Evolution and relationships: A call for integration

Jeffry A. Simpson, Steven W. Gangestad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In this introduction to the special issue on evolutionary approaches to relationships, we first review some of the major theories and milestones that have shaped and informed modern evolutionary thinking. In doing so, we discuss some of the major evolutionary theories that are most relevant to interpersonal relationships, and we describe how these theories are structurally linked. We then discuss the importance of theorizing about and studying phenomena from multiple levels of explanation - ultimate, ontogenetic, and proximate. Several misconceptions that continue to plague evolutionary psychology are then discussed, and we suggest ways in which evolutionary psychologists have unwittingly created, perpetuated, or sometimes exacerbated certain misconceptions. We conclude that the science of relationships could benefit from an infusion of more evolutionary thinking, and we propose that evolutionary psychology could benefit by having more relationship researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-355
Number of pages15
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2001


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