Environment of evolutionary adaptedness

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The environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) refers to the environment in which a given adaption is said to have evolved. The term was coined by John Bowlby as part of his attachment theory. The EEA has become an important concept in evolutionary psychology but is also important to any field in biology that seeks to find ultimate causes. The important thing to remember is that the EEA is not the current environment, it is usually geographically different and chronologically in the past. For example, it is often argued that people prefer sweet or fatty food because in the EEA it would have been adaptive, the fact that in the modern world it has become maladaptive does not change the desire in a human brain formed in the EEA.


  • Buss, D.M. (2004). Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.