Evolution can shape any characteristic appearing as a phenotype that is genetically rooted and possesses a long history. The stress-diathesis model suggests that psychiatric disorders have some genetic roots, and therefore the theory of evolution may be relevant for psychiatry. Schizophrenia is present in every human culture with approximately the same incidence. The great evolutionary paradox is: how can such illness persist despite fundamental reproductive disadvantages? Since the 1960s, several evolutionary explanations have been raised to explain the origins of schizophrenia. This article reviews all the major evolutionary theories about the possible origins of this disease. On the one hand, some researchers have proposed that schizophrenia is an evolutionary disadvantageous byproduct of human brain evolution (e.g. the evolution of hemispheric specialization, social brain or language skills). On the other hand, others have suggested that a compensatory advantage must exist either in the biological system of patients with schizophrenia (e.g. resistance against infectious diseases), or within the social domain (e.g. greater creativity of the relatives). According to some theories, shamanism and religion demonstrate some similarities to psychosis and provide clues regarding the origins of schizophrenia. At the end of this article we discuss this last theory in detail listing arguments for and against.
|Translated title of the contribution||Schizophrenia and evolutionary psychopathology|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Psychiatria Hungarica : A Magyar Pszichiátriai Társaság tudományos folyóirata|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|
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