PSYC 3420 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Tooth Enamel, Homo Erectus, Morning Sickness

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24 Apr 2012
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Chapter 3 Evolutionary Psychology
Problems of survival: combating the hostile forces of nature:
o Differential reproduction is bottom line of evo process
o Darwin-struggle for existence in some kind of circumstance;
o Climate, weather, food, toxins, disease, parasites, predators, other tribes
o Fol biology-intuition that living things come in discrete packets that correspond to
distinct species ; each ahs internal essence producing it growth and powers
Emerges early in life and universal
Ppl divide species into plants and animals; everything has a function and
essence
May be cognitive adaptation
Emerges early w.o. instruction, universal, central to solving survival
problems
Food acquisition and selection:
Diet is primary of adaptations; more hours searching for food than anything
else
Consuming calories calcium, sodium, zinc without toxins was a struggle then
Recognizing it, capturing, and consuming, and digesting
Crucial for omnivores- increases odds of poison-toxins
Toxins may be the adaptations that reduce odds that the plant is eaten; help
plants
o Social and cultural aspects of food:
Sharing strategy for courtship, r.s., reconciling conflicts
Gand thongs Ashanti- women seek divorce if no food
Permeates our psychological preoccupations verbal discourse interaction and
religion
o Food preferences:
21% income in US spend on food, second to leisure
Less wealthy-India china; 50% food
Food center of p/c interactions- mother milk
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Human and rats evolved taste preferences for sweets=calories; even infants
Dislike bitter n sour which have toxins; adjust habits due to water, salts...
Neophobia-strong aversion to new foods-small doses; new foods
separate=learn abt their effects
o Disgust: the disease-avoidance hypothesis:
Defense vs. microbial attacks- strong withdrawal and nausea
Hyp: Should be evoked from disease foods; should universal across cultures
Empirical evidence supports both; rotting flesh, dirty food, smelly,
leftovers, moldy, insects, dirty hands cause disgust
Feces across cultures seen as disgusting-toxins
Women find disease images more disgusting than men; they deal with
it more than men
Poor hygiene, evokes disgust
Feces of own child less than others; humans can shut or override
disgust if need be for adaptive problems
o Sickness in pregnant women: embryo protection hypothesis:
Nauseous reaction to foods- morning sickness; 75-89%
Vomiting lower at 55%; if food aversions added; 100% in first trimester
Profet-pregnancy is adaptation preventing mothers from eating teratogens-
toxins for the baby
Moms need to get nutrients w/o toxins; find meat, alc, veggy, coffee
distasteful
3% reported aversion to bread, and none said no to cereals
Carcinogens induced smell aversion
This is an adaptation to prevent toxins
Most vomiting in 4 wks after contraception due to toxins vulnerability
Women who don’t have preg sickness in 1st trimester are 3x more likely to
abort
Cross cultures show same;
o Fire and cooking:
Ket emergence of modern humans; most uncooked have more effort to eat
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More easily digestible and safer than raw- large human brains
Wrangham-1.cooking provides predictable increase in energy
2. Digestible 3. Human universal 4. Calories for brain to function and hard
stuff can’t give off 5. May lose ability to reproduce and succeed
Cooking therefore had to be 1.6-9 million yrs ago when homo erectus
ancestors appear in fossil records-larger brains
Cooking didn’t occur till 500000 yrs ago; strong evidence until 200000 yrs
ago- skeptics in this hypothesis
o Why humans like spices: antimicrobial hypothesis:
Cooking killed off many microorganism, spices in food act by killing other
organisms just like they previously did on plants
Antimicrobial hypothesis-spices kill microorganisms and toxin production
More spices used in hotter climates where unrefrigerated items spoil; more
spices used in meat than in veggie dishes;
Maybe discovered by accident and not adaptive
o Why humans like to drink alcohol:
Sugar and ethanol in fruits; main diet of chimps; ripeness
Frugivory by-product hypothesis the human isn’t adaptation but a by-product
if adaptive fondness to ripe fruit
All humans have adaptation that favour rupe
o Hunting hypothesis:
Tool making, large human brain, language skills for hunting evolved
Ecological change took place in Africa-global cooling; more grassland, plants
scarce and animals attractive as food resource
Eat more meat than any other species; chimps 4%; human 20-40%
Central for thousands of generations
Human gut has small intestines unlike primates; provide place of protein
breaking such as meat
Thin tooth enamel shows heavy wear on meat
Vitamins a/b12 shown in meat; needed for survival
Bones cut marks
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