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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Notes.pdf

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PSYC 332
Richard Koestner

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PSYC332 - Chapter 2 Notes Evolution and Human Nature: • French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau described human nature as fundamentally innocent and good. We are noble and pure at birth, Rousseau suggested, though society may corrupt us thereafter • British philosopher John Locke have suggested that human nature is basically a blank slate. At birth, people are ready to be shaped into any form that their environments can produce • Contemporary scientific understandings of human nature focus on human evolution. We have evolved to survive and reproduce Principles of Evolution: • Fundamental property of living things is that they propagate According to Darwin, most “successful” systems are those that reproduce viable copies of themselves for the next “generation.” • Must meet demands of environment • Demands are many, including limited resources and challenges posed by other organisms • Key to evolution over time is natural selection, a process whereby nature gradually selects those characteristics of organisms that promote survival and reproductive success • We know today that genes are the key for the inheritance of characteristics • Richard Dawkins said that genes are selfish and only care about self-replication • Organisms can reproduce directly or indirectly An organism’s inclusive fitness is its overall ability to maximize the replication of the genes that designed it. It includes the • organism’s own reproductive success but also the reproductive success of close relatives, with whom the organism shares genes The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness: • Life on earth emerged roughly 3.5 billion years ago • 500 million years ago, life evolved beyond simple cells to produce multicellular organisms • Mammals originated roughly 200 million years ago with dinosaurs extinct about 60 million years ago • Humans entered the picture 2-4 million years ago in the heart of Africa during the Pleistocene epoch of earth history • Evolutionary psychologists called the Pleistocene world within which human beings lived and evolved the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) • Humans are naturally social creatures since it helps survival and we have an innate wanting for bonding with others (relationships, friendships, attachment) While our need for social companionship was a huge advantage, it was also a downfall where humans followed a hierarchy • system whereby the strongest lion would get the most food or shelter, thereby ensuring proper survival and reproduction • Different human groups developed different cultures but these all shared many commonalities, reflecting shared adaptive challenges in the EEA. This was necessary to promote individual survival and reproduction The Evolution of Religion - Feature 2.A: • Some scholars and scientists believe that religion itself is an evolutionary adaptation, that human beings evolved to be religious because religion confers advantages for inclusive fitness An alternative view is that religion may not be an evolutionary adaptation per se but rather a byproduct of other adaptations that • have proven useful over the course of human history • Religion may have played a vital role in enabling hunters and gatherers to live together in bands and tribes by sharing beliefs and feelings of kinship engendered by religion may have helped persuade individuals to subordinate their immediate self- interests to the interests of the group • Help cooperation to acquire resources and defend against dangers • Within personality psychology, Kirkpatrick argues that various aspects of religion are consistent with fundamental features of human nature that evolved to govern specific human relationships and how people think about people and about the world • God as a kind of parent who protects and nurtures His/Her people • Kirkpatrick argues that this feeling of attachment that many people experience vis-a-vis God derives from basic attachment bonds that infants experience from their caregivers • Religion may also be an accidental outgrowth of the natural ways in which people think about nature and about other people • Young children see inanimate and animate object. If inanimate and moves, there is an invisible force moving it, but for animate, it’s moving because it’s alive • By the time children are 4 years old, they have developed a theory of mind - a basic understanding that other people have minds filled with desires and beliefs, and that people act upon those desires and beliefs. Without theory of mind, people would have a very difficult time interacting with each other in social groups The Adapted Mind: • Stronger selective mutations in an organisms that would give it an advantage in their environment will pass on to future generations to a point whereby it would be a universal feature of the organism’s design • Humans survived in the EEA and were successful at reproduction was not because of our strength or size; rather it was because we were smarter • Pinker calls our human ability to outsmart and think/plan using our brain a cognitive niche in the evolutionary landscape • Although the goal of adaptation is reproductive success, the EEA presented human beings with a dizzying array of more particular tasks that had to be accomplished if the overall goal was to be achieved Fodor and other contemporary evolutionary psychologists believe that the mind is more like a collection of rather more • specialized subsystems or modules, each designed to address a particular adaptive task that humans faced in the EEA. The many different modules working in coordination gives the mind its flexibility and adaptive power • There were eight classes of reproductive problems listed by Buss: 1. Successful intrasexual competition - individual must win out over competitors for opposite sex 2. Mate selection - individual must select mates who have greatest reproductive value 3. Successful conception - individual must engage in necessary social and sexual behaviours to fertilize or be fertilized by a mate 4. Mate retention - individual must retain the mate, preventing the encroachment of intrasexual competitors as well as preventing the mate’s defection or desertion (does not apply to what Buss calls “brief, opportunistic copulation”) 5. Reciprocal dyadic alliance formation: individual must develop a relationship with the mate characterized by cooperation and reciprocity 6. Coalition building and maintenance - individual must cooperate with others whose interests are aligned with his or her own 7. Parental care and socialization - individual must engage in actions that ensure the survival and reproductive success of his or her own offspring 8. Extraparental kin investment - individual must sacrifice his or her own self-interest to promote the survival and reproductive success of non-descendant genetic relatives • Evolution has shaped sexual activity to be also enjoyable so that people will engage in it often, since not everytime intercourse is performed, conception will take place Distal (evolutionary) reason for human sexual activity is to replicate the genes, whereas the proximate (individual) motivation for • engaging in sexual activity is that it feels good Mating: Males are more inclined than females toward sexual promiscuity • • Proximate factors in the sense of society and culture makes it more acceptable for men to play around; American culture makes girls who sleep around to be slutty and guys to be cool • Secondly, natural selection often operates on the emotional and motivational mechanisms behind behaviour, rather than behaviour per se • Third, males can continuously copulate, while females require nine months to produce a child whilst pregnant • Older men want younger women since they are more fertile, hence why that’s another cultural stigma • In a study conducted by Buss and Barnes, they found that men placed major emphasis on a woman’s physical beauty (generally associated with youth), while women placed major emphasis on a man’s earning potential • Maybe this corresponds with Darwin’s idea that we fight for limited resources • In another study, women only put more emphasis in a situation where they thought it had to do with long-term commitment whereas the men put more emphasis on short-term commitment situations In conclusion, evolutionary theory suggests that overall sex differences should evolve only in those domains in which men and • women faced dramatically different selection pressures in the EEA Getting Along and Getting Ahead: Humans evolved to live in groups; social lifestyle • • The socioanalytic theory asserts that human beings are biologically predisposed to live in social groups that are variously organized into status hierarchies. Group living provided our evolutionary ancestors with advantages in cooperative ventures, such as defense against predictors Social behaviour is like an elaborate game, governed by rules and conventions, scripted into roles and routines, and mastered • by the most skillful game players among us • Role playing and impression management are unconscious, central, genetic tendencies for all human beings • Role playing and impression management are the major mechanisms through which we define who we are as social beings The distal evolutionary goal of life is to produce viable progeny so that genes can be passed down. To achieve this goal, the • person must first find a part to play, a social identity that specifies a recognized niche in the community • Hogan argues that the expected audience for a person’s self-presentational behaviours changes over time • In childhood, the family members are the most important audience Our ways of displaying the self to them come to comprise our character structure • • In adulthood, the audience broadens to many other groups and even society at large. The characteristic ways in which we display ourselves to this larger audience become our role structure • The earlier character structure does not go away; rather it lingers on as a set of unconscious rules for social interaction As in the EEA, we first learn how to get along and get ahead in the family. According to socioanalytic theory, these early • experiences produce an unconscious character structure that influences personality development and expression for the rest of life Some Women (And Men) Are Choosier Than Others: Sociosexuality • Simpson and Gangestad argue that, in is to some women’s fitness and human evolution, it is to some women’s advantage to be especially non-choosy. Similarly, some en may be naturally selected to adopt a more discriminating approach to sexual relations On one end of the spectrum, individu
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