meangenes - by burnham and phelan Introduction Why do some...

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by burnham and phelan Introduction Why do some behaviors come so naturally and others require so much effort? Because our genes predispose us to certain feelings Beauty: Some believe that beauty is defined by the society we live in: but if this were true, wouldn’t every culture have its own definition of beauty? This is not the case. Human symmetry will show us why. Symmetry: the two halves of our body mirror each other. We find symmetrical people beautiful even if they are not “classically” beautiful. Across the animal kingdom, symmetry is a sign of healthy, disease-free bodies likely to be built with a good set of genes. Symmetry guides our mating decisions unconsciously Our brains have been designed by genetic evolution and like it or not we are engaged in a battle against our own set of mean genes. In daily life, two paths beckon: on tempts us to live as our urges direct the other is the path of resistance. To do so, we must understand and then tame. Only way to do so is to strive for incremental improvement (numerous small ways to change). Evolutionary Biology: the human brain is shaped by evolution Debt Americans have little or no cash to spare. Animals are accomplished savers because natural selection favors them appropriately (It is the squirrels that can save the most food that live to reproduce and pass on their genes) !KungSan: uncertain about food and water, they saved. The !KungSan’s behavior provides the clue to resolving between the American’s chronic undersaving and the strong evolutionary pressure to prepare for lean times. For the !KungSan, preparing for hard times means eating enough food to store some fat on your body (no refrigerators or banks). Evolution has produced a world of accomplished savers; humans simply save in the currency of body fat. For our ancestors, living the harsh environment they did, the best way to save is to consume. We know we ought to but some money in the bank but consuming feels so good. We need to trick our genes by hiding money from ourselves. By making ourselves feel poor we can induce our overconsuming instincts into living more frugally. Credit card: danger lies in the fact that we do not hand over anything that feels valuable so it doesn’t feel like we are spending money. So credit card worse than debit card, debit card worse than cash, cash worse than not spending. Easy access is our enemy. Ways to save: social security, buy property (we are effective at gathering enough money to pay for mortgage payments because if we don’t we will lose our property), save money from income earned before other needs (if it is after, there is usually no money left to save), pick right time to increase amount of hidden money (like when you get a raise, we can whine but we know it’s possible to live without the extra money because we’ve done it before) the people that get rich become that way not because they earn more than average but because they spend less Saving more:
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This note was uploaded on 07/27/2008 for the course PSYC 54040 taught by Professor Kasof during the Summer '08 term at UC Irvine.

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meangenes - by burnham and phelan Introduction Why do some...

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