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Evolutionary Psychology


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A presentation on Evolutionary Psychology used at University of Derby during their Festival of Science Open Day.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the individual Simon Bignell and not University of Derby.

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Evolutionary Psychology

  1. 1. Evolutionary Psychology at University of Derby Simon Bignell
  2. 2. “ There is grandeur in this view of life... from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” Charles Darwin
  3. 3. <ul><li>Brain Size </li></ul>
  4. 4. Brain Size <ul><li>Across time ( a very long time really) our brains have grown. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ardipithecus         300cc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Australopithecus   310-530cc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Homohabilis         580-752cc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neanderthal         1200-1350cc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modern                1450cc </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So why have out brains become larger? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Brain Size <ul><li>It is thought that our brains grew because we became more &quot;sophisticated&quot; in our adaptation to our environment for example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>social </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>linguistic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>tool-making skills  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But which came first?  </li></ul><ul><li>There is still much debate over this issue. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Language and Communication </li></ul>
  7. 7. Language and Communication <ul><li>As you stand in front of this TV you are using your skills of communication. </li></ul><ul><li>How? Well you are reading these words which hopefully are making sense to you! </li></ul><ul><li>Other species also communicate with each other. </li></ul><ul><li>What are they communicating? Well important information such as where is the source of food; where is my future mate; look out ! there are enemies. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Language and Communication <ul><li>Children learn language at a very rapid rate. Chomsky in 1959 argued that we are born with an innate ability to pick up language. We then add to this by hearing what is around us. </li></ul><ul><li>So can chimps talk? In a limited way in that they use symbols or sign language, and it takes them a very long time to learn very few words compared with us. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Sexual Attraction </li></ul>
  10. 10. Sexual attraction <ul><li>So how do you find a mate? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you consider their glossy plumage? </li></ul><ul><li>Piercing cry? </li></ul><ul><li>Sharp claws? </li></ul><ul><li>Already having lots of females? </li></ul><ul><li>Yes it is males that we are considering here! </li></ul>
  11. 11. Sexual attraction <ul><li>Sexual attraction is essentially about passing your genes onto the next generation. To do this your mate should impress you with their ability to provide and defend. </li></ul><ul><li>Darwin considered that males of a species were selected because they had an advantage over other males e.g. by fighting or by special displays and adornments. </li></ul><ul><li>Do humans select their mates in the same way? </li></ul>