Psy155 Lecture #4 Notes: Cognitive Adaptations for Social Exchange

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PSY 155
Leda Cosmides

Heritability Where does the Watson confusion come from? • Confusing two separate questions: 1. What’s the universal, evolved architecture that we all share by virtue of being humans? 2. Given a large population of people, to what extent can differences between these people be accounted for by differences in their genes? (Questions the source of variation) ▪ Heritability statistic - is only about differences (about variance in a population) ▪ Heritability = Vgenes / ( Vgenes + Venvironment - Vg-e) ▪ Imagine if five pairs of identical twins are reared apart. The were originally born in a hunter gatherer group in Botswana. Suppose we kidnap one of each of the kids and raise them in California. People from Botswana aren’t near sighted. We’re testing their eye sight. Some genotypes will autocorrect and cause near-sightedness in the Californias, while other genotypes buffer against this. SO even though they have the same genotype, their • Heritability of a trait always relative to a particular populationAND a particular environment ◦ IT TELLS YOU NOTHINGABOUT HOW EASY OR DIFFICULT IT IS TO CHANGEATRAIT ◦ Heritability (h) was different in Botswana and CA even though they had identical sets of genotypes ◦ h of eyesight was high in CA. Does this mean eyesight isn’t changeable? NO - think of glasses, laser surgery, etc. To change, we need to know optics and how the eye works: the structure of the mechanism (NOT the heritability. Heritability is irrelevant) • Number of legs are inherited. There is a difference in number of legs (due to car accidents, etc.), BUT the number of variation DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN THEIR GENES is very low. ◦ Similarly, the heritability in having a heart is ZERO, because there is no genetic coding for not having a heart. However, there are aspects of your heart that can have variability such as the color of your heart because nature doesn’t really get affected by the color of your heart. ◦ ANOTHER EXAMPLE: there is low/no heritability for having a stomach, but there is high heritability for the acidity of your stomach or the shape of your stomach because nature doesn’t care. • Heritability doesn’t apply
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