Biological Basis of Social Behavior Study Notes from the textbook Psychology (Hardcover) by David G. Myers and course lectures

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I.Biological Basis of Social Behaviora. selfishness versus altruismi.Edward O. Wilson: selfish individuals will always have more offspring1.altruists cannot benefit from their own altruism2.selfish people receive altruism without having to give any have more resources for reproductive successii.definitions of altruism1.intentionality: an action intentionally aimed at helping othersa.most often used by social psychologistsb.least problematic, “common sense” definiton2.muting self-interest: motivated by regard for well-being of others for its own sakea.NO regard for your own self interestb.vulgar cynicism: all apparently altruistic acts done for material gainc.subtle cynicism: all apparently altruistic acts done for psychological gain e.g. avoiding guilt3.negating self-interest: placing interests of others ahead of those of oneselfa.cost-benefit analysis: how much does this cost the helper versus benefit the receiverb.helping behaviori.better term for altruism; not as value-laden (i.e. conflicting definitions)ii.Hamilton: inclusive fitness/kin selection1.organism should engage in helping behavior if rB > Ca. B = benefit of helping, C = cost, r = degree of relatednessb.the

greater the degree of relatedness, the more genetic material is sharedi.e.g. siblings share 50%, cousins share 12.5%c.goal = protecting genetic material, maximizing reproductive success2.need to take into account ability of family members to maximize RS (e.g. age)iii. Robert Trivers: reciprocal altruism1.automatic altruism is not an evolutionarily stable strategy, but earned altruism might bec.prisoner’s dilemmai.regardless of what the other prisoner does, you should confessii.selfishness is the best strategyd.bystander effecti. Kitty Genovese: stabbed to death, 38 witnesses, no one helpedii. Latane and Darley: emergency-like situations are often ambiguous1.who should help; who is qualified to help?iii.more people witnessing event person less likely to get helpiv.pluralistic ignorance1.deciding that it’s not an emergency2.confirmation bias: using others’ passivity as evidence that passivity is approriate3.looking for signs of passivity and finding themv.diffusion of responsibility1.deciding that it IS an emergency2.‘someone should act’ instead of ‘I should act’...