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Lecture 2a

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PSYC 1200
Jason Leboe- Mcgowan

Lecture 2a Influence of Genes - Evolutionary Basis Nature/Nativist Approach  Genes influence behavior Edward Thorndike (1874-1949) - "In the actual race of life, the chief determining factor is heredity Nurture/Empiricist Approach  Surroundings influence behavior John B. Watson (1878-1958) - "Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select-- doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant, chief, beggar, thief. Regardless of talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors" Evolutionary Psychology  Emphasizes things that help explain commonalities in language learning, attention, perception, memory, sexual behavior, emotion, and reasoning  Evolution makes us both similar and different  Traits of a species evolved because they were beneficial in distant past Behavioral Genetics  Science relating behaviors to heredity  Contributions of heredity to differences in personality, mental ability, etc. Genes - Basic unit of heredity located on chromosomes Chromosomes  Rod shaped in center of cell, 46 per cell in humans  Have genes that are made of DNA 1. Genetic influence on a trait (alcoholism) is carried by a combination of genes 2. Genetics and environment play a role in psychological traits such as intelligence, shyness, and mental illness Thomas Malthus (1798)  Populations grew faster than food supply  Scarcity of food puts members of a species in competition for survival Personal vs. Genetic Survival Natural Selection Reproductive Fitness  Enhanced through physical attributes that promote survival and ability to attract a mate  Also can be enhanced through tendency to behave a certain way Lecture 2a  Traits that increase in frequency among species  Traits that decrease the likelihood of personal survival but increase reproductive fitness will increase in frequency Group Fitness  The motive to be successful in reproduction is not to ensure survival of a group  Traits that help US win against THEM will only increase in frequency if those traits favor reproductive success of individuals Successful Reproduction  Most important thing is genetic survival of individuals  Individuals one against another Logic of Evolutionary Psychology 1. Genes people/animals have are there because those genes produce traits that give reproductive success 2. Genes control brain development 3. Brain controls humans' behavior 4. Some behavior patterns can be inherited when they promote reproductive fitness Fixed-Action Patterns - Genetically inherited behaviors in a species Ex) building a nest Releasing Stimuli - Cues in environment that trigger a fixed-action pattern Genetically Influenced Thoughts/Behaviors 1. Infant Reflexes - nursing 2. Attraction to novelty/safe thrills 3. Curiosity/Exploration/Pretending 4. Basic Math - infants can tell difference between 3 and 4 5. Preference for sweet or fatty or aversion to bitter 6. Discomfort in darkness 7. Many more... Sociobiology  Study of genetic influences on human social behaviors  Some social behaviors occur because they provided a reproductive benefit in the past  More likely to be abused by step dad than biological dad Ex) Women are picky because they had most of the burden of raising the child (except for birds when both are needed to watch the nest). Men are less picky because they had to compete with each other in the past Ex) Male sea-horses are picky because they have the burden of raising the child Mate guarding Lecture 2a  Pair stays together after mating  Purpose is reproductive advantage Mating Systems Polyg
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