J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2014 Nov;53(6):347-357. 10.4306/jknpa.2014.53.6.347.

Evolutionary Approaches toward Psychiatry

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, St. Andrews Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Icheon, Korea. hansonpark@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Anthropology, College of Social Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


Evolutionary anthropology is the multidisciplinary field of social and natural sciences regarding the physiology and behavior of Homo Sapiens, and the relationship between human and other Hominoids like primates or ancient human species. Evolutionary anthropological approach toward psychiatry is a promising way to resolve the inter-disciplinary conflicts between different fields of study of the human mind. Evolutionary psychiatry is the specialized part of applied biologic anthropology and clinical psychiatry dealing with the biological causes of mental disorders, the impacts of cultural change toward the evolution of the human mind by studying the ancestry of mankind. I attempted to overview the history of evolutionary anthropology or neuroanthropology related to brain and mind, and the possibility of evolutionary psychiatry by showing the progress of academic and social issues regarding the ultimate causes of several mental illnesses.


Evolutionary anthropology; Neuroanthropology; Paradigm; Psychiatry; Evolutionary psychiatry

MeSH Terms

Mental Disorders
Natural Science Disciplines


  • Fig. 1 Defining mental disorders.

  • Fig. 2 Chimpanzee disappointed and sulky (above) and human in terror (below). Adapted and modified from Darwin CR. The expression of the emotions in man and animals 1980.17)

  • Fig. 3 Origin of DRD4 diversity : a simplified model for exon 3 48-bp repeat sequence diversity. DRD4: Dopamine receptor D4.


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