Life Science Final Review

Life Science Final Review - Life Science Final Review 1...

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Life Science Final Review: 1. Happiness: why is rate/direction of change more important than absolute level? How does this relate to material acquisitions? The emotion of happiness is a tool our genes use to cause u to behave in ways that will benefit them. Evolution is a relative game. Alleles that win are those that do better than its alternatives. We think that achieving goals will make us happy, but it is truly the progress towards the goal that makes us happy. Absolute levels actually have little effect on happiness. Material acquisitions: level of well-being does not increase with annual income. In fact, there is typically an inverse correlation. 2. With an example, describe the interplay of culture and biology. How does culture undo biological constraint? Culture can help to free us from our biological constraints. Our environment is alien to our brains. Evolution prepared us for a different world, but culture allows us to survive in this novel environment. Only females can lactate, so females make the initial parental investment in the child. However, culture undoes this because we now have rubber nipples and formula milk, so that anybody can nurse the baby and give them nutrition. People have difficulties maintaining desired weight because we have inherited food preferences for fats from our ancestors Technology breaks down of the fundamental reproductive equation: o Sex = pregnancy = babies = maternal child care = loss of female economic opportunity = loss of female political power Condoms (rubber)/birth control Abortion Bottles (rubber nipples) Babysitters 3. How is this interplay illustrated by constrained learning? Rat study: o can learn that when drinking water, noise and lights will be followed by an electric shock, or that a weird taste will induce nausea, and therefore adjust their behavior. However, they will not learn that noise and lights causes nausea or that a bad taste will lead to an electric shock. This shows us that our biology constrains our learning for certain things, not allowing culture to shape our behavior. It is really easy to learn some things, and harder to learn things which were not part of our EEA. “Sauce Béarnaise” effect: a conditioned taste aversion for certain foods that were eaten and followed by illness. This is an adaptive
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mechanism to protect oneself from future poisoning. Many times the sickness is completely coincidental and not related to the food, but we learn to avoid the food anyway. Prepared learning illuminates the leash of biology reining in culture’s ability to shape our behavior. 4. What is the EEA and why is it important for us to be aware of it? Why are our instincts sometimes inappropriate?
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Life Science Final Review - Life Science Final Review 1...

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