PSYCH 2B03 Lecture Notes - Swiss Armed Forces, Confounding, Child Model

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Published on 19 Apr 2013
School
McMaster University
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 2B03
Lec 5
Gonna look at biological influences on personality,
Start by differentiating between traits and types,
Types refer to discontinuous categories, these are discrete categories, and everyone
fits into one.
Traits are more like measuring sticks; align ppl along a continuum/ metric
William Sheldon’s theory of somatotypes
Psychological characteristics go along with each of these physical types.
Ectomorph tends to be taller skinnier, tends to have less muscle effort put towards
intellectual tasks
Endomorphs more sociable, take pleasure from bodily sources, eating/sex etc,
characterized by inertia and sluggishness,
Mesomorph had muscle, were less intellectual.
Consider a problem: some of you may say: if someone doesn’t have muscle they would
pursue intellectual tasks, and if ppl are athletic they play sports. But it may just be
stereotypes.
Sheldon may be right, but for dif reasons. Maybe their parents told them to go into certain
things. So skinny kids parents say “go to intellectual things”
Evolutionary Psychology
An approach to (not a subdiscipline of) psychology that considers species-wide
universals through the lens of adaptive problems faced by ancestors
Looks for universals in humans, and considers current behaviors through the lens of
”human ancestors” that were in some environment in the past
Key assumptions they make:
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1. The brain is a physical system, with neural ‘circuits’
(hunk of meat in the body) (brain is like a circuit board with a bunch of circuits)
2. These ‘circuits’ were shaped by selective pressures to solve problems that
influenced reproductive success
3. Functional specialization domain-specific circuits as opposed to broad neural
plasticity (‘Swiss Army Knife’ each tool is specialized for a certain task)
( there is modularity, idea of modules) (specific areas of the brain that have developed to
solve specific problems, as opposed to the view of the brain being broadly plastic
where one part of the brain can take over for another part of the brain etc.) [there is a lot
of evidence for neural plasticity]
Evolution doesn’t have a goal, animals don’t sit around and go “so there’s fruit and we
can’t eat it, so let’s make babies that eventually get a mutation that can eat it”
4. “Stone age brains in space age skulls”
Humans evolve very slowly, (at very least we need 12/13 yr old cuz that’s when they can
have babies)
culture evolution will always out-pace biological evolution in humans.
You have to be sceptical environment we have now is very different culturally compared
to our ancestors.
Cultural changes occur faster than biological changes.
Behaviour Genetics
Not looking to explain universals among people. Rather, they are trying to look for
genetic explanations for within species or population variability.
(so evolutionary psychologist look for universals to help explain, “why all people or
most people do X”) Wheras behaviour geneticists are concerned with “why is it that
some people do X and some people do Y? and is there a genetic underpinning for this
difference?”
They also consider environmental factors, not just genetic factors.
Considers hereditary and environmental factors as a source of within-species behavioural
variability
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Document Summary

Types refer to discontinuous categories, these are discrete categories, and everyone fits into one. Traits are more like measuring sticks; align ppl along a continuum/ metric. Psychological characteristics go along with each of these physical types. Ectomorph tends to be taller skinnier, tends to have less muscle effort put towards intellectual tasks. Endomorphs more sociable, take pleasure from bodily sources, eating/sex etc, characterized by inertia and sluggishness, Consider a problem: some of you may say: if someone doesn"t have muscle they would pursue intellectual tasks, and if ppl are athletic they play sports. Sheldon may be right, but for dif reasons. Maybe their parents told them to go into certain things. So skinny kids parents say go to intellectual things . An approach to (not a subdiscipline of) psychology that considers species-wide universals through the lens of adaptive problems faced by ancestors. Looks for universals in humans, and considers current behaviors through the lens of.

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