PSYC 3100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Razorbill, Parental Investment, Forensic Psychiatry
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Evolutionary Psychology Lecture 17- Parenting 2 → Discriminative
Discriminative Parental Care
• Prediction → organisms will recognize and favor their own offspring is there’s a risk of
misdirecting their parental investment
• Parent may favor one child over another
o Favor their own offspring more than other’s offspring
• In humans, we regularly have a case where people are in a parental like role
• Parental investment is costly
• Prediction → parental love should be evolved to allocate parental resources optimally
• Invest in offspring that are best able to convert parental invest into offspring
Bases for Discriminating:
• Is this my kid?
o Aren’t parents in some species indiscriminate about whom they accept?
▪ We know that parents can tell who their kids are, but in some species,
they really don’t know
o Which species recognize their own kids vs. which species use other cues?
o Does not recognize one eggs/young, will feed offspring placed in its best…the
razorbill who don’t recognize young rest on cliffs, where their nearest neighbors
are far away (not any mix-ups) unrelated young are not going to end up in the
nest- unrelated offspring don’t wander into their nests, this is why they don’t
need to recognize their own offspring, they don’t have to worry about unrelated
offspring in their own nest
o Recognizes own offspring and rejected unrelated offspring…live in massive
colonies, hundreds of nests in close proximity- parents do need to recognize
their individual young because high probability that some isles young may end
up in their mistake by accident- this is why they are able to recognize their own
offspring…it is possible that chicks can stray into other nests and sometimes they
can get lost in close proximity. They have evolved the ability to discriminate
between who’s there’s chicks and who’s are not
o Mothers will lick newborn which causes permanent changes in brain, which
recognizes scent of her kid- then she will nurse only her lamb and push away
others they come up to her
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• Paternity uncertainty: is the kid really mine?
o Mother knows it’s her baby but for dads, there is always the chance it is not his
o Causes of infanticide → doesn’t look like the father
o Men assess probability of paternity from cues:
▪ Resemblance (phenotype matching)- does this baby look, smell like me?
▪ Perceived fidelity of mother & opportunities for cuckoldry (if a guy is
raising someone else’s kid)- what is the likely hood that this isn’t my kid?
(mother had been with someone else)
▪ Father will invest less in young if he was away from some of the fertile
period (not 100% if his baby)- can happen in humans
• Phenotypic quality: can this offspring convert parental investment into parental fitness
• Age: how close to independence is this child?
Parents vs. Surrogate Parents
• Parental love promotes positive interactions, decreases negative interactions – child
specific love inhibits aggression (some children so annoying so they are lucky to have
parents who love them, so they don’t act violent toward them or negatively)
o This can be very frustrating when your child is very annoying
• If you are in a parental like position but you aren’t the child’s actual parent…you don’t
love them like a parent does- you get annoyed and don’t deal with their bullshit
o When someone who doesn’t have the same type of love that a biological parent
would might react badly when a child is annoying
• Prediction →more positive behaviour & less negative behaviour from a biological parent
than from a surrogate (all else equal)- examples like step-parents
o Children will experience better treatment form the biological parent than from
• Most famous story – CINDERELLA- abused stepchildren…step mother horribly abused
Cinderella and makes her work hard and treated her like a slave until a fairy god mother
helps her and happily ever after
• Is this idea of mistreated stepchild- is this real or just a legend?
• We can look at the data!
o Two genetic parents in the family and one genetic parent and one stepparent
▪ 1 out of 1000
▪ The rates of abuse are much higher than in stepparent families than in
▪ 6 out of 1000
▪ The risk is really high in young children- they are the most demanding
and take the most of your mind, wake you up but when child’s get older
they don’t need as much resources
▪ The rates are low in both families
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