PSYC18H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Greylag Goose, Supernormal Stimulus, Facial Symmetry

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Published on 23 Jun 2011
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Chapter 2 - evolution of emotions
Elements of an evolutionary approach to emotions
expression - Darwin - involuntary changes of face, voice, and posture that are
observable signs of an emotion
evolution - species developed by small modifications according to three principles
osuperabundance - production of more offspring than are needed merely to maintain
numbers of a population
ovariation - random production among offspring of variations that can be inherited
onatural selection - selection of certain traits because some variations enable
individuals to survive and reproduce better than others
selection pressures - features of the physical and social environment in which humans
evolved, that determined whether or not individuals survived and reproduced; threats or
opportunities directly related to physical survival
ointrasexual competition - occurs within a sex for access to mates; intense and
continual struggle; most pronounced among males
ointersexual competition - process by which one sex selects specific kinds of traits
in the other sex; preference women report for males of higher status
oevolutionary theorists - capacity to cooperate is powerful determinant of who
reproduces and who survives; more likely to succeed at endeavours when behaving
in cooperative fashion, mindful of others needs
adaptation - modification of characteristics of a biological organism to fit an
environmental niche
opreference for sweet tastes helps identify foods of nutritional value; plants contain
toxic compounds that deter predators - bitter-tasting and pungent-smelling
ohumans have evolved preferences for potential mates who show signs of fertility
and reproductive readiness; facial symmetry guides toward potential mates who
have been raised in healthy environments
osurvival of offspring in infancy; increases chances that genes will be passed from
one generation to the next
omany human traits serve no apparent evolutionary function and are thought of as
by-products; not all human traits emerged to meet survival and reproduction
related problems and opportunities (de novo)
oexaptation - trait that acquires new function
oAndrew - facial expression in primates were developed from reflexes; flatten their
ears when startled to protect the ears (raising eyebrows in humans)
oEibl-Eibesfeldt - brief raising of the eyebrows, lasting a fraction of a second,
occurs when people approach one another during greeting and in flirting
ohuman universal - characteristics shared by all human beings
ogenetic variation - genes only influence human behaviour in relation to particular
environments; potentialities for behaviour
Emotions serve functions
influenced by theory of evolution; emotions functions in ways that increase the chances
of survival and reproduction; adaptations
rapid orientation to events in the environment - interrupt ongoing processes and direct
attention to significant threats and opportunities
organization - coordinate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, the different
muscle groups, and facial expression and experience; more adaptive response to events
in the environment
anger - more than facial expressions or patterns of neural activation; set of coordinated
responses that help restore just relations with others
embarrassment - more than blush or desire to hide; form of appeasement
compassion - more than lump in throat, inclination to help; enhances welfare of
vulnerable individuals
informative function of emotions - emotion-related feelings are informative of specific
social events or conditions that need to be acted upon; challenges assumption that
emotions have no rational basis
emotion-related physiology - emotions are states of readiness to act; autonomic
physiology associated with different emotions prepares for specific kinds of action; not
true for blushing, contentment, or amusement
communication - facial expression, voice, gaze, posture, and touch; coordinates social
interactions; current emotions, intentions, and dispositions; complementary and
reciprocal emotions in others that help individual respond to significant social events
Emotions are species-characteristic patterns of action
James - every object that excites an instinct excites an emotion as well
Lorenz - genetic basis of instincts are characteristic of species like anatomical features;
maternal care giving in greylag geese
ospecies-characteristic pattern (fixed action pattern) - extended pattern of goal-
directed behaviour acquired genetically and characteristic of a species; not at the
consciously accessible level; scripts
operceptual pattern (innate releaser or sign stimulus) - unnatural stimulus does
better than a natural one (super-normal stimulus)
omotivational - without this, action pattern does not occur
empirical research - start-up features programmed by genes; having biological bases
that include patterns of autonomic and central nervous activity, recognizable facial
expression, particular gestures, and specific vocal tones; should be universal; found in
similar forms in all cultures
Origins of human emotions
environment of evolutionary adaptedness - hypothetical environment, probably of
nomadic scavenging and gathering in small social groups, to which evolution human
beings were fitted during most of the past six million years
osocial lives of our living primate relatives - anatomical and behavioural
correspondences provide qualitative indications; analyses of proteins,
immunological reactions, and genetic material have allowed quantitative estimates
Goodall - documented chimpanzee emotions and emotional displays
De Waal - how primates reconcile following conflicts, how they share food,
and how they come to the aid of other chimps in distress
care giving - intensely distressed when other group members are harmed;
take care of vulnerable individuals
hierarchical social life - enable group members to decide how to allocate
resources; alpha male wins his position by defeating previous holder; defend
their positions or challenge to rise in the hierarchy; share with other chimps
who had shared with them
cooperation - food and peace-making are frequent and sophisticated;
reconcile following encounters; previous antagonists were more likely to
remain in physical proximity with one another, and they would engage in
ritualized reconciliation behaviours
sexuality - promiscuous; copulate several dozen times a day with all or most
males of her social group; may go off with a single male; Bonobos (pygmy
chimpanzees) - less aggressive; social lives revolve around sex; olive baboons
- female multiple males
oevidence of human ancestry - 15% difference between male and female was
reached 1.9 million years ago; associated with a form of social organization where
males compete for access to females