Evo Psyc Lecture 3. Big Question: What is evolutionary psychology? Evo Psyc is the application of Darwinian principles to the understanding of human nature.
Big Question: What is evolutionary psychology?
EvoPsyc is the application of Darwinian principles to the understanding of human nature.
To understand how Darwinian principles are applied to humans one must first understand a number of concepts and premises upon which evo psych is based.
1. History Matters: Any organism (including humans) are what they are today because of the selection pressures faced in the past
2. The environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA).
The Pleistocene epic (2mya to about 10,000 ya)
Hunter-gatherer lifestyle (kin groups; strict male/female division of labor; egalitarianism, etc.)
Combo of selection pressures relevant to an adaptive trait (e.g. language: bipedalism & descended larynx; tools and motor control; increased social complexity and TOM)
3. Proximate and ultimate explanations
Ultimately all creatures are strive to survive and reproduce (i.e. maximize fitness).
To achieve this they must engage in immediate or more proximate behaviors that are correlated with higher rates of reproduction
Key point: Evolution cannot “design” a creature to have copious offspring. Instead, all it can do is motivate a creature to engage in behaviors that in the past were associated with higher rates of reproduction.
Ex: having babies vs. having sex or teenage styles
Drink?Evolutionary Psychology: Basic assumptions
4. Mind as a “Swiss Army Knife” composed of domain specific mental modules for solving adaptive problems.
Ex: “cheater detection module”
Encapsulation – inputs – algorithms – outputs
Jealousy; TOM; mate detection, etc.
5. Interactionist approach
No nature vs. nurture; nature emerges from interaction with nurture.
Rejects both genetic determinism and “blank slate.”
Genetics provide “experience expectant” framework within which environment molds development within general constraints.
Ex: Language: infant “expects” linguistic stimulation which guides language development down predicable “canalized” pathway.
6. Unconscious emotional guidance down adaptive pathways
7. Stone age minds in a modern world: “mismatch theory”
Our minds were adapted to the hunter-gatherer Pleistocene, not the modern urban world
Ex: food cravings; social isolation (depression)
In the free-response portion of Study 1, participants were asked about their top ﬁve life regrets, top ﬁve regrets from the
past few years, top ﬁve action and inaction regrets, and top ﬁveromantic/sexual action and inaction regrets. Participants listed a total of 3,478 regrets, 348 of which were sex-related.
Fig. 1 Sex differences in regret intensity in sexual action and inaction scenarios (Study 1). Note. Participants rated the intensity of regret for the actor in the vignette (actor) and their own anticipated regret if they were the actor in the scenario (self). The error bars represent 95 % conﬁdence
“The three studies revealed that regrets concerning sexual actions and inactions were common for both men and women, but we found striking sex differences in the types of sexual experiences that led to regrets. Consistent with the ﬁrst hypothesis, women reported more numerous and more intensely felt sexual action regrets than men did, particularly regrets involving ‘‘casual’’ sex. Consistent with the second hypothesis, men reported more numerous and stronger sexual inaction regrets than women did, particularly regrets involving failure to engage in casual sex or the pursuit of a relationship that delayed sexual activity or precluded better sexual opportunities. It is noteworthy that we did not ﬁndmarked sex differences in other regrets, including romantic nonsexual regrets (Study 1) and various other regrets (Study 2). Likewise, the extant literature on regret has not found sex differences in regretting actions and inactions in general…”