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Lecture 1

PSY424H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Sexual Selection, David Buss, The Need


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY424H1
Professor
Geoffrey Mac Donald
Lecture
1

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Lecture 1 September 12th
Introduction
Experiences of social disconnection makes people feel really bad
o E.g. a divorce, losing a loved one, losing your job
Experiences of social connection makes people feel happy
o E.g. getting married, birth of a child
Why people take drugs? It mimics the neurochemicals that get released/the
feeling when you have a social connection with someone
Study: people who had opioid inhibited in their system
o Experience less positive emotions
o This means that connecting with other people is like getting a boost of
heroine
Why do relationships impact people as strongly as they do?
Evolutionary Psychology (Buss et al., 1998; Crawford, 1998)
Evolution: changes in organic structure over time
Darwin’s theory of natural selection
o Variation: organisms’ characteristics vary within species (all animals differ)
o Inheritance: some of this variance is passed down across generations
(variation can be passed down from generation to generation - genes)
o Selection: individuals with particular heritable characteristics are more
likely to produce offspring that survive
Adaptations: characteristics that increase the chances your genes will
get passed to another generation
Adaptation to a particular local environment e.g. not in every context,
longer necks will be selected for
No universal good thing to have; fit between a particular variation and
the environment
Forms of selection
o Survival “survival of the fittest”: adaptations that promote the organism’s
survival are selected
o Sexual selection: adaptations that increase access to mates are selected
Intrasexual: adaptations for competition within sex for mates
Not always true but usually males competing for access to females
E.g. elephant seal males fight each other; and whoever wins the fight
gets access to a large number of females -> usually males who are
bigger in size will win the fight -> future generations get this better
gene
Ironic because to be such a big size, needs to have large food intakes,
if lack of food, harder to survive; but this bigger gene is seen to be
better
Sexual motivation is a huge driver of animal behaviour
Directly competing with other males
Intersexual: adaptations for selection by the other sex
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