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Chapter 2

PSYC18H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Homo Habilis, Jane Goodall, Social Skills

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G Cupchik

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PSYC18 Chapter 2 – Evolution of Emotions
- Darwin: Similarity of human emotional expressions to those of lower animals
Elements of an evolutionary approach to emotions
- Engine that drives evolution has three parts:
oSuper abundance: Animals and plants produce more offspring than necessary
oVariation: Each offspring is somewhat different than one another
oNatural Selection: Characteristics that allow individuals to adapt will survive
- Selection Pressures: Often related to physical survival, two kinds of sexual selection:
oIntrasexual competition: Access to mates, proving own worth
oIntersexual competition: Selecting mates, which one’s worthy
- Adaptation: genetically based traits that allow organism to respond well to specific
selection pressures
oE.g. Avoid toxins: distaste for bitterness, pregnancy sickness
oE.g. Find healthy mate: Facial symmetry as beautiful
oNot all traits have evolutionary reason
oA trait that acquires a new function is called exaptation
oA human universal
Emotions serve functions
- more typical to portray emotions as disruptive, and harmful influences resulting in
destructive behaviour, to be mastered by rational thought
- 1) Adaptation: Emotions enable rapid orientation to the events in the environment,
those who can sense threats is at an advantage to survive and reproduce
- 2) Organization: Emotions coordinate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems,
muscle groups, facial expression and experience
- Anger: restore just relations, Embarassment: Appeasement, Compassion: unyielding
inclination to help
- Why do we experience our emotional states as powerful and at times overwhelming?
oEmotion-related feelings are informative about specific social events or
conditions that need to be acted upon
- What about emotion-related physiology? Heart rate increase, blood flow, respiration,
oHowever, not true for certain physiological responses like blushing or just
feeling happy that does not seem to lead to an obvious action tendency
- What about communication?: The gaze, voice, posture, touch, etc
oEmotional expressions communicate information about current emotions,
intentions, etc.
Emotions are species-characteristic patterns of action
- Lorenz: Showed the genetic basis of instincts by showing that they are
characteristics of species (like anatomical features) E.g. Greylag geese
- Fixed action pattern (aka species-characteristic pattern)
o1) Goal-directed, outline scripts for important functions like maternal
caregiving, mating, aggressive conflict, etc.
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