PSYC 3365 Lecture 1: Levels of Explanation

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Published on 11 Sep 2018
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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
ULTIMATE EXPLANATION
PROXIMATE EXPLANATION
BLOOD LOSS OFTEN ASSOCIATED
W/ATTACK OR INJURY
O FAINTING MAY END ATTACK
O FAINTING SLOWS LOOD LOSS
O FAINTING IMPROVES
CLOTTING
THEREFORE, FAINTING IMPROVES
ODDS OF SURVIVAL, LEADING TO
MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR
REPRODUCTION
BLOOD LOSS LOWERS YOUR BLOOD
PRESSURE, WHICH CAUSES FAINTING
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