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THE INFLUENCE OF ADAPTIVE POTENTIAL ON PROXIMATE MECHANISMS OF NATURAL SELECTION

  • Author(s): Colby, Benjamin N
  • Azevedo, Kathryn
  • Moore, Carmella C
  • et al.
Abstract

This article tests a theory of overall adaptive potential at the individual and cultural level. Adaptive potential is measured by well-being conditions in each of three realms of human attention: efficacy and diversity in the biophysical realm, affiliation and autonomy in the interpersonal realm, and (provisionally) components of creativity in the symbolic realm. These conditions are assessed through the perspective of the self and the social and cultural surround among 131 individuals in a multicultural sample of Southern California college students. The theory is based on proximate mechanisms of natural selection and cultural transmission. This is largely an exploratory study. The categories measured gain their validity chiefly through the theoretical reasoning that gave rise to them (advanced in more detail in Colby, this same issue) and through the regression of the adaptive potential measure with measures of physical and psychological health.

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