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Lecture 3

PSYCH-UA 30 Lecture 3: Evolutionary Psychology Week 3

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New York University
Andersen Susan

1 Tuesday, September 19, 2017 Chapter 2 The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology Ovulatory Competition Hypothesis: ❖ Ovulation ➢ Women not ovulating think that a “bad boy” will contribute 41% to caring the baby if they have one together whereas women ovulating think that the same man will contribute 51% to taking care of the baby if they have one together. ➢ Women have to make sure they are more attractive than any other women around them. ➢ One way women compete with each other is through the way they dress. They want to dress more fashionable and sexier when they’re ovulating. ➢ How courtship and competition can influence ❖ Ovulation and Mate Preferences ➢ Men in the singles bar were far more likely to initiate touching with women who were at the more fertile time of their cycle—around the times of ovulation ▪ Men are attracted to women who are ovulating ➢ Ovulating women also displayed more sexual signals via their clothing ❖ Origins of Human Nature ➢ Three theories: ▪ Creationism • A supreme being of some sort created all of life on this planet. From the very largest to the very smallest 2 o Creationism ▪ It cannot be scientifically verified ▪ It has not been ▪ It has not been proved useful by science ▪ Seeding • Life did not originate on earth o The seeds of life arrived earth via a meteorite o Another being came down to earth o Evolution by natural selection ▪ Seeding theory has not lead to any scientific discovery ▪ Seeding theory pushes away the cause or explanation of life • Doesn’t give us an idea how we started off as apes and turned into humans ▪ Evolution by natural selection • Viewed by most biologists as facts • Evidence is overwhelming to support it • Components of its operations o Natural selection itself has been able to study in laboratory 3 sessions and in the wild ▪ We have seen evolution happen • Leads us to believe that this is the theory we need to believe 1. J 2. We can use it for theories 3. It’s going to provide us with guidance a. We can use its application for psychology ❖ Products of Evolution ➢ Adaptations ▪ Inherited and reliably developing characteristics that came into existence through natural selection because they helped to solve problems of survival or reproduction better than alternative designs existing in the population during the period of their ovulation. • What triggers adaptations o Random mutations cause an adaptation to occur 4 o Environment can turn on and turn off certain genes o Adaptation can only survive if it proves beneficial to the species o To qualify as an adaptation, it has to emerge at a particular time in the organism’s life, o Adaptations do not have to appear at birth, they can come from a lot of different areas ▪ Environment interacting ▪ An event ▪ From birth • There has to be some categorical change in the genetic structure o Those features that are not beneficial are going to be passed on and the ones that are not will not be passed on ❖ Products of Evolution ➢ Adaptations ▪ Efficiency • The benefits have to outweigh the costs • Solving the problem in a proficient manner ▪ Economy • Solving the problem in a cost-effective manner ▪ Precision • The component parts are specialized for achieving a particular end ▪ Reliability 5 • Solves the problem dependably in context in which an organism encounters the adaptive problem • If it solves a problem, it needs to solve that problem every time it occurs o Giraffe with long necks evolved bc they need to solve the problem of acquiring its food, but if their long necks didn’t help them acquire their food then it is not reliable. ❖ Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness ➢ Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA) ▪ The statistical composite of selection pressures that occurred during an adaptation’s period of evolution responsible for producing the adaptation • Every single adaptation that occurred happened because of its environment o Every environment for every adaptation is going to be distinct ▪ We have to look at various environmental factors that are contributing to the adaptation ▪ Adaptation does not happen at a specific time and at a specific place • We are talking about all the factors that caused adaptation to occur not about the time and place ➢ A particulate time span would be the time period of evolution not the time of Evolutionary Adaptedness ❖ Products of Evolution ➢ By-products ▪ Characteristics that do not solve adaptive problems and do not have functional design; they are “carried along” with characteristics that do have functional design because they happen to be coupled with those 6 adaptations • They don’t really do anything but they exist as a characteristic o E.x. a light bulb was designed to light things up, it adapts to illuminate. But a side effect is that it gives off heat yet the heat doesn’t do anything. o E.x. Belly buttons are not adaptations—they are not good for catching prey or deterring predators. Rather, they are by-products of something that was an adaptation—the formerly functional umbilical cord by which a fetus obtained nutrients from its mother. ▪ bellybuttons- an umbilical cord is an adaptation it provides a functioning support for the fetus so it can help it grow and develop, but a side effect is that it causes an indentation in the stomach. It’s left over from the adaptation from the umbilical cord o E.x. Let’s say if our appendix was to develop but it caused a hole in our body, the hole doesn’t do anything, it’s just there. o E.x. If the sun is always in your eyes an you squint to see better so a byproduct will be wrinkles ➢ Noise ▪ Random effects produced by forces such as chance mutations, sudden and unprecedented changes in the environment, or chance effects during development • Sometimes harm the smooth functioning of an organism • Sometimes the effects are neutral • Sometimes they don’t have any effect on the adaptation o E.x. we had hurricanes in the last couple of weeks, hurricanes might have caused a significant decrease in the population of moths which might throw off their development, so there has to be some change that occurs to 7 help them survive. ▪ It’s not necessarily effecting what the adaptation is o E.x. we all have blonde hair and it helps us attract better mates. We all go to a convention but a hurricane comes and kills off most blonde-haired people. Now blonde hair isn’t really needed anymore so they go dye their hair brown. o E.x. an earthquake and it caused buildings to collapse and there was a particular kind of grey bird that helped them to blend in with the buildings so there will be some kind of change with the species which will help them survive in their new environment o E.x. moths in the glocopus islands were white but as time went on they got more and more brown. What was happening was that the environment was changing and they were adapting to it *An adaptation leads to a by-product* ❖ Levels of Evolutionary Analysis ➢ General Evolutionary Theory ➢ Middle-Level Evolutionary Theories ➢ Specific Evolutionary Hypotheses ❖ Figure 2.1: Levels of Evolutionary Analysis ➢ Theories are sets of interrelated assumptions ▪ Theory: you might have a theory that food effects emotional state ▪ Hypothesis: you might have a specific prediction that ice-cream helps you to turn happy. 8 ➢ Those genes that code for particular characteristics that won’t be beneficial to us will be weeded out ❖ We start from a very general theory we come down to a very specific prediction
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