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Chapter 3

Intro Psych Chapter 3.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC-1000
Professor
Mike Lee
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 3: Evolution, Genes, and Environment Nature versus Nurture -Traditionally an either/or argument  Nativism-genetic determinism; innate and inborn.  Empiricism- environmental determinism; blank slate, learning -"Geniuses and idiots are born, not made"- Sir France Gallman Vs. -"Everyone is born with the same potential". Nature and Nurture  Today, more focus on interaction of nature and nurture to explain human 'nature'. o Epigenetic- "on" or "over" the genetic information encoded in the DNA--> could turn a gene on or off. "Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse."-Nature Neuroscience, 2009. o Behavioural Genetics.  Differences (individual variation).  Identical twins raised together or apart. Adoptees can be compared to biological parents. "Heredity deal the cards; environment plays the hand." -Charles L. Brewer (1990).  Behavioural Genetics  Differences (individual variation)  identical twins raised together or apart  Adoptees “Heredity deals the cards; environment plays the hand.” ~Psychologist Charles L. Brewer (1990)  Evolutionary Psychology o Commonalities (human universals) o Evolutionary Biology + Cognitive Psychology o Goal is to understand the human mind/brain from an evolutionary perspective o The design of the mind must have been shaped by natural selection (including sexual selection) Evolutionary Psychology  Evolutionary psychologists propose that humans evolved tendencies to think, feel, and behave in certain ways, and not others because of adaptations.  Our mental lives and behavior reflect the evolutionary history of our species, particularly the adaptive problems that had to be solved such as avoiding predators, eating the right food, attractive mates, forming alliances, and "reading other people's minds".  The human mind consists of a set of domain-specific information processing modules. Evolutionary psychologists argue that there are very many (hundreds? Thousands?)of specialized modules in the human mind. o Ex. Paternal love as obligatory parental investment o genes for fathering motivation became “standard equipment” in the genetic complement of human males, just like genes code for facial hair in males. Still, there is variation across males (behavioral genetics).  Evolutionary adaptations are general and flexible o e.g., we have not evolved to understand specific languages, such as French or English, but rather…  Not all human abilities evolved via natural selection o your ability to read  3 characteristics of evolved adaptations: o adaptive, heritable, and universal Human Evolution  innate human characteristics  Attraction to novelty  Desire to explore  ‘baby math’  but…many aspects of human behavior that probably reflect evolutionary adaptations but do not increase survival and reproduction in contemporary environments  infant reflexes  Some are evolutionary carry-overs that no longer have any apparent survival value. o Swimming reflex o Moro reflex o Babinski  fats and sugars - evolved tastes  Backfires in contemporary environments Mismatch Theory  Have to consider the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) - environments in which a species’ evolutionary adaptations were selected  in which our ancestors lived for millions of years prior to the rise of agriculture  The Pleistocene period: 2 million – 10,000 years ago  Compare this with modern environments to explain maladaptive behavior today  Modern human brain consists of modules from the past Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection  3 major principles: 1. heredity o characteristics are passed from one generation to the next 2. variability o characteristics vary across members of a species o some individuals will be more successful in their environment than others o demand for resources produces selective pressure 3. natural selection (“survival of the fittest”) o how species change, or evolve, over time o only those members of a species able to compete successfully for limited resources will survive and reproduce Sexual Selection Darwin’s second “major” book: 1871 On the Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex -Darwin needed a theory to explain the many extravagant traits that seem to reduce survival (e.g. the peacock’s tail). There are two types: 1. Intrasexual selection (ex. Two males fighting) 2. Intersexual selection (ex. A female choosing the strongest male) The Case of Sex  Evolutionary/Sociobiological view: love as pair-bonding  Reproduction  Requires attraction to opposite sex  Romantic love is an adaptation  Men and women face different selection pressure
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