Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Life History Theory

  • Phillip S. KavanaghEmail author
  • Bianca L. Kahl
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1914-1



A theory based on biological evolution that explains variations in organisms’ developmental and reproductive strategies in the context of environment pressures and available resources.


The core premises of Darwinian evolution are survival and reproduction (Darwin 1859); and biological organisms need energy to achieve these goals. All life requires capturing and allocating energy; however, this energy is limited and comes at a cost – organisms cannot expend unlimited resources, maximizing all life domains simultaneously. Organisms must live within their restricted energy budgets, mandating tradeoffs to ensure they do not allocate more resources to a particular domain than are available. Selection favors strategies for allocating resources on the basis that they result in the greatest evolutionary fitness for the organism, respective of their environmental...


Intimate Partner Violence Personality Disorder Life History Trait Parental Investment Life History Strategy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychology, Social Work and Social PolicyUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gary L Brase
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA