ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (4): 721-728.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00721

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles    

Life History Theory: An Evolutionary Perspective on Human Development

LIN Zhenchao; WANG Yan   

  1. (Department of Psychology, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China)
  • Received:2014-04-22 Online:2015-04-15 Published:2015-04-15
  • Contact: WANG Yan, E-mail:


From the traditional psychological perspectives of human development, it was generally taken for granted that individual biological development was a fixed routine, rarely had experiences in childhood been taken into consideration systematically. However, life history theory, as a branch of evolutionary biology, focusing on how organisms allocate time, energy as well as resources to various activities over their life cycle, pointed out that childhood experiences could influence individual’s somatic development and then reproductive strategy. Such an understanding implied an interaction, especially with a developmental perspective, between body and mind. Thus, the timing of sexual maturation (i.e., puberty) was a core variable distinguishing other theories of human development from life history theory.

Key words: life history theory, evolution, trade-offs, sexual maturation, childhood experience