class2.final

class2.final - Goal of course: To understand the basic...

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Unformatted text preview: Goal of course: To understand the basic design of brain mechanisms that generate human mating psychology and behavior Premise of course that human brains contain specialized machines that govern our mating psychology Physiological machines well-established: example, machines that increase hunger when glucose falls but produce satiety after food intake Analogously, we possess machines that regulate mating psychology: what we find attractive, what we are motivated to do to attract mates, when we get jealous, etc. Central question of course is an engineering one: how are these machines designed to work? No different from asking how hearts work or how livers work. Implicit in the social sciences is an alternative perspective: that specialized mating mechanisms do not exist; instead, general learning mechanisms produce somewhat arbitrary standards of beauty, courtship practices, etc. Goal of course: To understand the basic design of brain mechanisms that generate human mating psychology and behavior General assumption that these brain mechanisms evolved by natural selection b/c they solved specific problems (i.e. have specific functions) Course from perspective of evolutionary psychology What is Evolutionary Psychology? Metatheoretical position that the human brain contains a collection of specialized processing mechanisms designed by natural selection to address specific problems encountered by our ancestors over the course of human evolution Examples of Adaptive Problems: Visual scene analysis Food choice Mate choice/attraction Predator avoidance Navigation Parenting Food Choice vs. Mate Choice What counts as a solution to a given problem? How about pie What is Evolutionary Psychology? Metatheoretical position that the human brain contains a collection of specialized processing mechanisms designed by natural selection to address specific problems encountered by our ancestors over the course of human evolution Examples of Adaptive Problems: Visual scene analysis Food choice Mate choice/attraction Predator avoidance Navigation Parenting Specialized Mechanisms General properties of specialized mechanisms: 1. Develop by design No argument that specialized machines are fully formed at birth develop over time EP not deny importance of learning: proposes specialized learning SPECIALIZED LEARNING EXAMPLE Bird song learning Juvenile songbirds show ability to pick out own species song from medley of songs from different species Sensitive period: Must hear song by age of 7 weeks in order to...
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class2.final - Goal of course: To understand the basic...

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