lesson19 - 19 The "Pretty Woman" Story Key Terms and...

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19 The “Pretty Woman” Story Key Terms and Concept o Evolutionary psychology o Perception o Perceptual valence o Attractiveness o “Roommate” characteristics o “Reproductive” characteristics o Reproductive potential o Waist: hip ratio o Shoulders: waist ratio o Facial symmetry o Socialization o Direct benefits o Good genes o Lek o Positive assortative mating o Inbreeding depression Pretty Woman was an extremely popular movie. Nearly all of you have seen it, even though it’s been nearly 20 years since its release. Why does it have this appeal after all this time? It stars two very attractive people (Julia Roberts and Richard Gere) but the storyline seems especially appealing. Can biopsychology help understand the popularity of this movie? Can it explain what it is that makes these actors among the most attractive people in the world? I believe it can, and the reason it can has to do with one of the branches of biopsychology, a discipline called evolutionary psychology . Although evolutionary psychologists study a wide range of topics, it has had a great influence in the study of mate choice, the decisions that individuals make about the attractiveness of others as potential mates. Lesson 19 219
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The Logic of Evolutionary Psychology Evolutionary psychology approaches psychological processes as a complex set of operations performed by the brain, which in turn has been built by the influence of numerous genes that have been carefully scrutinized by natural selection. In short, psychology is every bit as evolved as circulation or digestion. Much of evolutionary psychology is concerned with choices, and choices are based on perceptions. If my kids have a choice between an ice cream cone and a carrot, they will choose the ice cream each time. Why? The obvious answer is that ice cream tastes better. In technical terms, our perceptions (in this case, taste) come with valences, meaning that there are positive or negative assessments of the things that we perceive. Sweet tastes are positively valenced. When newborn babies are given a bottle containing sugar-sweetened water, the amount they drink depends on the amount of sugar dissolved in the water, and they drink more as the amount of sugar goes up. (They also show more subtle signs of liking sweeter water: their eyebrows are lifted a little higher when they encounter the sweet taste compared to the taste of plain water.) Perceptions and their valences are the result of neural processes. We have specialized neurons that respond to chemicals such as sucrose and these neurons connect with numerous others in the brain. And it should be obvious that these neural systems, like all of them, develop under the influence of genes. Nervous systems don’t just come about by magic; they develop in the same way as other body parts. Perhaps less obvious is the finding that individuals may differ in their neural systems
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This note was uploaded on 05/27/2010 for the course BIOS 373 B02 taught by Professor Dr.danielleger during the Spring '10 term at UNL.

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lesson19 - 19 The "Pretty Woman" Story Key Terms and...

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