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Chapter 2

Chapter 2.docx

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Marc A Fournier

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Chapter 2 Evolution and Human Nature
- The study of persons must begin w/ human nature
- Contemporary scientific understandings of human nature focus on human evolution human beings have evolved
to survive and reproduce, these features of human adaptation that have promoted survival and reproduction are
when human nature is fundamentally human individuality
On Human Nature: Our Evolutionary Heritage
Principles of Evolution
- Fundamental property of living things is that they propagate all animals and plants produce similar version of
themselves making for continuity of life from one generation to the next
- Charles Darwin: all existing living forms have evolved over time in response to interactions w/ environments.
Facing limited enviro. Resources for survival and replication, organisms compete with one another, and the
“fittest” wins
- Natural Selection: Process where nature gradually selects those characteristics of organisms tat promote
survival and reproductive success certain characteristics promote survival & reproductive success
- Genes are responsible for inheritance of characteristics composed of DNA
- Sexual reproduction requires mix of parents’ genes – ½ from father and mother for adaptations (genes for
processing lactose)
-Persons are designed to engage in behaviours that ultimately make for the replicating of the genes that determine
the design
- 2 ways to increase likelihood of replication:
1. Promote one’s biological offspring
2. Promote the reproduction and wellbeing of those individual who share the same genes
- Organisms who participate in replicating genes that are designed in both direct (through one’s offspring) and
indirect (through offspring of kin)
- William Hamilton (1964) introduced inclusive fitness overall (total, inclusive) ability to maximize
replication of genes that designed it
Includes the results of organism’s own reproductive success and includes reproductive success of close
The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness
- Humans were finally defined to adapt to life in the Pleistocene
- Pleistocene world age called environment of evolutionary Adaptedness ancestors lived as foragers,
necessary to move form one region to another, pursuing prey and seeking out best areas
- Humans lived in groups better defence, looking out for one another, consolidating resources, human children
nurtured and raised hunters working together
- Most human activities for survival and reproductive success in EE were set w/I parameters of particular groups
of human beings
- Te greatest disadvantage of group life is that one is continuously surrounded by individual searching for the
same food and attracted to the same mates strife and competition, dominance, intertribe warfare
- Humans started sounding upright, built tools, sex and family
- Humans started forming cultures 0 shared commonalities *athletic sports, bodily adornment, cooperative labour,
courtship, dancing, education, etiquette, family feasting, folklore, food taboos, funeral rites, law, marriage,
medication, penal sanctions, personal name property rights, puberty customs, religious rituals, soul concepts, tool
making, weaving, attempt at weather control
- E.O Wilson (1978): Prevailing characteristics can be identified as modifications of biologically meaningful
institutions of hunter-gather bands and early tribal states
Feature 2.A: The Evolution of Religion 37-38
- Theory of mind: Basic understanding that other people have minds filled w/ desire and beliefs, and that
people act upon those desires and beliefs

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The Adapted Mind
- Human mind is what brain mainly does thinking, planning, wanting, feeling etc.
- Cognitive Niche outwit competition, refine strategies, communicating refinements via language, imagine
scenarios, develop plains rational thinking
- Mind can be organized in many different functional modules - cognitive, emotional and motivational mechanisms
targeted to solve problems in adaptations
- Buss (1991b) lists 8 classes of reproductive problems:
1. Successful Intrasexual competition: Must win out over competitors in gaining access to desirable
members so sex can occur
2. Mate Selection: Must select mates w/ greatest reproductive value to maximize opportunity for passing
their genes
3. Successful Conception: Must engage in social and sexual behaviours to be/fertilize mate
4. Mate Retention: Must retain mate, prevent other people, “long-term mating strategies” and NOT “brief,
opportunistic copulation”
5. Reciprocal Dyadic Alliance Formation: Must develop relationship w/ mate w/ certain degree of
cooperation and reciprocity
6. Coalition Building and Maintenance: Must cooperate w/ other whose interests are aligned w/ their own
7. Parental Care and Socialization: Must engage in action that ensure survival and reproductive success of
their offspring
8. Extraparental Kin Investment: Must sacrifice self-interests to promote survive and reproductive success
of nondescendeant genetic relatives
- To deal with problems, we formulate goal-directed tactic and strategies that aim to ensure survival and
reproductive success
- Distal/evolutionary reason for sex is to replicate genes but proximate/individual motivation is it feels good
- Distinction b/w proximate and distal is important for considering different strategies and tactic that men and
women may develop for sexual reproduction sex differences in domain where women and men face different
selection pressure and adaptive challenges men and women operate different strategies
- Men and women mate to produce offspring
- Men: impregnate as many women as possible
- Women: Invest great deal of time and energy for each birth = limited offspring = CHOOSY
- Evolutionary explanation for sex difference may not contradict or work against cultural and environmental
explanation: Proximate factors discourage female promiscuity 0 cultural double standard
- Natural selection operates on emotional and motivational mechanisms behind behaviour human desire
- Evolutionary explanations for differences in mating strategies are not moral justifications/rationalizations for sex
differences in sexual behaviour NO PROMISCUITY
- Consider evolutionary logic of sex differences in mating strategies speed males are fast. Females are slow
Men tend to be more promiscuous (i.e. homosexual men to lesbian women), less discriminating in choice of sexual
Men tend to get angry for refusal for sex, women are upset for insistent sex
Men want fertile young women, most likely to bear offspring
Females choose male of high social status, significant material resources
- Darwin’s theory that organisms compete with each other for limited reproductive resources females for youth
and beauty, physical appearance in competing w/ one another; men masculine dominance and status social
dominance, boasting accomplishments and future earning potential
- 1 motivating strategy for attracting romantic partner is expression of creativity display of creative powers
may serve to attract mates among human beings (i.e. artists are charming unique, like in Ancient Greece)
Study in 2006 showed interesting gender difference men tended to show higher levels of creativity in
response to stimuli designed to invoke either short- or long-term romantic involvements, women showed
in response to long-term committed mating scenarios
- Evolutionary theory suggests that overall sex differences should evolve only those domains in which such
differential selection most likely to occur = sexual reproduction
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