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Chapter 2

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PSYC 333
Kelly Suchinsky

Pg 23-44, 21 pages Page 1 of7 Chapter 2: Theoretical Perspectives on Sexuality • Aristotle divided animals into 3 categories: sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction, spontaneous reproduction • Ovid wrote a 3-part book series on relationships for men to pursue and win women • Kama Sutra by a Hindu philosopher discusses practical advice for sexual activity, and guide to virtuous living discussing love, family life, and other aspects related to pleasure EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVES • Sociobiology: Application of evolutionary biology to understanding the social behaviour of all animals, including humans and sexual behaviour. • Evolution is the theory that all living things have acquired their present forms through gradual changes in their genetic endowment over successive generations, by producing healthy viable offspring. • Natural Selection: Process by which individuals who are best adapted to their environment are more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on their genes. Traits become more or less common in a population. o Individuals within species must vary slightly on various traits, e.g. height, food preferences o Heredity: these variations in traits are capable of being passed on through genes o Differential reproduction: circumstances favour certain traits over others • Characteristics used to judge physical attractiveness are indicative of health and vigour, and thus reproductive potential. Similarly, courtship rituals like money expenditure or dancing showcase financial abilities or physical prowess important to assessing fitness. • The nuclear family helps overcome obstacles of infant vulnerability and maternal death by creating a pair-bond between mother and father (so father provides resources and security) and attachment between infant and parent (so parents continue providing care). • Parental investment is the behaviour and resources invested in genetic offspring to ensure their survival. Fathers found to invest more money in current union’s genetic children than past union’s stepchildren; however, equal on current union’s genetic and stepchildren perhaps to cement pair-bond. • Men have physiological sexual arousal only to preferred partner, whereas women show arousal to preferred, non-preferred partners and even animals. This automatic or reflexive response to a range of sexual stimuli may help protect against injury during unwilling intercourse. • Sexual selection is selection that results from differences in traits affecting mate access. This includes competition for mating access, and preferential choice by members of one gender for the other. • Sociobiology has been criticized for biological determinism, and for an outmoded version of evolutionary theory that does not take into account complexity of group survival. The function of sex is not limited to reproduction. • Hip-to-waist ratio of 0.7 supposedly the universal standard for reproductive fitness calculated from Miss American contests is not evolutionarily supported; there was decline from 0.78 in 1921 to 0.64 in 1986, and this range of ratio most common only in societies where women are economically dependent on men. Videos • Why sexual reproduction? Sexual reproduction involves genetic contributions from two parents, while asexual reproduction is producing a copy of one parent. o Limits harmful mutations: Mutations cannot be removed in asexual reproduction with repeated copying; two parents are less likely to have the same harmful mutation o Red Queen Hypothesis: Host species constantly fighting against parasites, so having two parents allows development of new defenses Pg 23-44, 21 pages Page 2 of7 • Why only two sexes? Only two types of gametes due to natural selection, basis of sex differences o Sperm are small and require minimal effort to produce – but less viable, produce lots o Ovum are large and costly to produce – but more viable o Mid-sized gametes not selected for, eliminated from population • Gametes determine parental investment and maximum reproductive potential – maximum reproductive output, or number of offspring, an individual can produce. The two combined determine the best mating strategy Males Females Parental Investment Low (sperm) High (ovum, gestation, delivery, lactation) Max Reproductive High (many offspring) Low (few offspring) Potential Strategy Exploitative, competitive, increaseNurturing, choosy, increase partner number of partners to increase quality to make sure few offspring reproductive output are viable and successful Mixed Mating Strategy: Acquiring genes and resources from 2 different mates (cuckoldry) Characteristics Physical: Strength, weapons Genetic quality: Physical traits (e.g. Behavioural: Territory invasion, killcial symmetry), behavioural traits (e.g. social dominance) resident males Psychological: Indiscriminate Resource quality: Resource display mating preferences • These strategies are not conscious decisions. The naturalistic fallacy states that just because something exists, it does not mean it has an inherent value, or that it should exist – evolutionary theory tries to explain why a behaviour exists, not pass value judgements. • Consequences include relationships problems due to differences in sex drive, males concerned with controlling female sexuality (to reduce risks of cuckoldry from cheating), sexual violence Evolutionary Psychology • Evolutionary Psychology: Study of how natural selection has shaped psychological mechanisms and processes, such as cognitive and emotional structures, rather than sexual behaviour directly. • Sexual strategies are different strategies designed to solve different adaptive problems in short-term vs. long-term mating. • E.g. Choosing partner with immediate resources, vs. partner willing to provide resources for indefinite future. Or relaxing standards for a short-term partner among men, while women’s preferences change less. • Are there really differences between men and women? Seems like both prefer long-term mating strategies and few or no short-term partners. • As well, characteristics we observe may only be design flaws or side effects of other adaptations, and are based on assumptions about the ancestral environment. PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES • Psychological theories focus on the individual, while sociological theories focus on society Pg 23-44, 21 pages Page 3 of 7 Psychoanalytic Theory • Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud’s theory which assumes that part of human personality is unconscious. Libido is the term for sex drive or sex energy, one of the major forces motivating human behaviour. Id, Ego, and Superego • Id operates on the pleasure principle, and is the reservoir of the libido. Ego operates on the reality principle, keeping the id in line with realistic and rational forces. The superego is the conscience, containing the values and morals of society. • The id, ego, and superego develop sequentially – the id is instincts present as birth, while superego develops last Erogenous Zones • Erogenous zones are areas of the body that are particularly sensitive to stimulation, with touch producing feelings of pleasure; include lips and mouth, genitals, and anus. Stages of Psychosexual Development • At each stage of development, a different erogenous zone is the focus of pleasure. • Oral stage from birth to one year with pleasure derived from sucking and eating. • Anal stage from 1-2 years old with focus on elimination. • Phallic stage from 3-6 years with focus on genitals, deriving pleasure from masturbating. During this stage, the Oedipus complex and female equivalent (Electra complex) develop, where the child is attached to their opposite-sex parent, experiences castration anxiety or penis envy, and finally resolves this by identifying with their same-sex parent. • Latency lasts until adolescence, with sexual impulses repressed; this is not supported by modern sex research. • With puberty, sexual urges reawaken in the genital stage and fuse to promote the biological function of reproduction. The lack of maturation from one stage to another leads to fixation. Evaluation of Psychoanalytic Theory • Concepts difficult to be evaluated scientifically since forces are unconscious. Neuropsychoanalysis using brain imaging show that the prefrontal area typically constrains the limbic and postcortical regions; during REM sleep, however, there is a reduction in prefrontal activity (the ego?) and higher activity in the latter (the id?). • Data was derived from patients seeking therapy, may only represent disturbances in human personality • Feminist criticism of Freud’s assumption of penis envy (Horney coined womb envy), and distinction between vaginal and clitoral orgasm, and assertion that vaginal orgasm from heterosexual intercourse is more “mature”. • Modern psychoanalysts give more recognition to importance of environment and learning, such as Erikson. Object-relations theory describes relationships with caretakers as important. Learning Theory Classical Conditioning • Classical Conditioning: Learning process in which a previously neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with an unconditioned stimulus that reflexively elicits an unconditioned response. Eventually, the conditioned stimulus itself will evoke the response. • In terms of sexual behaviour, may associate a specific cologne or perfume with sexual activity, and experience sexual arousal when they smell it. Classical conditioning may also help explain fetishes. Operant Conditioning • Operant Conditioning: Process of changing the frequency of a behaviour (the operant) by following it with reinforcement or punishment. Pg 23-44, 21 pages Page 4 of 7 • Some rewards are primary reinforcers with something intrinsically rewarding about them, such as food or sex. • The consequences are most effective in shaping behaviour when they occur immediately after the behaviour – the longer the delay, the weaker the association. • Punishments are less effective at shaping behaviour than rewards – they may not eliminate the behaviour, but teach the person to engage in it without getting caught. • According to the learning theory, sexual behaviour can be learned and changed at any time in one’s lifespan, not just in early childhood. Behaviour Therapy • Behaviour Therapy is a set of techniques used to modify human behaviour based on classical or operant conditioning. • This may be used to m
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