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What's in a Name: Is “Evolutionary Psychology” Eclipsing “Sociobiology” in the Scientific Literature?

Published: 1 October 2007

Abstract: Is the term “evolutionary psychology” supplanting “sociobiology” in the scientific literature? How influential was E. O. Wilson's (1975) book, Sociobiology, in establishing the discipline of the same name? Similarly, how influential were the two Tooby-Cosmides chapters appearing in The Adapted Mind ( Cosmides and Tooby, 1992 ; Tooby and Cosmides, 1992 ) in establishing evolutionary psychology as a viable outgrowth of sociobiology? The purpose of the present research was to answer these questions using quantitative analyses of publication trends. The Internet search engine Google Scholar was used to count the number of hits (i.e., the number of scholarly works, citations, etc.) for “sociobiology” and “evolutionary psychology” separately per year from 1960 to 2003. Interrupted time-series analyses revealed significant increases (intercept shifts) for sociobiology hits between 1974 and 1975, and for evolutionary psychology hits between 1991 and 1992. Evolutionary psychology hits also experienced a significant increase in change-over-time (a slope shift) between 1991 and 1992. Growth curve analyses revealed that the rate of growth for evolutionary psychology, which was accelerating over time, was significantly greater than that for sociobiology, which was decelerating. The implications of these findings for understanding the histories of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology are discussed.
Keywords: publication trends / interrupted time-series analysis / sociobiology ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ / evolutionary psychology / history of science

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