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Flashcards in Lecture 7 Deck (37)
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What is misunderstanding 1?

"Natural” behaviors are, by definition, moral behaviors.


What is misunderstanding 2?

If a behaviour derives from an evolved psychological mechanism, it cannot be modified.


What is misunderstanding 3?

Evolution’s “reasons” for our behaviour must match over own.


What is inclusive fitness?

ALL copies of your genes passed on to the next generation matter, including siblings, nieces, second cousins, etc.
Also seen as selection at the level of the gene.

From an evolutionary perspective, it doesn’t matter who carry your genes. It is just important to save as much of your genes as possible – and that is done by saving as many relatives as possible – no matter how many % of the genes you have in common with them.


What is kin selection?

Genes that promote helping relatives can survive if: (benefit to recipient * % genes in common) > cost to donor. Used when finding out if you would sacrifice your own life to save a relative – and it depends on how much of your genes you have in common with that relative.


What is reciprocal altruism?

You can receive a favor now in promise for a receiving favor later as a payment.


What has led to Neo-Darwinism?

Kin selection and reciprocal altruism


What is the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness?

It is a way to get away from sociobiology. Each adaption has its own EEA.


Why is EEA important to keep in mind when we think about whether we expect our evolved mental mechanisms to cause adaptive behaviors in our current environment?

Adaptions to survive in the EEA may no longer be optimal – for example, xenophobia may have made sense in an evolutionary context before. It is less sensible to be afraid of unfamiliar people today. Out anxiety and fear thoughts may have made more sense before. Our food preferences may no longer be relevant for our future.

Our behaviors may not show their evolutionary function, but the underlying psychological mechanisms do!


What three mechanisms might account for the preservation of individual differences over the course of evolution?

Pursuing the best option given your particular circumstances

Frequency dependent selection: if everyone else is a pursuing one strategy (e.g., highly restrictive mating), it may pay off to pursue the other (e.g. less restrictive mating)

Fluctuating optimum levels: the “best” strategy of the moment may depend on features of the environment which routinely change. E.g., in risky environments, unrestricted mating may do better than at other times.


Pros and cons for being high in extraversion

Pros: pursuit of resources and rewards. Have higher number of sex partners. Have more social support.

Cons: risk taking (e.g., hospitalization). More hospitalized. Their children are more likely to be raised by other people than themselves.


Pros and cons for being high in openness

Pro: creativity. Creative problem solving. Women find creativity attractive. Creative jobs have more sex partners.

Cons: psychosis


Pros and cons for being high in neuroticism

Pros: safety and avoidance of failure. Generally lower levels of mental and physical health.

Cons: psychopathology and missed opportunities.


Pros and cons for being high in conscientiousness

Pros: achievement of long-term goals. Higher life expectancy, more success in employment.

Cons: missed opportunities and compulsiveness. More likely to turn down risky opportunities for success, in business and romance.


Pros and cons for being high in agreeableness

Pros: smoother social interactions. You avoid conflict with other people.

Cons: failure to secure resources or loss of resources. Lower levels of creative accomplishment and of compensation among executives.


What are hostile forces of nature?

The events that impede survival. Those forces included food shortages, diseases, parasites, predators and extremes of weather.


What are adaptions?

Inherited solutions to the survival and reproductive problems posed by the hostile forces of nature.


What is an adaptive problem?

Anything that impedes survival or reproduction.


What are by-products of adaptions (example)?

For example, a lightbulb is designed to produce light – that is its function. But it also may produce heat – and that is a by-product.


What are evolutionary by-products?

Incidental effects that are not properly considered to be adaptions. Mechanisms that were designed for other purposes, but we use them in many different ways.


What is evolutionary noise?

Random variations that are neutral with respect to selection. Although everybody uses both feet to walk, there are variations in the exact way that people walk – though these hardly affect the speed at which they walk.


What is sexual selection (Darwin)?

The evolution of characteristics because of their mating benefits, rather than because of their survival benefits.


What is intrasexual competition?

Members of the same sex compete with each other, and the outcome of their contest gives the winner greater sexual access to members of the opposite sex.


What is intersexual selection?

Members of one sex choose a mate based on their preferences for particular qualities in a mate.


What are differential gene production?

Reproductive success relative to others. Characteristics that lead to greater survival get passed along. The same goes for mating.


Which modern evolutionary theory is based on differential gene reproduction?

Inclusive fitness theory.


What does inclusive fitness lead you to do?

To take some risks for the welfare of your genetic relatives, but not too great a risk.


Which human trait does inclusive fitness theory help understanding?



What does domain specificity mean?

Adaptions are presumed to be this. They are designed by the evolutionary process to solve a particular adaptive problem.


What is the test method "evolution by selection"?

The theory has been tested directly in many cases.