Introduction evolutionary psychology


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Introduction evolutionary psychology

  1. 1. <ul><li>Evolutionary Psychology can be applied to any topic studied by psychologists. </li></ul><ul><li>It is based on Darwin’s theory of evolution published in 1859. </li></ul><ul><li>Darwin argued that evolution acted on patterns of behaviour as well as the anatomy and physiology of the body. </li></ul>Evolutionary Explanations of Human Behaviour
  2. 2. <ul><li>Evolutionary psychologists argue that behaviour is strongly influenced by inherited factors. </li></ul><ul><li>All human beings act to enhance their inclusive fitness - to increase the frequency and distribution of their genes in future generations. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>As Steven pinker puts it - “the ultimate goal that the mind was designed to attain is maximizing the number of copies of the genes that created it”. </li></ul><ul><li>Modern skulls house a stone age mind. </li></ul><ul><li>Human evolution took place in a very different environment to the one in which we now live. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Human evolution is thought to have started 68 million years ago when we diverged from our primate ancestors. </li></ul><ul><li>Evolutionary psychologists think that natural selection designed our minds for life in an environment like the African savannah. </li></ul><ul><li>For 99% of our evolutionary history we probably lived in hunter gatherer societies. It is only about 10,000 years ago that humans first started growing their own food. </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>The technical term used to refer to the environment in which we evolved is the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness or EEA. </li></ul><ul><li>The EEA does not refer to some short period of time in our past. It refers to an array of factors that have influenced inclusive fitness during our evolution over the last 200, 000 years. </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>The basic claims of Evolutionary Psychology. </li></ul><ul><li>The human brain consists of neural circuits developed by natural selection to solve problems that our ancestors faced during our evolutionary history. </li></ul><ul><li>Our minds are an adaptation. </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptations evolve to meet challenges in the environment, challenges faced in our EEA. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>Most of what goes on in the mind is subconscious. </li></ul><ul><li>Most problems that we think are easy are in fact very difficult to solve and require complicated neural circuitry. </li></ul><ul><li>Vision appears easy - open your eyes and you see the world - but this apparent simplicity hides a complex evolved system that we have not been able to reproduce artificially. </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>Different neural circuits are specialized for solving different adaptive problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Evolutionary psychology views the mind as consisting of specialized modules that have evolved to cope with adaptive problems. </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>One of the main concerns of evolutionary psychology is to identify factors that maximize reproductive success. </li></ul><ul><li>According to evolutionary explanations of human reproductive behaviour males and females have an interest in selecting partners who will enhance their reproductive success and inclusive fitness. </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>One hypothesis is that - Females have evolved mechanisms that enable them to detect men that will transfer resources to their offspring (health, paternal investment). </li></ul><ul><li>These are sometimes referred to as ‘good genes’ and ‘good provider’ attributes in the male. </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>Males have evolved mechanisms that enable them to detect females that promise rapid production of offspring, and a disinclination to mate with other men (health, fertility, and faithfulness. </li></ul>