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Test #2 psych.docx

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Kathy Foxall

Genes Evolution and EnvironmentUnlocking The Secrets of Genes Evolutionary Psychology A field of psychology emphasizing evolutionary mechanisms that may help explain human commonalities in cognition development emotion social practices and other areas of behaviorBehavioral GeneticsAn interdisciplinary field of study concerned with the genetics bases of individual differences in behavior and personalityGenes The functional units of heredity they are composed of DNA and specify the structure of proteinsChromosomes Within every cell rodshaped structures that carry the genesDNA deoxyribonucleic acid The chromosomal molecule that transfers genetic characteristics by way of coded instructions for the structure of proteinsGenome The full set of genes in each cell of an organismEach human chromosome contains thousands of genes each with a fixed locationMany genes contribute directly to a particular trait but others work indirectly by switching other genes on or off throughout a persons life4 basic chemical elements of DNA adenine thymine cytosine and guanineJoseph Levine and David Suzuki compared identifying every single gene to searching for someone when all you know is that they live on the earthLinkage Studies these studies take advantage of the tendency of genes lying close together on a chromosome to be inherited together across generationsGenetic Marker A segment of DNA that varies among individuals has a known location on a chromosome and can function as a genetic landmark for a gene involved in a physical or mental conditionLinkage method used in the location of the Huntingtons disease geneThe Genetics of SimilarityEvolution and Natural Selection Evolution A change in gene frequencies within a population over many generations a mechanism by which genetically influenced characteristics of a population may changeThese developments account for changes within a species and when the changes are large enough they can result in the formation of new speciesMutation Changes in genes sometimes due to an error in the copying of the original DNA sequence during the division of the cells that produce sperm and eggsNatural Selection Evolutionary practice in which individuals with genetically influenced traits that are adaptive in a particular environment tend to survive and to reproduce in greater numbers as a result their traits become more common in the populationCharles Darwin wrote about it in the fate of these genetic variations depend on the environmentHowever this survival of the fittest account does not explain all the physical and behavioral traits that reflect a genes successSexual Selection the member of either the other sex or the same sex with which one is competing determines a genes fateIntersexual selection A member of one sex chooses a mate from the other sex on the basis of certain characteristicsIntrasexual Selection Members of the same sex compete for a partner of the other sexGeoffrey Miller thinks that a number of behaviors are the result of sexually selected psychological traits dating back to the Pleistocene epochTraits and PreferencesEvolutionary biologists often start with an observation about some characteristics and then try to account for it in evolutionary termsEvolutionary psychologists work in the same way as biologists but some take a slightly different track they start by asking what sorts of challenges human beings might have faced in their prehistoric past Then they draw inferences about the behavioral tendencies that might have been selected because they helped our forebears solve these survival problems and enhanced their reproductive fitnessMental ModulesHuman mind is not a generalpurpose computer waiting to be programmedMental Modules A collection of specialized and independent sections of the brain developed to handle specific survival problems such as the need to locate food or find a mateInnate Human Characteristics 1 Infant Reflexes example put something to their lips 2 An interest in Novelty Surprising interest in seeing something new 3 A Desire to Explore and Manipulate Objects Take things apart to scrutinize 4 An impulse to play and fool around5 Basic Cognitive Skills born with abilities to easily learn and interpret the expressions and gestures of othersA behavior that was adaptive is now maladaptive Example fruit is candyTwo particular areas of interest to evolutionary psychologists o The Development of Languageo The Nature of Mating Practices Around the WorldOur Human Heritage Language is an instinctive ability unique to human beings Charles Darwin
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