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PSYCH 3F03 (153)

January 7- 3f03.docx

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Paul W Andrews

3F03- Evolution and Human Behaviour is an interdisciplinary field • Human behaviour in light of evolutionary theory • Evolution and human behaviour is an interdisciplinary field • The course will cover ideas and research findings from psychology, biology, and anthropology It is biological: looking at human behaviour within the conceptual framework that unites the life sciences • Evolution by selection • Natural selection • Sexual selection • Adaptation • Cross-species comparison • Darwinian fitness (adaptations are for reproduction) • Inclusive fitness (adaptations are for nepotism) Evolutionary psychology: psychological science—considering that the brain is an evolved product of the evolutionary process Behaviourism: the brain as a black box Evolutionary psychology: mid to late 80s—due consideration of the mind/ studies of the brain can be studied with evolutionary biology—evolved behaviours Evolutionary anthropology Adaptationism: investigating the components of organisms in the light of hypotheses about their adaptive functions Tinbergen’s four models of explanations: 1. Proximate causation: mechanisms that give rise to life—the neurological processes—“We feel fearful when our amygdala gets activated.” 2. Ontogeny (individual development)—over the course of time within the environment, different areas develop—causing fear to develop (“development of the amygdala”) 3. Phylogeny (evolutionary “development” over generations): we are all a part of this big tree of life and essentially human beings, plants, fungi etc are all related under one tree— diversified over time –“where on that tree of life did the fear mechanisms first evolve” 4. Function (“ultimate causation”) “why from a selective standpoint the fear mechanism exists—reproductive advantages of having it”—the adaptive consequences (fitness effects) that are responsible for the attribute’s having evolved and being maintained by natural selection Adaptationism • By using the logic of natural selection, adaptationism generates interesting predictions about behaviour and cognition that are not otherwise possible • Gives insight into proximate mechanisms (these are the products of selection) o Neurobiology o Physiological  These are the outputs of natural selection –constructed over evolutionary time Proximate causal effects of Major Histocompatibility Complex genotypes on women’s affective responses to male odors • Gave men plain white t-shirts to wear—no showering, no sex—the man are inoculating the tshirts with their sweat etc • T-shirts were given to women to smell and rate for pleasantness • Pleasantness was on a scale from 0-7, 7 being more pleasant • They divided the women into birth control and non birth control—as well as whether or not they shared MHC genes (genes that code for various aspects of the immune system) —there is a lot of variability in these genes—any 2 people from the population can have 0-6 common genes (0-1 genes, dissimilar, 3-4=similar) o The non-pill users found MHC dissimilar females rated the tshirts more pleasantly than MHC similar o The reverse was t
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