PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4.1: Evolutionary Psychology, Institute For Operations Research And The Management Sciences, List Of Compositions By Johann Sebastian Bach
This preview shows half of the first page. to view the full 3 pages of the document.
Prehistoric dangers and contemporary prejudices
EVOLUTIONARY PRESSURES AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSE
Evolutionary psychology as a tool for conceptual discovery
Characteristics of evolved psychological processes
- In general, people have the capacity to experience fear when they perceive information
indicating the proximity of some imminent danger.
- There are vast individual differences in fear responses that result from the many additional,
more proximal, influences on individual information processing.
- These influences include additional biological processes that promote genetic diversity within
human populations, as well as the effects of local environments and social learning processes.
- Evolved psychological processes are highly flexible.
o Most of these processes provide for the capacity to respond in specific ways to specific
categories of perceptual input.
o Thus, the evolved mechanisms underlying fear provide the capacity for a fear response
to be triggered in response to specific perceptual cues (such as an unexpected loud
noise) that appear to indicate the proximity of some imminent danger.
- While there may be an evolved, pan-human tendency to respond with fear to cues connoting
imminent danger, individuals must learn many of the specific stimulus cues that connote danger
- The engagement of adaptive responses often conforms loosely to some sort of implicit cost –
benefit analysis (if cues indicate the presence of some dangerous thing, then the costs
associated with a fear response are likely to be outweighed by the benefits), but this does not
mean that they are engaged only after rational consideration.
- Because evolved psychological mechanisms are responsive to information that informs an
implicit cost – benefit analysis, the strength of association between eliciting stimulus and
adaptive response may be moderated by additional ‘‘background’’ variables that bear on that
implicit—and fallible—cost – benefit analysis.
- Individuals who are generally more fearful and wary of danger— for whatever reason—are likely
to have a lower threshold for the ‘‘triggering’’ of the evolved mechanisms whereby fear is
elicited in response to some perceptual cue (such as a loud noise).
- Many evolutionary psychological theories yield hypotheses implying relations between specific
individual difference variables and the strength of specific psychological responses
- A fearful reaction to loud noises, for example, is especially pronounced under conditions of
ambient darkness, a contextual cue that heuristically connotes vulnerability to harm
EVOLUTIONARY MODELS OF CONTEMPORARY PREJUDICE PROCESSES
- Certain prejudicial ways of thinking and acting may have conferred adaptive benefits within
ancestral environments, and now those prejudicial ways of thinking and acting may persist.
- Prejudices that appear identical in terms of overall evaluative valence are in fact qualitatively
distinct in predictable ways.
- 2 specific evolutionarily informed models of prejudice processes:
o One of these processes focuses on vulnerability to physical injury.
o The other focuses on vulnerability to disease.
You're Reading a Preview
Unlock to view full version