The Long-Term Promise of Evolutionary Psychology for the Law

18 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2017 Last revised: 21 May 2020

Date Written: 2016


This Article is about one branch of the modern psychological sciences — evolutionary psychology — and why this branch is of particular long-term importance to the law. As with any behavioral science, the value to the law might seem obvious: since the primary objective of the law — the point of the whole thing — is to manage human behavior, a more complete understanding of the causal mechanisms of human behavior can only improve the institution that seeks to manage it. But to make the idea more concrete, this Article will trace a brief sketch of what evolutionary psychology in particular brings to legal analysis, and why this approach has considerable lasting promise.

Keywords: evolutionary analysis of law, evolution, evolutionary psychology, behavioral biology, behavioral law and economics, cognitive science, law and policy

JEL Classification: A12, B25, C70, C71, C90, C91, K00, K14, K40, K42

Suggested Citation

Patrick, Carlton, The Long-Term Promise of Evolutionary Psychology for the Law (2016). 48 Arizona State Law Journal 995 (2016), Available at SSRN:

Carlton Patrick (Contact Author)

University of Central Florida ( email )

4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States

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