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Lecture 4

PSYC 3100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Masturbation, Natural Selection, Reverse Engineering

3 pages103 viewsWinter 2013

Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3100
Professor
Pat Barclay
Lecture
4

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Lecture 4
Adaptationism
Adaptation
Trait or set of traits that evolved because they serve some function.
o Increases reproductive success
How can we recognize an adaptation
o Not all things are adaptive (example why is blood red? Its not that it's adaptive its just due to
interactions of haemoglobin)
o Reverse engineering
Go from form to function (infer function).
Example beaks of different shapes (why?) --> to eat different foods thus allowing
coexistance/reduced competition
Criteria of good design
o Reliability
Example: arctic hare fur colour change in summer and winter
Example: hunger
o Specificity
The phenomenon is only produced under specific circumstances
Example: arctic hare fur colour doesn't change in response to hunger
o Efficiency
Favourable benefit to cost ratio
Are the effects of phenomenon positive and more beneficial than other behaviours
o Parsimony
Is proposed function the simplest (most parsimonious) explanation
Is there something that would better explain the phenomenon.
Many explanations in psych fail this
Physical disgust
Function?
o Protection from noxious substances
o Keep us away and prevent us from consuming things that would make us sick
We can have the same mechanisms being used in other domains
o Example: we can have physical disgust, sexual disgust, moral disgust, etc
o Natural selection takes things that were there before and can reuse them in other domains.
Predictions?
o If you present two people with 2 similar stimuli but one is more associated with disease the
one that is more associated with disease will be associated with more disgust
o People who need to be more concerned with disease will show greater disgust.
Study
o Two pictures some that are more related to disease others that are less associated with
disease and had to rate them as more or less disgusting
o Found women give higher ratings of disgust than do males.
Is it reliable?
o It is fairly reliably triggered by things that are disgusting but you can train yourself to no
longer be disgusted
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