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Chapter 3 - September 13 and 17 - PSYCH 3M03

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Aadil Merali Juma

PSYCH 3M03 Chapter 3: Nature – Nurture September 13/17, 2013  The behaviour of simple organisms is driven more by genetics than learning  The environment often changes much faster than evolution progresses  Learning allows an organism to adapt to changes in its environment within its lifetime  Ability to learn can be driven by genetics (eg/ human language learning)  Learning plays a greater role in complex organisms like humans  K selection – fewer and higher quality offspring; long generations; larger animals higher up in the food chain, more flexibility o R selected species – eg/ flies; many offspring  Learning does not override all natural behaviour, even in the most complex animals (however, it can override natural behaviour) Instinctive Behaviour  Reflexes – innate involuntary stimulus-response; can come in complex sets (eg/ a cats ability to right itself when falling) o Elicited by stimulus, goes through spinal cord and does not get processed by the brain, but has an automatic motor response; not voluntary behaviour o Eg/ Human adults; breathing, shivering (response to cold; body warms up due to movement), eye blink (protection from object coming toward eye), hand withdrawal (when touching something hot), startle response (eyes widen, ears perk, mouth opens), knee jerk, salivation o Eg/ Human babies; rooting (seeking the nipple) and suckling, Babinski reflex (extension of the great toe and fanning of other toes in response to stimulation of sole of foot), Moro (startle) reflex, Palmar grasp, stepping  Fixed Action Patterns – more complex coordinated patterns of instinctive behaviour o Eg/ grooming behaviour, nest building, swimming, rage response in cats  Eg/ Grooming is found in mice, rats, raccoons, cats – stereotyped, evolved in an ancestor of many of these species and is adaptive so was transferred  Eg/ Halfway through pregnancy – give pregnant mouse cotton, will begin to build a nest; mouse did not learn by observing, is a FAP preparing to give birth  Eg/ Aggression in mice – males are typically more aggressive than females; can raise male mouse in environment with no males to observe, but male will show a stereotyped set of patterns in response to being put in a cage with another male (if put with female, will likely show mating behaviour)  Eg/ animals can swim without learning o Four properties  Stereotyped – similar expression across individual and time  Can be dependent on immediate external stimulation  Some are spontaneous – independent from external stimulus  May resist conditioning and individual learning (not in all cases) o Some variation seen in patterns of behaviour; not entirely fixed  Behavioural Genetics o Lab animal studies show that we can breed for motivational and emotional traits o Some simple traits in lab animals are single genes;  Eg/ squeaking in mice (Mendelian rations suggest a single dominant gene; some mice squeal if you pick them up, some don’t), specific dances in mice (some mice tend to show elaborate dances (Waltzer mice), believed to be a single recessive gene) o Eg/ Selectively bred mice for aggression over 7 generations – aggressive and non-aggressive mice diverged after 7 generations of breeding o Eg/ The tendency to explore can be amplified or minimized through breeding in successive generations of mice  Some mice will be cautious, not explore, urinate and defecate  Some mice will explore, not urinate or defecate o Most motivational and emotional traits are affected by multiple genes o Human Behavioural Genetics – human studies show that motivational and emotional traits show familial concordance  Depression  Twin Comparisons  Monozygotic (MZ, identical) vs. dizygotic (DZ, fraternal)  Reared apart vs. reared together  Genetics Affect Emotionality o Lagerspetx (1964) – male mice are selectively bred for aggression over seven generations 1 PSYCH 3M03 o DeFries et al (1978) – the tendency to explore can be amplified or minimized through breeding in successive genreations of mice Learning  The environment can change faster than evolution progresses  Learning allows adaption to changing and complex environments within the individuals lifetime  Ability to learn can be driven by genetics  Exploration o Most animals explore new environments o Food, water, shelter, possible danger – must be sought out
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