The term the Standard Social Science Model
(SSSM) was first introduced to a wide audience by John Tooby
John Tooby is an American anthropologist, who, together with psychologist wife Leda Cosmides, helped pioneer the field of evolutionary psychology....
and Leda Cosmides
Leda Cosmides, is an American psychologist, who, together with anthropologist husband John Tooby, helped develop the field of evolutionary psychology....
in the 1992 edited volume The Adapted Mind
The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture is an edited volume, first published in 1992 by Oxford University Press, edited by Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby...
, to describe the "blank slate
Blank Slate is an initiative run by UK film production company B3 Media that seeks to develop and nurture film making talent from a minority background...
," social constructionist
Social constructionism and social constructivism are sociological theories of knowledge that consider how social phenomena or objects of consciousness develop in social contexts. A social construction is a concept or practice that is the construct of a particular group...
,or "cultural determinist
Cultural determinism is the belief that the culture in which we are raised determines who we are at emotional and behavioral levels. This supports the theory that environmental influences dominate who we are instead of biologically inherited traits....
" perspective that they claim is the dominant theoretical paradigm in the social sciences as they developed during the 20th century. According to this alleged paradigm, the mind is a general-purpose cognitive device shaped almost entirely by culture.
Evolutionary psychologists name several prominent scientists as supposed proponents of the standard social science model, including Franz Boas
Franz Boas was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology" and "the Father of Modern Anthropology." Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did...
, Margaret Mead
Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist, who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s....
, B. F. Skinner
Burrhus Frederic Skinner was an American behaviorist, author, inventor, baseball enthusiast, social philosopher and poet...
, Richard Lewontin
Richard Charles "Dick" Lewontin is an American evolutionary biologist, geneticist and social commentator. A leader in developing the mathematical basis of population genetics and evolutionary theory, he pioneered the notion of using techniques from molecular biology such as gel electrophoresis to...
, John Money
John William Money was a psychologist, sexologist and author, specializing in research into sexual identity and biology of gender...
, and Steven J. Gould.
Alternative theoretical paradigm: The Integrated Model
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...
have argued that the SSSM is now out of date and that a progressive model for the social sciences requires evolutionarily-informed models of nature-nurture interactionism, grounded in the computational theory of mind
In philosophy, the computational theory of mind is the view that the human mind is an information processing system and that thinking is a form of computing. The theory was proposed in its modern form by Hilary Putnam in 1961 and developed by Jerry Fodor in the 60s and 70s...
. Tooby and Cosmides refer to this new model as the Integrated Model (IM).
Tooby and Cosmides provide several comparisons between the SSSM and the IM, including the following:
| Standard Social Science Model || Integrated Model
| Humans born a blank slate
|| Humans are born with a bundle of emotional,
motivational and cognitive adaptations
| Brain a “general-purpose” computer
|| Brain is a collection of modular, domain
| Culture/socialization programs behavior
|| Behavior is the result of interactions between
evolved psychological mechanisms and cultural & environmental influences
| Cultures free to vary any direction on any trait
|| Culture itself is based on a universal
human nature, and is constrained by it
| Biology is relatively unimportant to understand behavior
|| An analysis of interactions between nature
and nurture is important to understand behavior
Richardson (2007) argues that evolutionary psychologists developed the SSSM as a rhetorical technique: "The basic move is evident in Cosmides and Tooby's most aggressive brief for evolutionary psychology. They want us to accept a dichotomy between what they call the "Standard Social Science Model" (SSSM) and the "Integrated Causal Model" (ICM) they favor ... it offers a false dichotomy between a manifestly untenable view and their own." Wallace (2010) has also suggested the SSSM to be a false dichotomy and claims that "scientists in the EP tradition wildly overstate the influence and longevity of what they call the Standard Social Science Model (essentially, behaviorism
Behaviorism , also called the learning perspective , is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do—including acting, thinking, and feeling—can and should be regarded as behaviors, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior...
- Barkow, J., Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. 1992. The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Degler, C. N. 1991. In search of human nature: The decline and revival of Darwinism in American social thought. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Rose, H. 2001. Colonising the Social Sciences? In Rose, H. and Rose, S. (Eds) "Alas Poor Darwin": London, Cape.
- Fruehwald, Scott. 2006. "Postmodern Legal Thought and Cognitive Science," 23 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 375.
- Hampton, Simon Jonathan. 2004. "The Instinct Debate and the Standard Social Science Model". Psychology, Evolution & Gender. 6, no. 1: 15-44.
- Levy, Neil. 2004. "Evolutionary Psychology, Human Universals, and the Standard Social Science Model". Biology and Philosophy. 19, no. 3: 459-472.
- Schmaus, Warren. 2003. "Is Durkheim the Enemy of Evolutionary Psychology?".Philosophy of the Social Sciences.33;25