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Chapter 1

PSYCH 3F03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Behaviorism, Cognitive Dissonance, Polygyny Threshold Model

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David Feinberg

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Human Evolutionary psychology and animal behaviour
Martin Daly and Margo I. Wilson
- HEP = Human Evolutionary Psychology
What’s New
- Successful psychologists have always been adaptationists because the objects of their
interest are so clearly organized to achieve various ends
- Effective psychological scientists partition their subject matter into component processes
with putative functions and even the most mechanistic of proximate causal investigations
derives crucial guidance from assumptions about adaptive function
- Inherent adaptationism of psychological science is especially obvious in the study of
sensation and perception where proposed mechanisms and processes are labelled in
terms of the info processing problems that they solve
- Satisfactory functional partitioning of ‘higher’ mental phenomena has been more elusive,
but an adaptationist stance remains almost inescapable
- Even social psychologists have been adaptationists, repeatedly characterized proposed
mental processes in terms of putative functions
oExemplary hypotheses about the functions of social cognition have been that it is
organized to minimize ‘cognitive dissonance’ or to maintain some sort of
consistency or ‘balance’ in one’s beliefs and attitudes, to defend self esteem
oProposed intrapsychic functions are often arbitrary with demands of external
- Evolutionary psychoogists are convinced that the principled postulation and testing of
adaptationist hypotheses with explicit attention to how adaptations evolve is the remedy
that can rescue psychology’s functional theorizing from arbitrariness
- What is ‘new’ about HEP is simply its relentless application to human beings of the same
selectionist perspective that has been so successful in the study of animal behaviour
Is HEP the ordinary pursuit of animal behaviour research with a singular study animal?
- Is HEP just the ordinary pursuit of animal behaviour research, with one self-important
primate as the study animal?
oSeems to be the case in many research programmes
- Taking an approach or issue that has been developed in nonhuman sexual selection
research and applying it to the human case
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