The presence of Darwin’s theory in the biological sciences has paralleled developmental psychology’s first century of existence as a scientific discipline. Darwin had an effect on leading figures in child psychology but it appears to have been more superficial or misleading than first thought. The precise manner in which his ideas influenced or failed to influence developmental psychology and the reasons behind it are still only vaguely understood. The following authors attempt to expand our understanding as well as to clarify Darwin’s present and future connection with developmental psychology. Costall argues that Darwin’s commitment to gradualism led to a failure to emphasize the crucial roles of natural selection and adaptation and the relevance of his theory for psychology. Ghiselin explains the failure of developmental psychology to assimilate Darwin’s theory in a meaningful way as due to misrepresentation of his main points. Charlesworth proposes that Darwin’s minimal impact on developmental psychologists reflects their focus on proximate rather than ultimate factors and their melioristic commitments and bias towards environmentalism.

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