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A.P. Psychology The Biological Bases of Behavior PowerPoint Presentation
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A.P. Psychology The Biological Bases of Behavior

A.P. Psychology The Biological Bases of Behavior

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A.P. Psychology The Biological Bases of Behavior

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  1. A.P. PsychologyThe Biological Bases of Behavior Evolutionary Psychology

  2. The Theory of Evolution • Perhaps the single most important idea ever conceived

  3. What is evolution? Evolutionary theory consists of several simple assumptions: • Within a species there is heritable variability. • Some variations result in more offspring's, who will themselves possess these beneficial differences.

  4. Standard explanations for human behaviour • Animals are rigidly controlled by their biology, human behaviour determined by culture and learning. • Learning is a general purpose process used in all domains of knowledge

  5. Evolutionary Psychology • Big Ideas • Evolutionary Biology + Cognitive Psychology • Goal is to understand the human mind/brain from an evolutionary perspective • The design of the mind must have been shaped by natural selection (including sexual selection) • human minds, behavior, artifacts and culture are all biological phenomena

  6. Evolutionary Psychology • Big Ideas • Our mental lives and behavior reflect the evolutionary history of our species, particularly the adaptive problems that had to be solved  our modern skulls house stone age minds that are designed to increase evolutionary fitness • different neural circuits are specialized for solving problems e.g. vision, love etc. • we accomplish difficult tasks easily and unconsciously

  7. Adaptive Problems • Our minds were designed by natural to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. • avoiding predators • eating the right food • attracting mates • forming alliances • “reading others people’s minds” • All of these things are crucial for passing on your genes. We therefore expect selection to have designed mental mechanisms to solve these problems.

  8. Are all behaviours adaptive? Evolutionary psychologists habitually look first to adaptive explanations. It is not always possible to explain behaviours as “adaptive” and we must take into account the following: • In some cases the environment may change more rapidly than the organism can evolve. • An adaptation is not always adaptive in every circumstance.

  9. Insights From Evolutionary Psychology • Our mind consists of a set of domain specific information processing modules; e.g. language, theory of mind, perception. • Food preferences: Strong desire for fat was once very adaptive, no longer so. (Speculation: An environment in which food is only periodically available – e.g. by dieting - means it is adaptive to switch on more fat storage)

  10. Insights From Evolutionary Psychology • Perception: Our color vision is adapted to seeing ripe/unripe fruits against background foliage • Mood: Evolution has no interest in maximizing happiness! • Anxiety: Makes us cautious about actions we should be cautious about. • Sadness: Makes us withdraw from situations in which we might suffer further loss.

  11. Insights From Evolutionary Psychology • Anger and kindness: Produce the effective tit for tat style of negotiation • Phobias : fear of snakes vs. fear of guns • Depression: Should withdraw from a major life endeavor and start a new one? • Men and women’s mate preferences and sexual strategies differ.

  12. Male and Female Sexuality • innate differences  gender not a social or a cultural construct • monogamy not the “natural” state of affairs, multiple sex partners, polygamy and serial monogamy would serve a range of evolutionary purposes • differences between male and female mate selection involves inherent conflict

  13. Male Sexuality • large number of mates desired • power and status a means of attracting them • often applies the “Madonna-whore” double standard • interest declines after 4-5 years • extreme jealously evoked by sexual infidelity

  14. Female Sexuality • far more discriminating in mate selection which is based on the quality of the genes and potential to invest in child rearing • infidelity may result if the mate can not provide support • extreme jealously evoked by emotional infidelity as it threatens a withdrawal of material support

  15. We are not slaves to our genes.