There is a close coincidence in time between the appearance of psychology as a science and the rise of evolutionary theory. The first laboratory of experimental psychology was established in Germany by Wilhelm Wundt just as Darwin's writings were beginning to have their enormous impact, especially as they might be applied to understanding the human mind. Psychology is an important discipline because it straddles the boundary between the biological sciences and the social or human sciences of anthropology, sociology and economics. Given that importance, and given that new sciences lack the conceptual history within which older, established sciences might be mired, it might have been expected that psychology would have embraced in a way that established sciences did not the equally new, sensational and central theorem of biology which spoke to the origins of species as well as the origins of their traits and, crucially, the functions of those traits. Yet for over a century evolutionary theory had virtually no presence in psychology, despite having powerful friends like William James at court.
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DOI 10.1017/S1358246100007207
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