ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (3): 464-474.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00464

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A brief introduction of Life History Theory and its combination with social psychology: Moral behaviors as an example

PENG Yunshuang1; WANG Xue2; WU Song1; JIN Shenghua1; SUN Rongfang3   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China)
    (2 Department of Psychology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
    (3 Shenyang Institute of Education, Shenyang 110083, China)
  • Received:2015-03-24 Online:2016-03-15 Published:2016-03-15
  • Contact: JIN Shenghua, E-mail:


Life History Theory (LHT), as one of the representative theories in evolutionary psychology, has integrated the influences of both social and individual factors. It mainly focuses on the effects of individuals’ early experiences and living environment, and it is closely linked to research topics in social psychology. However, it only received limited attention in the field of social psychology. Therefore, in attempt to draw more attention to LHT and give readers a thorough understanding of it, this paper will explore through its establishment, process of development, core concepts and tenets and major measurements. Also, LHT is frequently used to analyze moral behaviors, which constitutes a significant part of social psychology. In doing so, researchers try to find out how fast and slow life history strategy would exert influences on pro-social, unethical/violent criminal behaviors; and propose possible mediators, such as the locus of control, sense of security, and the regulatory focus. Therefore, researchers see the need to broadly apply LHT in studying social psychology, as it would provide new perspectives and shed new light on the research of morality.

Key words: life history, moral behavior, balance, influencing factors, measurements