Claire White - Evolutionary Accounts of Grief
Claire White is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge. Abstract: Grief is a universal reaction to the loss of a
Claire White is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge.
Abstract: Grief is a universal reaction to the loss of a valued relationship partner. Two main evolutionary accounts of grief have been proposed. The first views grief as a by-product of an adaptive separation reaction that functions to aid unification in the temporary loss of a valued relationship partner. The second posits that grief is an adaptation that evolved to cope with the loss of a loved one by changing goals, signaling to others to enhance social support and reassessing one’s current behaviors, relationships and priorities. Despite the potential of evolutionary accounts to inform research, they have not been integrated into mainstream bereavement literature. This state of affairs is in part because evolutionary theories of grief lack theoretical clarity, empirical predictions and supporting evidence. The aim of this talk is to highlight these weaknesses and to begin to correct for them. The talk is divided into three parts. First, I critically evaluate the two leading evolutionary theories of grief. Second, I analyze the goodness-of-fit between the predictions generated from these two contrasting approaches and findings in bereavement research, including data from a series of studies that I have conducted. Third, and finally, I propose a new evolutionary account of grief that integrates existing theories by disaggregating the core symptoms after the experience of bereavement into evolutionarily meaningful subtypes.
(Monday) 12:00 am - 1:30 pm
Haines Hall 352