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Chapter 3

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Human Mating Strategies, Psychological Adaptation, Parental Investment

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Alison Smith

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Lecture 3: The Brain
‘Evolutionary Theories in Psychology’
Sexual selection theory describes how evolution has shaped us to provide a mating
advantage rather than just a survival advantage and occurs through two distinct pathways:
intrasexual competition and intersexual selection.
Evolutionary psychology connects evolutionary principles with modern psychology and
focuses primarily on psychological adaptations: changes in the way we think in order to
improve our survival.
Two major evolutionary psychological theories: Sexual strategies theory describes the
psychology of human mating strategies and the ways in which women and men differ in
those strategies. Error management theory describes the evolution of biases in the way we
think about everything.
Evolution: certain traits and behaviors developing over time because they are advantageous
to our survival.
Basics of Evolutionary Theory
Reproductive success, not survival success, is the engine of evolution by natural selection.
Adaptation: traits and behaviors that evolved over time to increase our reproductive success.
The first class of adaptation-- survival adaptations: mechanisms that helped our ancestors
handle the “hostile forces of nature.” The second adaptationreproduction: help human
complete for mates and are described in an evolutionary theory proposed by Charles
Darwin, called sexual selection theory.
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Sexual Selection theory
The reason that the traits that only make animals less likely to survive still develop sexual
selection: the evolution of characteristics, not because of survival advantage, but because
of mating advantage.
Two processes of sexual selection: intrasexual competition and intersexual selection.
Intrasexual competition occurs when members of one sex compete against each other, and
the winner gets to mate with a member of the opposite sex. E.g. Male stages battle with heir
antlers, and the winners gain mating access to females.
Whatever qualities lead to success in intrasexual competition are then passed on with
greater frequency due to their association with greater mating success.
Intersexual selection is also called preferential mate choice. If members of one sex are
attracted to certain qualities in matessuch as brilliant plumage, signs of good health, or
even intelligencethose desired qualities get passed on in greater numbers, simply because
their possessors mate more often.
In all sexually-reproducing species, adaptations in both sexes exist due to survival selection
and sexual selection.
Gene Selection Theory
Genes that are better able to encourage the organism to reproduce, and thus replicate
themselves in the organism’s offspring, have an advantage over competing genes that are
less able.
Genes can boost their own replicative success in two basic ways: 1). Influence the odds for
survival and reproduction of the organism they are in. 2). Influence the organism to help
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