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PS263 - Ch 2 Textbook.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Todd Ferretti

PS263 – Chapter 2: Evolution, Genetics & Experience  In the beginning human processes fell into two categories: physiological or psychological – after the Dark Ages, Descartes argued the universe was composed of: 1) physical matter – according to laws of nature & a suitable object of scientific investigation 2) the human mind which lacks physical.  Cartesian Dualism: the Roman Church sanctioned his theory, that the human brain and the mind are separate entities.  Whether humans inherit their behavioural capacities or acquire them through learning is referred to as nature-nurture issue.  Watson’s theory of behaviorism: ethology is the study of animal behaviour in the wild and instinctive behaviours that occur in all like members of a species even when there seems to have been no opportunity for learned.  Evidence against physiological or psychological thinking (assumption that some aspects of human psychological functioning are so complex they could not be a product of the physical brain)  Asomatognosia: a deficiency in the awareness of parts of ones own body – typically involving the left side and resulting from damage to the R parietal.  1) Neurons become active long before they are fully developed, 2) subsequent course of their development depends greatly on their activity much which is triggered by external experience, 3) experience continuously modifies genetic expression.  All behaviour is the product of interactions among three factors – 1) the organism’s genetic endowment, 2) its experience, 3) its perception of the current situation. Human Evolution  Darwin was not the first to suggest that species evolve; undergo gradual orderly change from preexisting species, but he was the FIRST to amass a large body of supporting evidence and how evolution occurs.  1) Documented evolution of fossil records through recent geological layers, 2) Described stroking structural similarities among living species, 3) He pointed to the major changes that had been brought about in domestic plants & animals by programs of selective breeding.  Natural Selection: Evolution occurs through this, members of each species vary greatly in their structure, physiology & behaviour and that the heritable traits that are associated with high rates of survival & reproduction are the most likely to be passed onto future generations.  Fitness: Ability of an organism to survive & contribute its genes to the next generation Evolution & Behaviour  Social Dominance: The males of many species establish a hierarchy of social dominance through combative encounters with other males – this is important because dominant species copulate more than non-dominant ones.  Courtship Display: The male approaches the female and signals his interest.  Species: A group or organisms that is reproductively isolated from other organisms that is reproductively isolated from other organisms – the PS263 – Chapter 2: Evolution, Genetics & Experience members of a species can produce fertile offspring only by mating with members of the same species.  Conspecifics: Members of the same species  Chordates: Animals with dorsal nerve cords; they are 1 of 20 or so large categories of animal species. First developed with vertebrates were bony fishes, today there are 7 categories, 3 fish, amphibian, reptiles, birds...etc.  Amphibians: Evolved 400 million years ago – frogs, toads, salamanders must live in water as larva, until adults. (from fish to amphibians they evolved)  Reptiles: 300 million years ago evolved from amphibians – lizards, snakes and turtles. First vertebrates to lay shell covered eggs and to be covered in scales.  Mammals: Evolved 180 million years ago during the dinosaurs – the females fed their young with secretions from special glands called mammary glands. They laid their babies (no eggs) – only platypus is a mammal that lays eggs.  Primates: Apes are thought to have evolved from old-world monkeys – unlike monkeys apes have NO TAILS.  Analogous: Structures that are similar but do not have a common evolutionary origin.  Homologous: Structures that are similar because they have a common evolutionary origin.  Convergent Evolution: The evolution in unrelated species of similar solution to the same environmental demands - determines analogous/homologous.\  Evolution of human brain  modern humans do not have the biggest brains (1,350 grams) behind whales and elephants, no relationship between the brain and intelligence; brain weight expressed as a % of total body weight might be a better measure o
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