Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape
Personality psychology is the broadest of all psychological subdisciplines in that it seeks a conceptually integrated understanding of both human nature and important individual differences. Cultural differences pose a unique set of problems for any comprehensive theory of personality—how can they be reconciled with universals of human nature on the one hand and within-cultural variation on the other? Evolutionary psychology provides one set of conceptual tools by which this conceptual integration can be made. It requires jettisoning the false but still pervasive dichotomy of culture versus biology, acknowledging a universal human nature, and recognizing that the human mind contains many complex psychological mechanisms that are selectively activated, depending on cultural contexts. Culture rests on a foundation of evolved psychological mechanisms and cannot be understood without those mechanisms.
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