Genome Lag For Wall

Revision notes for AQA A A2 Psychology, unit 4 Comparative Psychology, genome lag hypothesis

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GENOME LAG HYPOTHESIS:
This suggests we have stone-age genes and minds forced to live in a space aged culture
and this causes modern day psychiatric problems. The Environment of Evolutionary
Adaptation (EEA) shows that our genes haven't altered at all in the last 35,000 years but
lifestyles have changed dramatically causing our lives to be `out of tune' with the present
environment.
Example-anxiety:
Stress: The fight or flight response enabled our ancient ancestors to respond to
environmental threats and those with the best response would have had higher
reproductive fitness. Modern day stressors, on the other hand, are very different to
those experienced by our ancestors, often being chronic. The response now is
mal-adaptive for our current lifestyle making us end up ill (exhaustion stage of Selye's
GAS).
Example-depression:
Self-esteem: In our evolutionary past, when most people lived in groups of about a
hundred, there were not likely to be any especially attractive people. Today, however,
we are frequently exposed to images of the most desirable men and women who have
been artificially made up and even computerised to look `perfect'. The effect of this is
low self-esteem because the high frequency of beauty makes us think that it's more
common than it is. This then leads to crash dieting, cosmetic surgery and psychological
problems.
Criticisms:
Thefact that agricultural man replaced hunter gatherer man challenges the idea of the EEA
as agricultural man shouldn't have had higher reproductive fitness to take his place.
If
the Genome Lag Hypothesis was true, you wouldn't expect to find any kind of mental
problems in traditional cultures since their environment is similar to their EEA.
Schizophrenia has been found in some of the few hunter-gatherer societies that remain.
These instances cannot be attributed to living in a space-age culture as the Genome Lag
Hypothesis predicts.
Crawford (1998) argues that today's environment and the EEA may not be so different as
the same core issues and priorities still remain such as finding resources, forming
relationships, raising children and coping with death. There are very striking comparisons
between us and our ancestors but these are pointless unless we specify the nature of the
adaptations that are supposed to be out of place.

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