Evolutionary psychology (EP) is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations – that is, the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection. Adaptationist thinking about physiological mechanisms, such as the heart, lungs, and immune system, is common in evolutionary biology. Some evolutionary psychologists apply the same thinking to psychology, arguing that the mind has a modular structure similar to that of the body, with different modular adaptations serving different functions. Evolutionary psychologists argue that much of human behavior is the output of psychological adaptations that evolved to solve recurrent problems in human ancestral environments.
The adaptationist approach is steadily increasing as an influence in the general field of psychology.
Human behavior refers to the range of behaviors exhibited by humans and which are influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion and/or genetics.
The behavior of people (and other organisms or even mechanisms) falls within a range with some behavior being common, some unusual, some acceptable, and some outside acceptable limits. In sociology, behavior in general is characterised as having no meaning, being not directed at other people, and thus is the most basic human action. Behavior in this general sense should not be mistaken with social behavior, which is a more advanced action, as social behavior is behavior specifically directed at other people. The acceptability of behavior depends heavily upon social norms and is regulated by various means of social control. Human behavior is studied by the specialised academic disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, social work, sociology, economics, and anthropology.
The nature versus nurture debate is a debate concerning the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities ("nature," i.e. nativism, or innatism) versus personal experiences ("nurture," i.e. empiricism or behaviorism) in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits.
The phrase "Nature versus nurture" in its modern sense was coined by the English Victorian polymath Francis Galton in discussion of the influence of heredity and environment on social advancement, although the terms had been contrasted previously, for example by Shakespeare (in his play, The Tempest: 4.1). Galton was influenced by the book On the Origin of Species written by his cousin, Charles Darwin. The concept embodied in the phrase has been criticized for its binary simplification of two tightly interwoven parameters, as for example an environment of wealth, education and social privilege are often historically passed to genetic offspring. The difference being that wealth, education and social privilege are not part of the human biological system, and so cannot be directly attributed to genetics.