05 Individual Personality

05 Individual Personality - Cultural Anthropology 12/18/07...

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Cultural Anthropology 12/18/07 1 Nature Vs. Nurture: What determines The Individual, Personality, and Consciousness Genes determine the physical characteristics that distinguish between different races and sexes. What else do they determine? Behavior? The question is not: “do genetics determine behavior?” but rather “to what extent do genetics determine behavior in cognitively complex organisms, like humans?” Another way of putting the question: Certain human behaviors, such as eating, hazard avoidance, or the sex drive are genetically determined because they are necessary for survival. Others behaviors have a biological basis, but are not necessary genetically determined, such as women, having on average less physical strength than men, participate less in activities that require physical strength. And yet others are completely culturally determined, such as how we choose to meet our nutritional requirements or protect ourselves from our environment. When we look at human behavior, we need to differentiate between a variety of causal factors. The behavior of many organisms is, at least in part, biologically determined, and for good reason: specific behaviors can help to determine evolutionary success. Determining who gets to reproduce, and with whom, for instance These behaviors often are very complex, even in organisms we consider to be “lower” forms of life
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Cultural Anthropology 12/18/07 2 Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology/Behavioral Ecology The idea that behavior could be explained in evolutionary terms was first popularized by Edward O. Wilson. The field of Sociobiology studies how behaviors can contribute to reproductive fitness, and therefore passed on to offspring. Sociobiology provokes strong resistance by many scholars when applied to human behavior It is interesting to note that Wilson is an entomologist specializing in social insects, and this group has some of the best examples of heritable behavior Honey bees provide some of the most elegant examples Communication and Social Behavior in Bees Bees can communicate the location of a good nectar source to their hive mates (direction and distance from the hive) The “waggle dance” is well enough understood that it has been duplicated: there are people who can speak “Bee” Instructions given by the “robot bee” are followed by other bees Bees provide another example of biologically determined behavior which can be shown to be determined by two genes that are inherited in Mendelian fashion: Hygienic Bees In order to protect their hives from infection, hygienic bees will remove dead or diseased larva from their cells and throw the away. The behavior has two components, uncapping the cells and tossing the larvae, each determined by a single gene with two alleles.
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Cultural Anthropology 12/18/07 3 Hives can be tested to see if they are hygienic or not Hygienic Unhygienic Killing the larvae Hygienic bees can be crossed with unhygienic bees. The
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05 Individual Personality - Cultural Anthropology 12/18/07...

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