Charles Darwin

Impact on Psychology

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin Influenced the Early History of Psychology

  • The reason Darwin is the most celebrated of the contributors to the Theory of Evolution is because he was the first one to identify evolution as a process and offered an explanation and a mechanism for the changes that were occurring. When psychology was first breaking away from biology, the proponents of functionalism modeled their ideas after Darwin's way of thinking. This was in stark contrast to the existing structuralism line of thought, and brought about a new way of looking at early psychological ideas.

  • In On the Origin of Species Darwin wrote:

"In the distant future I see open fields for more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation."

  • Evolutionary psychology is now an emerging, but already large field and is still growing. It has provided a framework under which to merge different areas of research and has made profound differences to the way we think about ourselves.
  • Darwin pioneered one of evolutionary psychology’s most important tools, the comparative method. The results coming from this new field continue to change how we view our behavior and mental abilities, as well as those of other animals.