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Chapter 2

PSYC18H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Social Status, Keith Stanovich, Orbitofrontal Cortex

Course Code
G Cupchik

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Chapter 2 – Evolution of Emotions
Evolution: the theory of how species developed, has become the central concept of biology
Darwin stated the similarity of human emotional expressions to those of other animals
Elements of Evolutionary Approach
Darwin described evolution as three processes
1. Superabundance: animals and plants produce more offspring than are necessary merely
to reproduce themselves
2. Variation: each offspring is somewhat different than others and differences are passed
on by hereditary
3. Selection: characteristics that allow better adaptation to the environment are selected
because they enable survival so they’re passed on
Selection Processes
Core of natural selection are selection pressures
Involve threats or opportunities directly related to physical survival
Two kinds of sexual selection pressures determine who reproduces:
Intersexual competition: process by which one sex selects specific kinds of traits in the
other sex
Intrasexual competition: competition for maters within a sex
Nesse argued that fitness (the likelihood of surviving and reproducing successfully) is increased
for those who are preferred by others as social partners in the same way that fitness is
increased for those preferred as sexual partners
We are ultra-social species, one whose chances of survival rest upon evolutionary
influenced capacities to form strong relationships
Adaptations are genetically based traits that allow the organism to cope well with specific
selection pressures and to survive and reproduce
Need to pick mates that won’t just pass off unhealthy offspring, solutions are created:
Symmetrical over asymmetrical faces: exposure to parasites early in development is
associated with facial asymmetry and, in more extreme cases, disfiguration
oTsukiura/Cabeza – fMRI studies found that activity in the medial orbitofrontal
cortex, a region involved in the processing of rewards, was increased both by
attractiveness and ratings of goodness in an action

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oOur preferences for beautiful people are bolstered by inferences that they are of
good character – both tendencies leading us to attempt to reproduce with people
with better genes
Women report attraction to men of higher status, who have more resources – because
women end up having to devote more to childbearing
Men like to pick women are both healthy and are of optimal child-bearing age
oSmall waist to hip ratio
Men’s experience of attraction also more readily seems to track their physical responses to
sexual images.
Women are also aroused but don’t always report that they were aroused mentally when
they were aroused physiologically – may be because they are more choosy, so less
likely to just act on physiological response
Human babies are very weak – evolutionary theorists have argued that our responses to baby-
like cues ensure that parents help reach the age of viability
The depth with which people often love their children is remarkable, and this is due to
natural selection
Not all human traits or behaviours are adaptions – some, like snoring, serve no apparent
evolutionary function and are better thought as by-products. Often old anatomical and
behavioural features are given new functions – this is called exapatation
Many animals have a reflex in which they flatten their ears when they’re startled – the
original function was to protect the ears – now, makes them look friendly. This has the
dual use of being easily recognized by others.
Humans also have something like this – we raise our eyebrows for flirting and looking
friendly, but may have come from looking startled originally
Natural Design for Gene Replication
Humans have about 25 000 genes – modern evolutionary genetics has taught us that our genes
pass themselves onto the next generation. Their main property – to reproduce themselves.
The genes are not ours. Our bodies are just carriers
Following from Richard Dawkings – Keith Stanovich says that humans are really only robots,
working as genes’ carriers
Medicine and technology promote the continuation of genes so we are good robots
The selfish genes – we want to make sure that our own genes continue. It doesn’t mean
that we are necessarily selfish – our socially based adaptation (helps the genes survive)
involves us being decent to each other and even altruistic
How do genes program us? Principal way is through our emotions.

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Fear  we protect ourselves by avoiding dangers
Problem: in some instances, our genes program our emotions so closely that when certain
events occur, we respond in reflex.
Jumping back from danger, is something passed down from our ancestors
Programming of our emotions and desires by our genes has a range.
One end is the peremptory – the reflex
Middle are emotions like anger and some kinds of fear, which are sometimes compelling
but we can sometimes modify
Other end, attractions and urges that our culture, or we ourselves, can modify
Unconscious effects: outside our immediate will and occurring for reasons about which we can
find it difficult to reason – can affect us as emotional biases, impulses, and instinctual urges
Three Social Motivations and One Antisocial Motivation
We humans are social – hypersocial
Three social motivations and one antisocial motivations are adaptations
Conceived by John Bowlby who joined his research on children separated from their parents
with the theory of imprinting
Recognition pattern is not closely specified if no real mother appears, characteristics of
the first plausible moving object are learned instead
Attachment can be thought of as a human form of imprinting – its function is to protect and care
for the infant.
The infant and caregiver cooperate to allow the infant to thrive
Attachment keeps the mother close by, or ready to be summoned by crying – the mother
is a secure base
oWhen the baby begins to explore, it knows/trusts that it can come back to its
mother. Trust = confidence that one is safe and will continue to be safe
Ainsworth – discerned a set of behaviour patterns that young children showed when they were
with their mothers but not show with anyone else. When the mother is present, there is a sense
of security and a certain set of behaviours is produced  keeps the mother close
Affectional bonds: attachment relationship of infancy creates a template for all later intimate
Social motivation
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