DEVELOPMENTAL PSYC: WEEK 8 TXTBOOK 3/12/2013 12:16:00 PM
We are all mindreaders in a sense
Our way of thinking about mental states is prefixed by “maybe”
We can never be certain we know what we or others are thinking
Someone with mindblindness would not consider some behavior/action in
terms of any causal motive or reason, but rather would simply state about
possible temporal regularities. (e.g. maybe he does this action every day at
someone with MB finds behaviors/actions to be a mystery (even
though they associate a behavior without mental relation, but
rather just temporal consequence)
The mentalistic framework can also be called the “intentional” framework.
We cannot help but use this cuz it is in fact a consequence of our
MB ppl also may use “reinforcement schedule” explanations to explain
behavior (behaviorist approach)
Impossible for a MB person to imagine what it is like to be a mind-reader.
Impossible for a MR person to imagine being MB
o Both can be compared to the impossibility of imagining what
its like to be a bat (echolocation vs visual)
Attribution of mental states is our natural way of understanding the social
environment – attribution of the states is to humans as echolocation is to
Autistics are somewhat mindblind cuz they fail to develop the capacity to
mindread in the normal way.
Nicholas Humphrey: characterized humans as HOMO PSYCHOLOGICUS
Humans are born psychologists
Also stated that every language has an appropriate vocab for
talking about the objects of reflexive consciousness, and everyone
makes free use of this. Humans learn this before they are 3 years old.
Humphrey: the ability to see behavior in terms of mental states is innate
and is the result of a long evolution.
Earliest creatures, animals, though yes they have brains and what
not but they have no conscious awareness of their actions, and no
way of looking in upon their internal control mechanisms.
o This assumption is called the JUST SO story, as Humphrey
put it, and it was not tested scientifically but rather just was
Lastly, Humphrey stated that we mindread by using our own experience of
Introspection as a Simulation of another’s mental states.
Whatever universals psychologists investigate, whether that be language,
parenting, etc, it is usually linked to biological roots (innateness and natural
A psychological state is biological – meaning there is a specific process in the
brain that controls it.
A biological instinct – e.g. the language instinct
Example of something that’s not would be watching TV (it is not
inevitably universal, but many may share it)
Though there are 6000 languages, the basic drive to develop and use
language – the language capacity – is universal.
“Attachment theory” – infants strong drive to “attach” to adult caregiver..
adaptive for physical survival and well being.
Evolutionary psyc sees the brain as an organ that thru natural selection has
evolved adaptive problem solving techniques – Ev Psyc started by Darwin
Like a swiss army knife, our brain use specialized modules for the functions
they evolved to solve E.g. we don’t use the corkscrew part to cut thin materials (we use
the knife module for that function). Similarly, we do not use our
color-vision system to talk, or our language system to see color.
Ev Psyc aims to account for neurobiology, adaptive value, phyologenesis and
the ontogenesis of these mechanisms.
Individual differences AS WELL AS universals can be biological.
Also, just cuz something is biological does not mean it is innate.
There are claims that behaviors are innate, biological, and Modular… but
something can be innate but not modular for instance. They are separable
and need independent justification.
An adaptive problem is a “problem whose solution can affect reproduction,
The environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) is the environment to
which the mechanism was an adaptation. E.g. of a mechanism –
The period related to human evolution is in 2 phases
Pleistocene epoch (last 2 mil years, when humans were hunter-
Several hundred million years before that (man as foragers of one
kind or another)
o “They establish which set of environments and conditions
defined the adaptive problems the mind was shaped to cope
with” – PLEISTOCENE CONDITIONS, rather than modern
The brain has increased threefold in size in the 3mil years since
Australopithecus afarensis evolved, going from 400 cubic cm to currently
1350 cubic cm. Increase in brain size related to the need for greater “social
intelligence” – the ability to process info about the beh of others
and to react adaptively to their beh (behavior).
o There was a need for social int cuz majority of non-human
primate species are social animals, living in groups that range
from 2-200 individuals.
Making sense of a group of 200 is much more complex
than say living with one person.
Must have a powerful set of devices to make
sense of actions rapidly in order to survive and
Cant be sure what EEA for social int was BUT the variety of
social organizations in existing non human primates is a clue.
Some primates (e.g. the gibbon) are monogamous
Some (e.g. gorillas) live in a “unimale polygyny” where
a single male has control over a group of females and
Others (e.g. chimpanzee) live in a “multimale polygyny”
where several males cooperate to defend females and
Finally, some (e.g. organgutan) live in an “exploded
unimale polygyny”, where a single male defends a
group of females and their offspring but the females do
not live as a group and instead are distributed over a
Primates are instructive
They live in groups of comparable size to lets say sheep and cows,
BUT their social environments are much more complex.
o The primate group is the center of intense social interaction
that has little apparent direct bearing on the practicalities of
life - that reflects what we call socializing – the making and
breaking of friendship and alliances.
Primates have a Machiavellian nature of social interaction – they
interact in order to use others for various purposes. While with most animals, the larger one tends to win a fight, with monkeys it’s the socially
dominant one that ones cuz his pals will help out against a physically
stronger opponent that may have no pals by their side in comparison.
What each individual seeks is reproductive success – producing as many
healthy, socially adept offspring as possible.
In birds of paradise (for males only), it goes to those with the most
elaborate plumage and winning