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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Notes

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Marc A Fournier

Chapter 2Evolution and Human Nature Contemporary scientific understanding of human nature focus on human evolutionlike all living organisms human beings have evolved to survive and reproduce Those features of human adaptation that have indeed promoted survival and reproduction are ipso facto what human nature is fundamentally aboutON HUMAN NATURE OUR EVOLUTION HERITAGEPRINCIPLES OF EVOLUTION A fundamental property of living things is that they propagateall animals and plants produce similar versions of themselves in one way or another making for this continuity of life from one generation to the next The key to evolution over time is natural selection a process whereby nature gradually selects those characteristic of organisms that promote survival and reproductive success Nature selects and causes to persist the most adaptive characteristics in a species Today we know that genes are responsible for the inheritance of characteristics In a literal sense it is the genes not the organisms themselves that are replicated Persons are designed to engage in behaviours that ultimately make for the replication of the genes that determine their design There are two different ways that person can promote the likelihood of replicating the first and more obvious is to generate and promote ones own biological offspring The second and less obvious is to promote the reproduction and wellbeing of those individuals who are the same genes helping raise ones sisters childrenAn organisms inclusive fitness of its overall total inclusive ability to maximize the replication of the genes that designed it Part of that total is the organisms own reproductive success but also the reproductive success of close relatives with whom the organism shares genes THE ENVIRONMENT OF EVOLUTIONARY ADAPTNESS The period in which human beings emerged and evolved to their current form spans at least the past 2 million years and geologists calls this period the Pleistocene epoch of earth history 16 million years ago up to 10000 years ago marking the end of the last ice age Although evolution never ends a greal deal of what makes human distinctely human evolved to adapt to life in the PleistoceneEnvironment of evolutionary adaptedness EEA is what the humans lived in the Pleistocene world Our Pleistocene ancestors lived as foragers and they needed to move from one region to another seeking out the best geographic areas for gathering food Humans lived in groups and this gave it many advantagesbetter defend themselves and etc Humans have been designed by natural selection to want to be together ing groups Wilson 1978 argues that each of these universal patterns can be traced back to hunting and gathering societies in which they promoted individual survival and reproductionTHE ADAPTIVE MIND
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