or learning traditions, as in apprenticeships. Across generations, the store of cultural knowledge accumulates and creates a gap between this knowledge base and the forms of folk knowledge and abilities that epigenetically emerge with children’s self-initiated activities.

There must of course be an evolved potential to learn evolutionarily novel information and an associated bias to seek novelty during the developmental period and indeed throughout the life span; this may be related to the openness to experience dimension of personality.

However, the cross-generational accumulation of knowledge across cultures, individuals, and domains (e.g., people vs. physics) has resulted in an exponential increase in the quantity of secondary knowledge available in modern societies today. For most people, the breadth and complexity of this knowledge will very likely exceed any biases to learn in evolutionary novel domains.