Life-span development chap 3 notes

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Evolutionary Selection


Natural Selection: the evolutionary process that favors individuals if a species that are best adapted to survive and reproduce


Charles Darwin - Origin of Species

* observed that most organisms reproduce at rates that would cause enormous increases in population of most species, yet populations remain constant

* concluded that those who survive do so because they are superior in a number of ways

* "survival of the fittest" - pass the superior genes on to offspring


Sociobiology: relies on the principles of evolutionary biology to explain social behavior


Compared tens of thousands of animal species that have evolved some form of social life

* developed laws of evolution and biology of social behavior

* clarify the relation between animal and human behavior

* focused attention on the costs and benefits of behavior

* directed inquiry toward individual and group differences

* highlighted the role of ecology in behavior

* broadened our understanding of the cause of behavior



* not adequately considering adaptability/experience

* portrays humans as being controlled primarily by genes

* explains behavior after the fact lacking predictive ability

* discriminative against women


Evolutionary Psychology: Interactionist framework - contemporary approach that emphasizes

1. behavior is a function of mechanisms

2. requires input for activation

3. is ultimately related to successful survival and reproduction

4. not genetic determinism

5. mechanisms derived from successful solutions to adaptive problems that humans face in ancestral environments

6. Core issue is the nature of the psychological mechanisms created by selection and the adaptive functions they serve.

7. Psychological mechanisms require input to be activated and function.

8. Examples:

* Fears/phobias (strangers, snakes, spiders, heights, open spaces, darkness)

* Imitation of high-status rather than low-status models

* Worldwide preference for mates who are kind,