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Psych-Evolution 1.docx

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Joe Kim

Evolution 1 Adaptations  Adaptations- are biological traits that help an individual to survive and reproduce in its habitat  Adaptations perform a specific function that make an organism better suited to its environment  They are used during tasks organisms face when interacting with the physical world.  Example: your eyes enable you to recognize and respond effectively to things around you by detecting and analyzing the reflected light.  Perceptual processes and behaviours are also biological adaptations. Psychological Adaptations  “Higher” mental processes- Selective attention, memory encoding, memory retrieval and word recognition; these all refer to tasks that the mind needs to accomplish to do its job= the adaptive functions of the mind.  The adaptive functions that are served by our minds evolved like all other adaptations- through natural selection. Evolution by Natural Selection  Adaptations emerge in development as a result of the activation of relevant genes in interaction with relevant aspects of the environment.  Natural Selection- differential survival and reproduction of organisms as a result of the heritable differences between them.  Natural Selection was discovered by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace and is one of the 4 basic mechanisms of evolution; the others being mutation, genetic drift and migration. Three Essential Components: 1. Individual differences- within any population, there is variation among individuals for any given characteristic, and these differences affect individuals’ chances of surviving and reproducing, causing differential reproduction. 2. Differential reproduction- some individuals will have more offspring than others. The traits that give rise to differential reproduction have a genetic basis, meaning they are heritable. 3. Heritable- the offspring of successful reproducers will resemble their parents with respect to these variable characteristics. Selective Transmission  Over a successive generation of a species with a specific trait, there will be selective transmission of the heritable parental traits.  This is because of the specific characteristics that are best adapted for survival and reproduction are going to be reproduced at higher rates.  Eventually the entire population of that species, in that area, will have that trait. Natural Selection in the Wild  Stabilizing Selection- selection against any sort of departure from the species-typical adaptive design.  This type of selection is usually what researchers observe in the wild; this sort of selection tends to keep traits stable over generations.  In some cases where there has been a significant change in the environment, then selection favours traits that are not typical, and evolutionary change can be observed, sometimes quite rapidly.  Example: the evolution of beak shape and size in one particular species of Darwin’s finches, the Medium Ground- Finch which lives on Daphne Island in the Galapagos. In 1977, a severe drought hit the island and decimated the vegetation; the small seeds were quickly eaten up , leaving only large, tough seeds that the finches usually didn’t
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