psyc18 chapter 2.doc

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22 Apr 2012
Elements of an evolutionary approach to emotions
The engine that drives evolution has three parts
Superabundance: animals and plants produce more offspring that necessary
merely to reproduce themselves
Variation: each offspring is somewhat different than others, and differences are
passed on by heredity
Natural selection: characteristics that allow the individual to be adapted to the
environment are selected for
At the core of natural selection are selection pressures
Some selection pressures involves threats or opportunities related to
physical survival
Intra-sexual competition – occurs within a sex for access to mate
Those traits, whether it be strength, beauty, cunning, emotional
intelligence, or humor, that allow some to prevail over other are
more likely to be passed on to succeeding generations
Inter-sexual competition – refers to the process by which one sex
selects specific kinds of traits in the other sex
Social status affects the amount of resources one has, and more
resources will benefit future offspring
- Men preference for youth and beauty because many of the cues of
youth and beauty are physical signs of optimal reproductive age
Recently evolutionary theorists have proposed that our capacity to
cooperate is a powerful determinant of who reproduces and who
- We reproduce, raise offspring, avoid predation, gather food, and
stay warm, in relationships with other people
Adaptations, are genetically based traits that allows the organism to respond
well to specific selection pressures, and to survive and reproduce
Women are particular sensitive to bitter taste and smells during first
trimester of pregnancy
Overwhelms the many costs of raising children, and increases the
chances that genes will be passed from one generation to the next
- not all human trait or behaviors are adaptations, snoring, nervous leg
jiggles, serve no apparent evolutionary function and are better thoughts
of as by-products
- Evolution is a tinkerer, and often endows old anatomical and
behavioral features with new functions. A trait that acquires a new
function like this is called an exaptation
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