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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 - Biological Basis of Social Behaviour

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Stuart Kamenetsky

PSY311Social DevelopmentLecture 2Biological Basis of Social BehaviourAccording to this view we are born prewired or predisposed to behave socially This proposition is old and stems from evolutionary theoryEvolutionary Theory Natural Selection Organisms are well equipped to cope with environmental challenges to survival Genetic Endowment Biological structure we receive for this purposeThe most fit species to meet environmental challenges are the ones to that will ultimately survive oIe Human beings are the most fit and more intelligent than the animal kingdomThe most adaptive characteristics within species will prevail thus strengthening own species in the long run through reproduction of the fittestoIt is individuals with those characteristics are more likely to live and get married and have offspring and so on oIn the past when you look at human kind this may be physical strength If you were a man and were really strong and fit you were more likely to have a wife and later offspring oOver time the characteristics that are adaptive to the environment may change in essence to the environment Nowadays some think that intelligence is importance which is important as a predictor of successSociobiologyExtension of evolutionary theory to social behaviourAn attempt to organize the facts about the adaptive significance of social behaviour in animals and by extension n human beingsThe systematic study of the biological basis of all forms of social behaviour including sexual and parental behaviour in all kinds of organisms including humansoThe physical apparatus of being pregnant is having breast milk when you have a newborn She the parents still need to have the behaviour of knowing when the child is hungry or tired or needs milk Therefore having the physical apparatus isnt enough there is much more to knowBehaviour is dominated by a genetically based urge to produce the maximum numbers of successful offspring either directly or by favouring ones next of kinoWe want to save our offsprings first if we are ever in a situationThree Aspects of Evolutionary TheoryEvolution concepts apply as much to behaviour as to structural characteristics The adaptation of a species is always to a particular kind of environment ecological nicheA rigid distinction between what is innate and what is acquired is meaningless in this accountHow are Organisms Predisposed for Social BehaviourFixed Action Patterssimple stereotyped actions that are activated by certain quite specific stimuliThese are prewiredpart of an individuals genetic endowment and are usually functionally early in lifeDifferent from reflexes because they can be modified by the environment
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