Study Guides (299,441)
CA (140,952)
York (11,259)
HREQ (91)
cola (1)
Final

HREQ 4165 Study Guide - Final Guide: Prosocial Behavior, Cesare Lombroso, Human Nature

10 pages55 viewsFall 2014

Department
Human Rights and Equity Studies
Course Code
HREQ 4165
Professor
cola
Study Guide
Final

This preview shows pages 1-3. to view the full 10 pages of the document.
Humans as Social Beings & The Question of Human Nature
Human nature as the main behaviors that define human beings
Common assumptions & taken for granted beliefs:
Society is merely a reflection of human nature – does not take into account influences of culture, politics,
economics
Assumptions made about human nature can have implications for the decisions made by those in power
(who is inferior/superior and on what basis (race, religion, sexuality)
Human nature is the result of a combination of factors
Humans are embodied beings but we are not solely defined by our bodies and our biology –
psychology and culture are elements beyond the body that give human nature its content
Humans = embodied form + meaningful content; each impart influence on another and cannot be
separated
Ex: many forms of sexuality, choose to be sexual; no distinct male/female gender – variations that
produced intersexed people – degrees of physical form & personal identity characteristics
The problem of making universal claims about human nature:
While there may be some universal aspects that form every human being, there are wide divergences
(capacity to kill or not).
Do humans have “killer instincts?”
Human history – perpetual violence + war; inherently negative and destructive
However, when war is contemplated, people protest; peace and order has prevailed over warfare
What about PTSD?
Commanders struggle getting soldiers to kill enemies
Soldiers end up psychologically traumatized
If humans had a killer instinct would they be so traumatized by having killed others?
Do humans have a tendency towards peaceful cooperation?
Success of human species based on forming social/ cooperative groups & social bonds; social beings
heavily dependent on each other for survival and well being
If more dominated by competition, aggression, destruction, would have died out as a species long ago
The Seville Statement on Violence
1986 – Scientists convened to formulate statement dispelling myths on violence & human nature:
It is scientifically incorrect to say that:
1. we have inherited a tendency to make war from our animal ancestors
2. war is genetically programmed into our human nature
3. in the course of human evolution there has been a selection for aggressive behavior
4. that humans have a violent brain
5. war is caused by instinct or any single motivation
Problem of biological determinism – from Lombroso to contemporary genetics and evolutionary
biology:
19th century; classify living things based on observable bio characteristics
Explains human behavior from personality to intelligence by identifying aspects of biology, physiology and
genetics
Personality, temperament and criminal behaviour rooted in physiological characteristics (shape of human
skull- craniology, phrenology)
Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) – identify whether person was a criminal by shape of forehead and
bushiness of eyebrows
Rise of anthropometry - the measurement of the human physical anatomy; (body shape & measurement of
sex organs to determine ‘savage inferiority’)
Perpetuate stereotypical ideas about body types and people’s appearances
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Only half of the first page are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Distinguish human races influenced by Charles Darwin (1809-1882); racial inferiority to justify slavery &
colonialism part of early expansion of capitalist economy
Biological Determinism - the idea that biology (bio factors) exercises the primary influence on human
social life and actually determines human nature (genetics, hormones, evolution)
Two types of contemporary versions Sociobiology & Evolutionary Psychology – accentuates the human
capacity to kill; destructive activities as normal & inevitable
Apply basic principles of natural selection in animal species to ‘human animal’
Disregards sociological view that humans are unique – most social of all animals – create realities thru
culture & complex language
Tendency to animalize the human causes us to overlook unique qualities
Claims human violence is predetermined, instinctual, expression of innate human nature
Normalizes violence & aggression
Deflects attention away from non-biological causes of war – institutions – obedience, suggestibility, idealism
Social Darwinism: An ideology that is used to justify social inequality as a selection process by natural laws,
where the poor are poor because they are weak and the rich are rich because they are smarter, or more fit.
-Evolution – process whereby living organisms exist in relation to their lived environments; produce
offspring and adapt to and succeed within env or fail and die off as a species
-Adaptation occurs thru natural selection – indv better suited to surviving under condition will breed &
pass their genetic +physiological characteristics to offspring and for successive generations; genetic
potential to produce new traits in next generation so that species survives
The influence of culture makes human nature variable
Fragility of humans – humans most vulnerable and fragile of all animals; rely on social learning & caregiving
for years before we become self-reliant; no fixed complex behaviors, just flexible drive forces and intellectual
potentials
Evolution selected certain traits that allowed humans to survive and colonize the earth: brain power,
erect stance and free hands, flexible sexuality, complex verbal language, omnivores, long life-span
Competition is no more natural than co-operation; just as important for evolutionary success – i.e. algae live in
small organisms in ocean that provide half of O2 on earth
– Gene expression is not fixed –
Epigenetics – environmental factors directly affect the ways that genes express themselves in our biology. Ex:
although cancer is a disease that occurs because of mutated DNA of affected cells, it’s mostly caused by the
bodily intake of carcinogenic toxins which change the expression of genes; toxins trigger genes to cause
growth of cancerous cells.
Culture shapes biology and biology shapes culture
Cultural forms created the environmental context in which certain genes are selected or rejected in the
process of evolution
Ex: evolutionary thinkers speculate that humans of future will be biologically dependent on certain life
technologies because we will have spent a number of generations with technology
Nature and nurture cannot be separated – biology- Genetic predispositions that influence behavior &
temperaments (may be expressed bc of influences during fetal gestation – nutrition, climate, toxins,
exercise) + need for bonds
Do humans have instincts or drives? What is the scientific definition of instinct?
Misconception: humans have biological instincts that determine their behaviour
An instinct is an inborn complex pattern of behaviour that must normally exist in every member of a given
species and, because it is embodied in the genetic code, cannot be overcome by force of will
-Complex, sequential stimulus-response patterns (different from a reflex)
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Only half of the first page are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

“Maternal instinct” – relationship between mother and child is one based on love, nurturing and caring for the
child
-Protecting child from harm is complex behavior but it is not demonstrated by all mothers and it can be
overcome by force of will (harm, abandon, kill, choose not to have children)
“Survival instinct” – how to account for rates of suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism?
Animal behaviour is guided by instincts and humans are guided by culture
Sexuality, love, eating, empathy, sociability, language, cooperation, competition, tribalism, facial exp, emotion
The elements of human nature are emotionally charged complex patterns of behavior that are rooted in
human desire which come from biological and psychological drive forces
Unlike instincts, which are fixed, drives are flexible and their expression can vary depending on the
individual and cultural expression
Humans also have free will and self-determination; world ruled by instincts would be a system of total
order with no deviant behavior
In many mammals, we see the operation of instinctive behavior mixed with socially learned behaviors
(i.e. lion’s instinct to kill a gazelle can be modified over time if the two are raised together as babies)
Some complex behaviors we would refer to as instincts need to be coaxed to come into expression =
behavioral potentials
i.e. human capacity for language; innate potential, but child must be taught language early in life;
formation of syntax impossible after 6 yrs. when language centers of the brain close off to further
development
birds make nests and bees make hives because they have an instinct to do so-do not have to be taught
(fish reptiles, insects)
higher mammals (dolphins, whales, apes, canines, elephants) and many birds display behavior that is
learned from their own kind; cultural; passed on from parent to young during socialization
The larger the cortex of the brain the less there is reliance on instinct as the basis of behaviour
Social animals learn adaptive behaviors via social learning which includes imitation and mimicry
Whereas humans pass on their cultural behaviors thru language and communication
Socio-biological view of enculturation asserts that it is something that develops in conflict with deep
instincts – successful enculturation involves the taming of instincts that remain active even if subdued
Socialization is a social learning process whereby a person acquires a ‘sense of self’, life-knowledge and
social skills. It takes place through a process of interaction with other social beings. We become human
through the process of interacting with others.
John Bowlby (1907-1990)
Experimentation and development of attachment theory
Babies develop strong attachment bonds to caregivers and a breaking of this bond causes distress and
trauma for the child in the form of separation anxiety.
Children develop a sense of security from the bonds (without it, emotional problems likely to occur later on)
Fredrick Harlow (1905-1981)
Research indicated importance of social bond
Conducted experiments with rhesus monkeys (mammals; need to be taught social behaviour)
What behaviors would arise if infant monkeys were raised in isolation from real mothers? Placed in 2
groups:
One group with surrogate wire mothers and a bottle of food and another group with soft cloth surrogate
mothers and no food
Infant monkeys preferred cloth surrogate even though it offered no food; need for closeness and nurturing
is more powerful than the need for food
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version


Loved by over 2.2 million students

Over 90% improved by at least one letter grade.