Evolutionary Psychology F08

Evolutionary Psychology F08 - EVOLUTION AND BEHAVIOR What...

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EVOLUTION AND BEHAVIOR What you should know: Principle of natural selection Ultimate & proximate explanations Sexual selection Mating systems Altruism Parental Investment Theory Neotany
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BACKGROUND: Darwin(1859) Evolution by Natural Selection Neo-Darwinism (Fisher, 1930): integration of genetics and Darwinian theory. Ethology (~ 1940 ) : study of animal behavior in natural settings; instincts; adaptiveness of behavior. Sociobiology (~1970) & evolutionary psychology (~1980). Biological and genetic bases of human behavior, including social behavior. An alternative to the " Standard Social Science Model " with its emphasis on social and cultural (environmental) determination of behavior.
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From The Origin of Species : "As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive, and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, will have a better chance of surviving and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.”
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! Important! This can work only if there is heritable with-species genetic variation in the trait to start with. Tree color has been lightened by pollutants Later: Natural tree color restored by environmental clean-up
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Hypothesis : morning sickness is an adaptation. It came about because nausea following food intake was a way of getting rid of possible toxins in food. Testing the hypothesis : It seems to be universal. It occurs at a time in fetal development when plant toxins would have very bad effects, and at a time when some reduction in food intake can be tolerated. Compare women who are above or below average in amount of morning sickness. Those above average had fewer miscarriages. MORNING SICKNESS OF PREGNANCY: ILLNESS OR ADAPTATION?
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From various textbooks: “All living species …. arrived at their present biological structures and mechanisms through a historic process involving random heritable changes.” “Those (genetic) changes that enhanced an individual’s ability to survive and reproduce were passed along in increasing numbers from generation to generation, and those that hindered survival and reproduction were lost.” THE KEY QUESTION What structures, behaviors, preferences, and strategies make it most likely that one’s genes get into the next generation?
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“goal”): to make copies of themselves. “A chicken is just an egg’s way of making another egg.”
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This note was uploaded on 10/22/2011 for the course PSYC 100 at USC.

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Evolutionary Psychology F08 - EVOLUTION AND BEHAVIOR What...

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