PSYC 3300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Neurogenesis
Evolutionary Psychology: L5 January 20, 2015
•Look at the directions (pdf) on courselink.
•Must narrow down the research you wish to use, and formulate your research question to
email it to the professor at least one week before presenting (also give your answer,
•The topics will be from the material we have just covered in class previous.
•Primary source article; qualitative or quantitative (2 articles in total).
•Think about how the two articles complement each other (aim for fuller understanding).
•March 3 How does Gender impact Mental health? (Chapters 13, 14 and 15).
•Take a position on it, and argue in that direction (choose a very particular focus).
•Only need the references for the 3-5 articles used in the poster.
•Look at how many times the article has been cited (may be a clue to how influential it is).
Predicting Willingness to Have Sex
•Opposite pattern between men and women, women less and less likely as you progress
from date, to going to apartment, to going to bed, men became more likely as it went
through this progression.
•Social/culutral (learning, roles and expectations)
oThere are certain rules that men and women play by when it comes to these
•Biological (hormones, chromosomes)
oThe previous study mentioned above was looked at through this perspective.
Ultimate Causes: what function to these behaviours serve?
•Functional Causes: advantage of prosessing thse mechanisms, what their function is.
Sexual Selection: once youa re pregnant, you cannot become pregnant again so women are no
longer available (the idea is that this biological difference may be responsible for differences in
•Result is a biased sex ratio, always more males available to reproduce than females.
•This creates competition for the limited amount of females available at any given time.
•Laws of supply and demand: for women it is more resource intense, which can contribute
to differences in behaviour as well.
•This leads to predictable outcomes according to evolutionary psychology
oDifference in size(weaponry) between the sexes: this is consistent across cultures
and across many species.
•Correspondance between how much resource a woman must commit and
the difference in size between male and female.
•The more shared the rearing is the closer in size the male and female are in
a given species.
oWhy men are more violent:
•Men commit a lot more same sex murders than women commit.
•Differences regarding aggression do not appear to be as severe, not much
difference but this depends on how you look at aggression.
•This violence is linked to the competition aspect of evolution.
oWillingness to engage in sex:
•We expect this difference of men being more willing because there are
fewer resources involved for a man to have sex compared to women.
•Female reproductive success plateaus after having one partner, but the
more partners a man has the more likely they are to have offspring.
•Benefit of multiple mates for men (divorces and remarried, or married to
multiple men), but for women if you remarry you are not likely to have more
•Expect there to be more jealousy with men because they can't be assured
that it is their offspring, but recent research shows that both men and women are
just as upset about emotional infidelity, men should be more concerned with
sexual infidelity and this used to be the case (something that has recently
•Women wanting things that were more about status and resources, men
valued good looks, health and desire for home and family.
•This research has been challenged and recent research shows a change in
this as well.
•Stable relationships and marriage, both men and women want intelligent
mates (most important it seems).
•Depends on how you measure these things, but its showing now that men
and women are looking for very similar or the same things.
Feminism and Evolutionary Psychology:
•Evolutionary psychologists were explaining why rape is more frequent for males to
females than from females to men, and this was interpreted as saying it was something that
wouldn't change, but just because it is "natural" doesn't mean that it is okay.. We still need
to change it as a society, but enforcing laws in this area, etc.
Problems with Biological Explanations:
•Biological essentialism; because there is a biological difference that means there is
nothing that can be done about it, or the difference becomes exaggerated.
oIt is not as often questioned as social explanations.
oAnother problem exists around folk wisdom and determinism.
oAssumption that biological differences can't be changed.
oHeritability is merely a predisposition, not innate.
•Behaviour can impact biology!
oNeural plasticity and pruning (connections not used do start to deteriorate).
oNeurogenesis (you make connections your whole life and this can change the
structure of your brain).
oLondon taxi drivers (have a mental map in their brain)
•Have extreme training, very difficult and many drop out.
•Because of this training we see structural, physical changes in their brains.
o6 year old with seizures, they removed half of her brain almost entirely.. The left
side of the brain took over most of the functioning, her brain changed to adapt.
o*Menstrual Synchrony: women who live together have their menstrual cycles start
to coincide if not on the pill - the environment changes the hormones of the women.
oAffect of environment on men's hormones
•Did this experiment with men and women with those who had just had a
baby and those that were going to have later.
oMarriage changes the testosterone levels in men, as well as when they have
•This wasn't an experiment, mainly an association but it could be.