Levels of Explanation
1. Proximate Explanation
a. Most answers to the question “why” fall into the category known as proximate
b. Immediate triggers: what’s happening inside and outside your body
c. Developmental history
i. Genes you inherited from your parents
ii. Environment in which you developed (fetal, childhood, adulthood)
2. Ultimate explanations
a. Rarely do most people’s answers to the question “why” fall into the category
known as ultimate
b. Why do we behave the way we do?
i. What adaptive problems did our answers face?
ii. How did they solve these adaptive problems?
3. Example: blood loss and fainting
• BLOOD LOSS OFTEN ASSOCIATED
W/ATTACK OR INJURY
O FAINTING MAY END ATTACK
O FAINTING SLOWS LOOD LOSS
O FAINTING IMPROVES
• THEREFORE, FAINTING IMPROVES
ODDS OF SURVIVAL, LEADING TO
MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR
• BLOOD LOSS LOWERS YOUR BLOOD
PRESSURE, WHICH CAUSES FAINTING