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Lecture 4

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PSYC 3100
Pat Barclay

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  Is it specific? o Is it only produced in response to noxious substances?  Not usually initiated in response to good or inert things.  Is it efficient? o When you experience disgust you tend to avoid the thing that disgust you fairly effectively  Parsimony? o Are there better explanations out there? Byproducts  Traits that have no function that are caused by some other trait that is adaptive (blood example).  Foot print shape? o Foot print isn't adaptive but it is a byproduct of the shape of the foot that is well developed to the organism  Function of blindspot? o Not just due to design of the eye  Masturbation o No function (lust) vs shedding old sperm. o Requires testing between them  How they come about o Inevitably produced  Breathing out CO2 o Trait not being subject to selective. o Traits 'piggyback' on other traits  A trait that is strongly selected for what has other traits associated with it those associated traits will increase as well  Example: aggressive mating in male roosters (kill 50% of their mates) that may be linked
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