PS2080 - Evolutionary Psychology

Darwin's theory of evolution - what is evolution?
descent with modification - evolution = the change in frequencies of hereditary characteristics across generations in a lineage
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in descent with modification; decent means ...
a lineage of organisms characteristed by hereditary similarity parents and offspring
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in descent with modification; modification refers to...
changes across generations in the distribution of characteristics, or traits in a lineage
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what causes evolution?
natural selection
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What is natural selection?
pre-requisite: within a species there is heritable variability of phenotypes (caused by mutations or recombination duirng sexual reproduction) - some variations result in more offspring and these will possess the beneficial differences
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what are two different types of evoluntionary fitness?
classical fitness + inclusive fitness
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what is classical fitness?
a measure of an individual's ability for direct reproductive success
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what is inclusive fitness?
a measure of an individuals ability for both direct and indirect reproductive success
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what would happen if we didn't have natural selection?
everyone would just be clones as one another
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what are the products of evolution?
adaptations, by-products, noise
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what is meant by adaptations?
inherited characterisstics that emerged through natural selection becuase they aided in solving problems related to survival and/or reproduction e.g. umbilical cord
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what is meant by by-products?
characteristics that do not solve adaptive problems and do not have a functional design. they are coupled to adaptations e.g. belly button
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what is meant by noise?
random effects produced by chance mutations that do not affect survival and/or reproductive success
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evolutionary psychology is a mix of
evolutionary biology and cognitive psychology
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the goal of evolutionary psychology is to
understand the human mind/brain from an evolutionary perspective
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the mind is composed of...
many innate, specialised, modules 'designed' by natural selection. these modules emerged through natural selection to solve pre-historical adaptive problems (1.8 million-10,000 years ago)
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what is evolutionary psychology reacting against?
standard social science model (SSSM)
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what is the SSSM
1. non human animals are rigidly controlled by their biology, human behaviour determined by culture. 2) human infants born with nothing apart from a few reflexes and an ability to learn. 3) learning is a general-purpose process used in all knowledge
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core tenets of evolutionary psychology
- all behvaiour is a function of psychological mechanisms and input to those mechanisms
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what does EEA stand for?
environment of evolutionary adaptedness
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characteristics of EEA
hunter/gatherer subsistence, nomadic or semi-nomadic, low population density, small kin-based groupings, simple technology, high infant mortality, low life expectancy, vulnerable to predators and disease - development of agriculture, towns 10000yrs
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natural selection designed our minds to deal with
problems that our ancient ancestors faced on the african savanahs
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adaptive problems in the eea
our minds were designed by natural and sexual selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors: surviving/food selection/mates/alliances/parenting - play role in the success with which one genes are passed on
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what is the massive modularity hypotheses
our mind consists of many domain-specific information-processing modules (evolved psychological mechanisms)
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mismatches between EEA and current environment
- modern fear responses reflect ancient dangers e.g. snakes - supernormal stimuli
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what does ultimate cause mean
the reason why it increased fitness in the evolutionary past
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what does proximate cause mean
the immediate psychological, physiological, biochemical, and environmental reasons
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according to SSSM: psychology is a social science, social science are concerned with how culture and experience produce wide variation in human behaviour. Therefore, social sciences do not need to consider the role of evolution in behaviour
according to EP, biology is a natural science. biology is built upon the rock of evolutionary theory. Psychology is a branch of biology
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according to SSSM, non-human animal behaviour is controlled by biology, human behaviour is determined by culture and experience. non- human animal behaviour is more appropriately studyed by biologists
according to ep, non-human animal and human behaviour are both biological phenomena that have evolved. ignorance of evolutionary theory can lead some psychologists to appear too view humans as having progressed above apes and other lower animals
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according to ep, the human mind consists of specialised modules that are innate and have evolved via natural selection to cope with adaptive problems. modules resemble computer programs designed for particular process
according to sssm, humans are born with few reflexes and the ability to learn. essentially we are 'empty computers' or 'blank slates' at birth, written on by the hand of culture
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according to sssm, human behaviour is controlled by a general-purpose system which relies on imitation, general intelligence, culture and reward and punishment. These systems are content-independent or domain-general
modules are specialised to solve particular adpative problems
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the adaptive problems of ep of human mating behaviour differ according to
1) temporal context (short-long term) 2) sex (male-female)
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sexual selection
evolution of traits that afford a directive advantage; two paths: success at intersexual attraction, success at intrasexual competition
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parental investman theory
the sex that invests more in offspring will be more discriminating about who they mate with, the sex taht invests less will compete more vigorously for access to valuable high-investing members of the opposite sex
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women; minimum obligatory parental investment
internal fertilisation and gestation, lactation, maximum number of children is about 12, thus expect women to be more discriminating
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men; minimum obligatory parental investment
doante sperm, expect them to be less discriminating but more vigorous in competition
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adaptive problems of males in short-term mating context
- finding enough partners, finding women who are sexually accessible, minimisng cost risk and investment, indentifying women who are fertile
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clark and hatfield 1987 - in short term, men will be more willing to engage in intercourse after less time has elapsed in knowing a potential parter than will women
would you go out with me tonight/would you come over tonight/would you go to bed with me tonight - 50% males and females said yes to out/ 9% women 70% men said yes to apartment, 0% women 75% men said yes to bed
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buss & schmidt men + short term prediction
mens preferences in a short-term mating context will reflect male short-term adaptive problems
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adaptive problems of women in a long-term context involve finding men who
are able to invest, are willing to invest, offer physical protection, offer commitment, have good parenting skills, have good gene quality
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buss and schmitt (1993) - women more than men will desire cues to a potential mates ability to acquire resources, including ambition, good earning capactiy, professional degees and wealth
20 women and 28 men evaluate characteristics; promising career, financial prospects, succeed in profession, earn a lot, reliable career - valued more in women and long term
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buss (1989) - inter continent consistency of women's higher valuation of financial prospects in a long-term mate compared to men
results: higher in women across all countries; japan, austraila, USA etc
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Buss (1989) cross-cultural study of sex differences in the valuation of financial prospects in long-term mate
low socio-economic status groups highly under-represented / the sex differences diminshes as economic inequality between the sexes diminishes
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in descent with modification; decent means ...


a lineage of organisms characteristed by hereditary similarity parents and offspring

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in descent with modification; modification refers to...


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what causes evolution?


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What is natural selection?


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