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Evolutionary Psychology Theories' Role in Personality Development (Term Paper Sample)


The Term Paper


This is a 300 psychology course, so the paper should be written as such.  The term paper should be 3000 to 4000 words in length. This translates into approximately 10 to 13 double-spaced wordprocessed pages. Note that this does not include title pages, reference pages, figures, and appendices. The typical type size is 12 points (minimum acceptable size is 11 points). You will be expected to submit the paper electronically in Word® format or Rich Text Format (.rtf). Please contact your tutor for further instructions or to make alternative arrangements. Your paper should be written according to the style described by the American Psychological Association (APA):

Characteristics of a Quality Paper

1    A well-organized paper will consist of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. It must also include a title page, a list of references, and may include figures and appendices. The introduction must provide relevant background information and should contain the rationale and scope of the paper. It should be concise and contain a clear thesis statement. The body of the paper is based on the review of the literature and should support the thesis proposed. The conclusion should summarize and integrate the main points presented in the paper, reinforce the thesis statement, and provide recommendations for further study.

2    Cite authorities (i.e., authors of research) to back up your statements. Unfounded conjecture (i.e., statements by you or an author that are not based on research or logical extrapolation from empirical or experimental research) has no place in scholarly writing such as this. Avoid citing exhortative literature and non-scientific authors or sources. Your supporting citations should be dominated by current journal articles (i.e., primary sources). While textbooks, other books, and Internet documents can be used as references, these should be minimized and are considered secondary sources. In particular, minimal reference to the course textbook is expected and acceptable, but a significant reliance on it is unacceptable. Keep in mind that you could also include sources from the “Supplementary Materials List” given in this Student Manual. As a guideline, a reasonable number of sources to include in a paper of this nature would be 8 to 12.

3    Your paper should have a structural theme. You can order it chronologically, logically, or in accordance with some other paradigm, such as the thesis you have proposed. The structure should give unity and coherence to your paper. An overall system permitting infinite variation would include the following general structure: Introduction, Background Information, Review of the Literature, Summary, Conclusions (or Discussion and Implications), and References. Considering that the largest portion of your paper will be the literature review (i.e., the body of the paper), it is recommended that it be organized into appropriate subheadings relevant to the specific material.

4    The paper should demonstrate your ability to integrate a specific body of research rather than just a synopsis of the subject matter. This assignment is intended to develop your skill in analysing, synthesizing, and evaluating research, and to further the development of your skill in writing a scholarly paper.

Citation System

The citation system outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed., 2001) is the most easily used and economical system currently in use in psychological circles. This manual may be borrowed from the Athabasca University Library, or from another library at which you have borrowing privileges. Please consult with your tutor for additional information, including the most up-to-date edition. Briefly, the system requires “on-the-spot” citation of the source of information. An example from Feist and Feist (2006) is given below:

The brain stem, and the ascending activating system in particular, is the part of the brain most directly associated with core consciousness, or unconsciousness in the sense of not being awake. . . . In contrast, being aware and able to reflect on one's knowledge and self is more a function of activity in the prefrontal cortex (the dorsal frontal cortex) (Solms, 2004, Solms & Turnbull, 2002).

Moreover, a major theme of cognitive psychology over the last 20 years has been the phenomenon of nonconscious mental processing, or what is referred to as “implicit,” “nonconscious,” or “automatic” thought and memory (Bargh & Chartrand, 1999; Schacter, 1987). (p. 54)

The APA system includes the names of authors of supportive research as part of the text. The reader who wishes to locate a source turns to the reference list or bibliography where, arranged in alphabetical order, the complete reference is presented, listing the author, the article title, the journal, the year, the volume, and the page number. For example:

Solms, M. (2004, May). Freud returns. Scientific American, 290, 87-88.

In the case that two articles which were published by an author in the same year are used, the first one noted is designated “a” after the date and the second would be designated “b,” as illustrated in the example below:

Certain cases of insomnia are related to abnormalities of biological rhythms (MacFarlane, Cleghorn, & Brown, 1985a, 1985b). (From Kalat, J. W., 2004, Biological Psychology, p. 279)

In the first quotation above, you will have observed that since more than three lines were quoted, the quotation is slightly indented, bears no quotation marks, and is single-spaced. Also, note the procedure of putting the page reference after the quotation. Quotations of less than three typewritten lines in length are incorporated in the text, set off by a comma and quotation marks, and followed by the page number, as in the following example:

It has been found by Wallins (1970) that, “unrelieved fear arousal retards inventiveness or flexibility” (p. 81). On the contrary, some investigators (e.g., Rogers and Thistlewaite, 1970; Much, 1963; Frost, Green, Pass, and Moro, 1969) report that no straight linear relationship exists such as the Wallins study implies. Rather, they, as does Rabins (1968), indicate that a “configuration much like a curve” is descriptive of the phenomenon (pp. 96-112). Frost et al. (1969) provide the strongest support, however, with their controlled study of 132 subjects under stress.

Note that it is quite uncommon to use quotations in scholarly writing. When citing research, you should use your own words to describe the particular study. Quotations should be used only when you wish to point out some specific aspect of the actual writing of the authors. Do not use quotations to introduce general information from the source you are using.

The Reference List

A reference list contains all the sources referred to in your paper. Every source mentioned in your paper should appear in the reference list, and every item in the list should have a corresponding reference in the text of your paper. A list containing articles and/or books that you read but did not actually cite in the text of your paper is called a bibliography, and typically is not included in a paper of this nature.




The topic I have chosen for my term paper is to research evolutionary theories of personality.  This is a fascinating area of study as it investigates the evolutionary theory in regard to the biological component of personality.  It also is one of many theories of personality that attempts to explain the overall view of human personality, not just one component on its own.  Evolutionary psychology is defined as the scientific study of human thought and behavior but from an evolutionary viewpoint.  It does not just focus on just one aspect of personality but focuses on personality both, socially and biologically. This paper will explore one of the first evolutionary researchers, Charles Darwin (he was the first to develop the theory of evolutionary psychology) and then move onto David Buss, as he was one of the first to professionally propose a complete evolutionary theory of personality.


Thesis statement: Evolutionary psychology theories encompass both the social and biological aspects of personality development, showing that the mind and a person environment (surroundings) together play a role in personality development….BUT MAKE THIS THESIS STATEMENT HAVE MORE OF AN ARGUEMENTATIVE POINT OF VIEW. 

The following is a list of different aspects my paper can encompass in relation to evolutionary theories of personality (some of these are to broad so maybe structure paper a bit tighter than this outline…this is just an outline, it does not have to be followed exactly)…

  1. What is evolutionary psychology?
  2. The history and development of evolutionary psychology.
  3. Overview of Charles Darwin as he laid the foundation for the modern theory of evolution.
  4. Overview of David Buss and his theory of personality.
  5. The Nature and Nurture of Personality.
  6. Mechanisms that have evolved such as: motivation and emotion; personality traits as evolved mechanisms; and environmental sources. 

Here is a list of references that I have searched that may be used in completing this term paper…these also do not have to be used for sure. 


Evolutionary Psychology Theories’ Role in Personality Development
Course Title:
Evolutionary Psychology Theories’ Role in Personality Development
1.0 Introduction
Increased acceptance of evolution as a reliable metatheory for psychology has encouraged many personality psychologists to conceptualise personality using evolutionary psychology framework. Novel hypotheses explaining how personality works can be achieved through defining the ultimate function of personality traits. Currently personality psychologists only describe the structure and how causes of behavioural patterns work. These theories only demonstrate how personality differences develop and shallowly explain their causes failing to address the ultimate causes. Comprehensive explanations would rather address the reasons why human personality are structured as they are, and relate to how specific environmental factors affect individual and isolate how individuals respond to different environmental factors. Ultimate explanations will also consider understanding why some environmental factors do not affect individuals and explain the kind of adaptive characteristics individuals may develop. A framework that will answer all these concerns will exhaustively unveil all the hidden answers that hinder personality theory from becoming an enriched novel hypothesis.
A number of prominent scholars have come to agree that evolutionary psychology uses the theory of evolution to answer all psychological phenomena, however fails to explain the causes of specific physiological mechanisms evolvement. Confer et al. (2010) and Boundry, Vlerick & McKay (2015) however argues that evolution by natural sexual selection is one theory that has come close to providing rational framework that can explain the reason of existence of complex adaptive psychological mechanisms and the kind of adaptive problems they are designed to solve. Describing limitations of various theories, Browne (2002) and Francis (2007) also concur to this accepting that even the standard social science model (SSSM) is limited in providing any detailed explanation of personality characteristics. Buss & Lars (2012) report that this shortcomings in all the available researched theories have left personality psychologists with no accurate method to use in their trials to unveil new psychological phenomena. This makes is difficult to fully understand different personality characteristics and their developments (Confer et al., 2010).
Recent improvements have seen evolutionary psychology theory become successful in explaining typical characteristics and different adaptations of some species (Buss, 2005; Buss & Lars, 2012). With many review literature on evolutionary psychology focusing on the effects of factors affecting personality development, the challenge surfacing is how this theory can successfully explain personality and be able to describe individual differences in human behaviour (Browne, 2002). Thesis statement: Since Evolutionary psychology theories consists both social and biological aspects of personality development, the mind and a person’s environment play a role in personality development.
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Evolution psychology historical perspectives
Evolution psychology as described by Buss (2009) is a relatively modern metatheoretical hypothesis that seeks to explain the modern principles of psychology using core principles of evolutionary biology. Evolutionary psychology theory is based on George Williams, a leading biologist of the twentieth century who seeks to understand the human mind by knowing the purpose for which it was designed for (Buss, 2005).
According to Buss (2009), evolutionary psychology theory’s success has only dominated in domains such as survival, sexuali...
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