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Week 19 Exam Notes

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Queen's University
PSYC 100

EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY Natural Selection • Adaptive significance: effectiveness of behaviours that help organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions • Proximate causes: immediate environmental conditions that affect behaviour • Ultimate causes: evolutionary conditions that have slowly shaped the behaviour of a species over generations • Natural selection o Some members of a species produce more offspring than others o Individuals in a population show difference in heritable traits o The environment can only sustain so many individuals, this there is competition o Reproductive success: number of viable offspring produced by an individual, compared to the number of viable offspring produced by other member of the same species • Adaptions must: o Have a biological purpose o Operate the same in different cultures and over time o Have been related to reproductive success in the past o Not be able to explained for some other reason Common Misunderstandings: • Evolution has no predetermined plan/foresight • People are not more highly evolved than other animals • Characteristics produced by evolution are not morally good or bad • Characteristics that have been produced by evolution can have good, bad or neural effects today • All characteristics produced by evolution are often influenced by the environment • Genes cause organisms to act differently in different environmental contexts • Epigenetic modification: changes in cellular inheritance that can occur due to the environment Sociobiology • Parental investment: energy, time, risks, and resources that a parent spends in procreation and in the feeding, nurturing, and protecting of offspring o The sex that has the largest minimal parental investment has lower reproductive rate – this is why humans don’t have huge amounts of children o Not limited by access to the other sex o Sex that has the highest potential reproductive rate is under pressure to compete for access to other sex • Sexual selection o Epigamy: mating based on physical features and displayes o Intrasexual selection: competition between individuals of the same sex  Produces characteristics that
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