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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC18H3
Professor
Michelle Hilscher

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Chapter 2 - evolution of emotions
Elements of an evolutionary approach to emotions
expression - Darwin - involuntary changes of face, voice, and posture that are
observable signs of an emotion
evolution - species developed by small modifications according to three principles
osuperabundance - production of more offspring than are needed merely to maintain
numbers of a population
ovariation - random production among offspring of variations that can be inherited
onatural selection - selection of certain traits because some variations enable
individuals to survive and reproduce better than others
selection pressures - features of the physical and social environment in which humans
evolved, that determined whether or not individuals survived and reproduced; threats or
opportunities directly related to physical survival
ointrasexual competition - occurs within a sex for access to mates; intense and
continual struggle; most pronounced among males
ointersexual competition - process by which one sex selects specific kinds of traits
in the other sex; preference women report for males of higher status
oevolutionary theorists - capacity to cooperate is powerful determinant of who
reproduces and who survives; more likely to succeed at endeavours when behaving
in cooperative fashion, mindful of others needs
adaptation - modification of characteristics of a biological organism to fit an
environmental niche
opreference for sweet tastes helps identify foods of nutritional value; plants contain
toxic compounds that deter predators - bitter-tasting and pungent-smelling
ohumans have evolved preferences for potential mates who show signs of fertility
and reproductive readiness; facial symmetry guides toward potential mates who
have been raised in healthy environments
osurvival of offspring in infancy; increases chances that genes will be passed from
one generation to the next
omany human traits serve no apparent evolutionary function and are thought of as
by-products; not all human traits emerged to meet survival and reproduction
related problems and opportunities (de novo)
oexaptation - trait that acquires new function
oAndrew - facial expression in primates were developed from reflexes; flatten their
ears when startled to protect the ears (raising eyebrows in humans)
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oEibl-Eibesfeldt - brief raising of the eyebrows, lasting a fraction of a second,
occurs when people approach one another during greeting and in flirting
ohuman universal - characteristics shared by all human beings
ogenetic variation - genes only influence human behaviour in relation to particular
environments; potentialities for behaviour
Emotions serve functions
influenced by theory of evolution; emotions functions in ways that increase the chances
of survival and reproduction; adaptations
rapid orientation to events in the environment - interrupt ongoing processes and direct
attention to significant threats and opportunities
organization - coordinate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, the different
muscle groups, and facial expression and experience; more adaptive response to events
in the environment
anger - more than facial expressions or patterns of neural activation; set of coordinated
responses that help restore just relations with others
embarrassment - more than blush or desire to hide; form of appeasement
compassion - more than lump in throat, inclination to help; enhances welfare of
vulnerable individuals
informative function of emotions - emotion-related feelings are informative of specific
social events or conditions that need to be acted upon; challenges assumption that
emotions have no rational basis
emotion-related physiology - emotions are states of readiness to act; autonomic
physiology associated with different emotions prepares for specific kinds of action; not
true for blushing, contentment, or amusement
communication - facial expression, voice, gaze, posture, and touch; coordinates social
interactions; current emotions, intentions, and dispositions; complementary and
reciprocal emotions in others that help individual respond to significant social events
Emotions are species-characteristic patterns of action
James - every object that excites an instinct excites an emotion as well
Lorenz - genetic basis of instincts are characteristic of species like anatomical features;
maternal care giving in greylag geese
ospecies-characteristic pattern (fixed action pattern) - extended pattern of goal-
directed behaviour acquired genetically and characteristic of a species; not at the
consciously accessible level; scripts
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