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University of Toronto Scarborough

Roshan Singh 041108 Mr.Fournier PSYA02H3 Chapter 16 Notes Cultural evolution The adaptive change of a culture to recurrent environmental pressures. It is mainly driven by psychological forces. Cultural evolution is a product of human intellect and physical capacity, both of which have strong genetic components. Lifestyle The aggregate behaviour of a person; the way in which a person leads his or her life. Cultural evolution has been a primary agent involved in shaping lifestyle. Although the consequences of unhealthy lifestyle behaviours have obvious negative biological implications, the behaviours themselves can be acquired and maintained by both biological and psychological factors. Natural selection does not occur as these unhealthy traits are not related to reproduction. Law of effect states that cultural practices and customs that result in reinforcement tend to be maintained, if not elaborated (this includes unhealthy behaviours). In the last 150 years, our diets have changed as they are now considerably higher in fats and lower in fibre. This is largely due to the consumption of processed foods, fried foods and sweets. Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) The narrowing of blood vessels that supply nutrients to the heart. (36% deaths) Cancer A malignant, uncontrolled growth of cells that destroys surrounding tissue. (29% deaths) Serum cholesterol A fat-like chemical found in the blood. One form (LDL) promotes the formation of atherosclerotic plaques (clog arteries). Another form (HDL) may protect against coronary heart disease. Cultures having the highest death rate due to breast cancer are those whose citizens consume relatively large amount of fats. Why might we prefer high fat foods and sweets? In the past, our ancestors who faced starvation would be best served by eating fat, which provides high caloric value. Lack of exercise is correlated with increased risk of CHD. People who exercise regularly appear to accumulate less body fat and to be less vulnerable to the negative effects of stress. Paffenbarger found 3 things with exercising: - 1413 of the 17000 students died, 45% percent from CHD and 32% from cancer. More of these deaths occurred in participants who had led sedentary lives. - Alumni who reported that they exercised 50 to 55 km of running or walking per week faced half the risk of dying prematurely as that faced by those who reported that they exercised 10 or fewer km per week. - On average those who exercised moderately (30 km) lived 2 years longer than those who exercised less than 10 km.
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