Psychological Aversions to Deviant Behavior

The concept of evolution is considered as one of the most powerful ideas shaping society today. Not only does it affect the concepts of natural science, but also has its resurgence in the field of social sciences despite the connection attributed between Social Darwinism and genocide. It is a continual pursuit for scientist of hard sciences to discern its evidence of intelligent design. On the other hand, psychology and other social sciences had also become acquainted with the idea and seek to explain human behavior in terms of the evolution concept.

To this, the result is a new branch in psychology known as “evolutionary psychology”. (Collingwood) Evolutionary psychologists argue that the best method to understand the brain properly is to understand the environment by which the brain had evolved and was molded. One of the primary things they believe is that language, memory, perception and language are all products of natural selection. One of the products of the psychological evolution idealism is evolutionary psychopathology which aims to evaluate the abnormal psychology from the perspective of evolution.

In line with this, many deviant behaviors can be associated to the belief that it is a means of psychological adaptation mechanism which is engineered by natural selection to help individuals resolve complex, socially-imposed stresses that could in turn affect long term fitness. These psychological adaptation mechanism signals the need and compelling help from reluctant others. Many deviant behavior and the situations occurring with the behavior’s premise may well be much more common today than during the earlier years. This is because many of us today pursue large goals with uncertain payoffs due to the circumstances of present living.

Attributed to evolutionary psychology is the understanding that behavior is a consequence of the brain processes. In this light, Edward H. Hagen of Humboldt University in Berlin attributes many major problems evolutionary psychology. (Collingwood)The reason primarily concerns the fact that researches can not directly study the complex neural circuits of the individual to discern how deviant behavior works. Thus, there is difficulty in understanding the intentions of the brain and its processes in triggering deviant behavior.

Much criticism in this view is that the environment by which evolutionary psychologist are basing their interpretations and analysis from does not evidently exist and are proven, and such assumptions in the field would have to merit proof in humans, rather than depending on theories and assumptions alone. Nonetheless, Hagen argues that the theory in the field could explain many behaviors attributed to depression, suicidal attempts and deliberate self-harm as rational bargaining tactics to gain assistance from others. (Anonymous)

Although evolutionary psychology has theories explaining the nature of mane deviant behavior, it receives much criticism to relate the concept of natural selection to predispositions of many mental disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The field of evolutionary psychology also had continuous debate on the area of “nature/nurture” theory and the influence of an individual’s present environment on his/her behavior. Many therapists have seen and believe in the value of evolutionary psychology and had set many avenues of treatment that can help solve many psychological disorders.

Evolution-based therapies has geared its focus in the individual’s lifestyle and how different it is from the previous generations, the inactivity concerning aspects such as social isolation, overwork and the likes. (Anonymous) Evolutionary psychology aims to answer many human nature intricacies that have appeared as universal form of taboos. In the paper, we will discuss many deviant behavior, laying emphasis and focus in three main categories; murder, suicide and incest.

Evolutionary psychology aims to discern how evolution had initiated the behaviors we characterized as deviance from the norms of society behavior and culture that is considered as acceptable. Many form of deviant behavior can not be attributed alone on the individual; several assumptions had included the influence of society in molding individual behavior. But in this analysis, we will greatly use the conceptual framework and analysis derived from evolutionary psychology. Psychological aversion towards Incest

There is an unresolved mystery attributed to the universal appearance of some forms of incest taboo in every society governed with regulating sexual expressions within the primary family. Often times, the aversion is socially extended in particular social systems which depend on the nature of kinship structure of a given society. Most theorists who had studied this subject has concluded that the enforcement of social sanctions is not sufficient to regulate this kind of deviant behavior, some theorists has recognized the existence of self-limiting, deeply felt repugnance that considers the behavior as deviant in certain people and society. Leiber) But nonetheless, it has been a long pursuit to discern any instinctual or psychological theory of aversion to explain this kind of deviant behavior, but most of the researches done in this area have lead them back to the social structure theory. One of the most probably cause of the incest taboo aversion comes from the Darwinian concept supporting Aristotle’s view of ethics as rooted in nature.

Many theorists supports and defends the notion that Darwinian Natural Right is based on the claims and assumptions that the good is the desirable, and as some research has shown, that there are many natural desires that are inherent to all human in the society because it is rooted from human biology. (Leiber)Darwin’s Natural Right continues to explain how the individual satisfaction of the natural desires constitutes the universal standard for judging social practice as either fulfilling or frustrating human nature.

Darwin’s Natural Right, as many psychology evolutionists believes, can be attributed as the reason to explain many familial bonding of parents and children and both men and women which illustrates social behavior. With regards to incest behavior, it is considered as one of Darwin’s Natural Rights and thus has no attachments to religious beliefs, although the belief can sometimes dictate the nature of the behavior of an individual. In social context, as mentioned in previously, the explanations of the incest aversion can result back to the social structure theory in which the behavior depends on the social structure of the individual.

Both high differential strains towards incest, and the prohibition and exercise of avoiding the behavior are prevalent in some societies. Many studies in this area had taken the concept of social structure in depth (such as Talcott & Parsons 1954), who studied the marriages of Taiwanese as in effect returning to the concept of social structure theory which explains the development of mutual sexual repugnancies. Other arguments that explains incest aversion is based on the theory connecting affective dissonance with it.

Affective dissonance is considered as a general psychological phenomenon that explains how dissonance concerns affective arousal rather than the commonly held view of dissonance in cognitive patterns. (Leiber) In this belief, affective dissonance is automatically at place and at work in every society wherein intimate family relationships is a reason to prevent sexual arousal. Psychological aversion towards Murder The study of evolutions concerns how genetics reveals the method by which human is structured in this context.

The study of the evolution process governs the method and sequence by which humans develop. Life, as reflected by studies concerns the relationship between the behavioral responsibilities of the human and the individual. Moral human behavior optimizes the use of survival techniques and nourishment of the human species. Any other behavior that is thus considered as harmful is considered as immoral or unethical. In the case of murder, any practice of the deviant behavior will contribute to negative influences in the survival of human species.

One notable evolutionary psychologist, David Buss, suggest that murder is in our blood. (Rubin)Citing that homicide is not a rare pathology circumstance or a product of social force, of culture, poverty and other societal aspects, but rather an evolutionary adaptation individuals resorts to. In his idea, murder is done in the right circumstances because in it’s our genes from our ancestors who then have killed also for reproductive success. But this idea lacks a more detailed and rigorous demonstration on the psychological mechanisms behind murder as a deviant behavior.

Psychology evolution in the context of murder needs further studies to posses its claims as such conclusions are only derived from analysis on past generations and ancestral history and domains. Contradicting to the idea derived form the evolution psychology, social theories can also explain why murders happen. For example, Stirner presents the argument that no formal concept of good and evil is conceived through the objective way. But rather, its definition is derived from the process of socialization.

In the case of murder, when one person kills, he or she is subjected to the ethical standards prescribed by society and is decided based on the legality of the action. In which case, murder is considered as immoral or bad which is governed by the social mandate. Power structures also explain why murder occurs and this is explained through dominant group that imposes behavioral standards on the inferior group. Psychological aversion towards Suicide The biological attribution to the deviant behavior of suicide can fairly be related to the murder behavior in the sense that life becomes at stake in this case.

Evolutionary psychologist relates that the biological origin of suicide as a deviant behavior is due to the hypothesized form of aggression played by most male and their inherent testosterone. Several studies also related the concept of depression the need to let others know they need help is one of the attributes connected to evolution psychology in this aspect. Biologically, there are conclusions that suicidal an individual have a low level of serotonin in the brain and impulsively decide to murder/commit suicide. (van Wormer and Odiah)

Evolution psychology also suggests that suicides are found to be in most highly depressed men compare to women. In this light, Freud’s concept on discerning human motives failed to give psychologists answer to determine the aversion on suicide. A major contribution of Freud however is determining that there exists a death instinct by which social conflicts interplays contrastingly with the asocial id of the individual and the socially imbued superego. The death instinct is now carried on into the egoistically motivated aggressive act outside the self. (van Wormer and Odiah)