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Chapter 2

chapter 2 Bio.rtf

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Bruce Mc Kay

Chapter 2: Evolution, Genetics and Experience Zeitgeist: the way we tend to think about things in ways that have been ingrained in us, the general climate of our culture. -the idea of human processes falls into two categories: is it physiological or psychological. In the western cultures, after the dark ages the people started to turn away from the church and started to find answers about the world by directly observing them. Much of the scientific knowledge that accumulated during the renaissance was at odds with the church dictates. However the conflict was resolved by Rene Descartes. Cartesian dualism as Descartes philosophy became known was sanctioned by the roman church and so the idea that the human brain and mind are separate entities became even more widely accepted. it was believed by most psychologists during the earlier years that nurture played the most important role in behavior. But at the same time experimental psychology was taking root in North America, ethology the study of animal behavior in the wild, was becoming the dominant approach to the study of behavior in Europe. European ethology in contrast to North American experimental psychology focused on the study of instinctive behaviors (behavior that occur in all like members of a species, even when there seems to have been no opportunity for them to have been learned) and it emphasized the role of nature, or inherited factors, in behavioral development. -Julien Offroy- lived in exile because he published a pamphlet that stated that thoughts came from the brain -there are two lines of evidence against physiological or psychological thinking (the assumption of human psychological functioning are so complex that they could not possibly be the product of a physical brain). The first line is composed of the many demonstrations that even the most complex psychological changes (changes in self-awareness, memory or emotion) can be produced by damage to or stimulation of parts of the brain. The second line of evidence is composed of demonstrations that some nonhuman species, particularly primate species, possess abilities that were once assumed to be purely psychological and thus purely human. Oliver Sacks account of the man who fell out of bed. This patient had asomatognosia- a deficiency in the awareness of parts of one's own body. It typically involves the left side of the body and usually results from damage to the right parietal lobe. The point is that although changes in self-awareness displayed but the patient were complex, they were clearly the result of brain damage. Mark twain’s thoughts on nature vs. nurture: -factors such as fetal environments, nutrition, stress and sensory stimulation proved to be influential in learning and development -both nature and nurture affect us -neurons become active long before they are fully developed -the subsequent course of their development (e.g. the number of connections they form or whether or not they survive) depends greatly on their activity, much of which is triggered by external experience -experience continuously modifies genetic expression All behavior is the product of interactions among three factors: 1. the organism’s genetic endowment which is a product of its evolution 2. its experience 3. its perception of the current situation Human evolution Modern biology began in 1958 with the publication of Charles Darwin’s 'the origin or species'. He presented three kinds of evidence to support her assertion that species evolve: 1. he documented the evolution of fossil records through progressively more recent geological laws 2. he described striking structural similarities among living species (a human’s hand, a bird’s wing, a cat’s paw) 3. he pointed to the major changes that have been brought about in domestic plants and animals by programs of selective breeding. Social dominance- the males of a species establish a stable hierarchy of social dominance through combative encounters with other males. This is important to evolution because some species of dominant males copulate more the non- dominate males and thus re more effective in passing on their characteristics to future generations. Courtship displays- an intricate series of courtship displays precedes copulation in many species. This is thought to promote the evolution of new species. evolution of vertebrates: -complex multi-cellular water-dwelling organisms first appeared on earth about 600 million hers ago. About 150 million years later the first chordates evoked. Chordates are animals with dorsal nerve cords; they are 1 of the 20 or so large categories or phyla into which zoologist’s group animal species. The first chordates with spinal bones to protect their dorsal nerve chords evolved about 25 million years later. The spinal bones are called vertebrae and the chordates that possesses them are called vertebrates. evolution of amphibians -about 410 million years ago, bony fishes started to venture out of the water. Fishes that could survive on land for brief period of time had two great advantages: first they could escape from stagnant pools to nearby fresh water, and they could take advantage of terrestrial food sources. The advantages of life on land were so great they natural selection transformed the fins and gills of bony fishes
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