Wednesday, May 4, 2011
This video takes on the question of are people naturally violent? If so, why and if not then who are the most angry and is it a cultural thing? It is put together by Harald Eia and it is a foreign video but they do talk to American psychologists about Americans in certain parts. They discuss the "Asshole experiment" and the fact that men do cause the most violent crimes including murder in most countries.
This video is of Steven Pinker talking about the idea of being born with a blank state and no information being in your brain prior to coming into the world. He explains why this can not and is not true. He concludes that children are shaped not by their parents over the long run, but in their genes, culture, and for the most part by chance.
This video is very interesting and involves two prominent evolutionary psychologists, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, talking about many aspects of the field. They cover a little bit about their history in the field, history about the actual field, the paradigm of evolutionary psychology, and some implications for our society. One thing that I found the most interesting is when they begin to talk about the human mind and the self made matrix we all have that we call reality. They explain that of course there is an outside world but everything we perceive and experience basically is self made because it's just the brain interpreting new information.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The concept serves to explain how natural selection can perpetuate altruism. If there is an '"altruism gene"' (or complex of genes) that influences an organism's behavior to be helpful and protective of relatives and their offspring, this behavior also increases the proportion of the altruism gene in the population, because relatives are likely to share genes with the altruist due to common descent. Altruists may also have some way to recognize altruistic behavior in unrelated individuals and be inclined to support them.
Some might express concern that parental investment (parental care) is said to contribute to inclusive fitness. The distinctions between the kind of beneficiaries nurtured (collateral versus descendant relatives) and the kind of fitnesses used (inclusive versus personal) in our parsing of nature are orthogonal concepts.
Campbell, N., Reece, J., et al. 2002. Biology. 6th ed. San Francisco, California. pp. 1145–1148
Hamilton, W. D. 1964 The Genetical Evolution of Social Behaviour I and II, J. Theor. Biol. v7, pp 1–16, and 17-55
The book “Origin of Species” produced significant public enthusiasm. Scientists, politicians, and important people of all class read and talked about the book, some protecting and some rejecting the Darwin's ideas. The most noticeable of them all involved in the controversies was T.H. Huxley, known as “Darwin's bulldog,” who defended the theory of evolution with articulate and sometimes violent words on public occasions as well as in numerous writings. Evolution by natural selection was indeed a favorite topic in society conversation during the 1860s and beyond. But grave scientific controversies also came up, first in Britain and then in the United States. A renowned naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, who had hit upon the idea of natural selection independently, had sent a short document to Darwin from the Malay Archipelago. On July 1, 1858, one year before the publication of the Origin, a paper jointly written by Wallace and Darwin was presented, in the absence of both, to the Linnean Society in London. In this paper Darwin had developed the theory in considerably more detail, provided far more evidence for it, and was primarily responsible for its acceptance. Wallace's views differed from Darwin's in several ways, most importantly in that Wallace did not think natural selection was sufficient to account for the origin of man, which in his view required unswerving divine interference.
Charles Darwin's theory had also made a remarkable effect on the world as a whole. It has provoked debate; while at the same time generated a new variety of scientific thinking. Darwin was able to obtain extensive support for his idea mostly based on evidence and the way it was presented. The Origin of Species was also a breakthrough that used his own work and the ideas of others even if they were not directly linked to evolution, to cover the way for the completion of his theory (Bowler). In “The Origin of Species” Darwin wrote “young with a certain favorable adaptation will pass it on to the next generation and survive or adapt even more using the first adaptation”. This means that humans were created in the same way. In Darwin's time, this was unacceptable and prevented some from supporting his idea. Some challenged his theory because they opposed the association of animals and man. In addition, some did not believe that Darwin's justification of his theory and some evidence supporting it was scientifically enough.
The supreme reaction causing controversy regarding the Darwinian theory involves Darwinism's clashing views with Creationism. Creationism is the broad range of beliefs involving God's intervention, which also explains the origin to the universe, life, and the different kinds of plants and animals on earth. This was the reason that the church in England opposed the theory, because it clashed with the religious ideas. Darwin’s evidence however did not concur with Creationism. This also resulted in a great uproar with the Christian church in his time. During the early part of the last century the theory of evolution was gaining a greater presence in schools, but evangelic Christians continue to be skeptical of the theory, even in this era.
Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species
Darwin's colossal achievement is not limited only to the early scientific works and his developmental works. His dedicated observation, thoughts, inquisitiveness and vigor permitted him to make prominent perceptive contributions to environmental science and other different disciplines. Darwin was impressed by the inter connection of different species, climate and environment. He stressed that the life in any area was the outcome of an amazing history of struggle or war or "great battle for life". He proposed new solutions to how organisms spread across the globe. These thoughts ultimately led to the controversial theory of evolution.
In "The Origin of Species" Charles Darwin had presented the theory that natural selection was the method that facilitates the course of evolution. Darwin's theory of natural selection did assist to influence most people that life survives in its present shape as a consequence of evolution, rather than a casual series of strange phenomena. Darwin's theories fundamentally achieved some important accomplishments: The first was that all organisms share changes from a common ancestor, which maintained the theory of evolution more or less convincingly and decisively. The second was that scientists are no more forced to question whether evolution is fact or fiction. Evolution is considered to be a scientific fact. Darwin initiated the theory of species changing and adapting gradually in due course, and deduced that the adaptive change frequently occurred via the mechanism of natural selection. The thoughts included the terms "Natural Selection" and/or "Survival of the Fittest”, either independently or as a group, which was a convincing scientific justification for evolution. Darwin’s explanations also showed that a lot of characteristically dissimilar organisms of plants and animals were interrelated through common ancestry. He portrayed Natural Selection as the "Preservation of favorable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those, which are injurious, or the Survival of the Fittest." (Charles Darwin)
An added part of Darwin's theory includes the variation in the physical and habitual qualities of every species. This is the region in which the Survival of the Fittest theory most frequently plays the foremost role. Darwin emphasized that for a species to cope with the always varying environments and conditions it is conditional that it must not only adjust, but must also be able to pass on those modified characteristics to its children. Evolutionary psychology is the study of how these concepts relate to us humans and how our social behavior developed through natural selection.
Bowler, Peter J. Charles Darwin The Man and His Influence, New York, NY: Blackwell Publishers Oxford, 1990.
Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species
Mating and parenting are two more adaptations that have helped society grow. Without mating there would be no offspring, and without parenting it would be difficult to have a society. Mating helps the society grow and parenting keeps it together (at first). Parenting allows parents to teach there offspring what they know and how to survive, it also creates connection between parent and child the bonds them, and numerous bonds create one larger community, and as bonds begin to expand (friends, larger families, etc...) the community itself gets bigger. Just like how some animals travel in packs/flocks/schools humans usually live in communities. Pretty straight forward.
Monday, May 2, 2011
An evolved psychological mechanism exists in the form that it does because it solved a specific problem of survival or reproduction recurrently over evolutionary history
An evolved psychological mechanism is designed to take in only a narrow slice of information.
The input of an evolved psychological mechanism tells an organism the particular adaptive problem it is facing.
The input of an evolved psychological mechanism is transformed through decision rules into output.
The output of an evolved psychological mechanism can be physiological activity, information to other psychological mechanisms, or manifest behavior.
- The output of evolved psychological mechanism is directed toward the solution to a specific adaptive problem.
Human Universals. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Consciousness is usually the voluntary behavior of an individual, although many conscious actions have unconscious processes. One behavior of consciousness is self-awareness, such as seeing your reflection and knowing who it is. Other behaviors include knowing one's limitations, learning certain skills, and self-deception (useful during social situations).
Sensation and perception seemed to have evolved to provide guidance through numerous environments. Each of our senses help of maneuver through the world day by day. Sight is used to see the distance between things, and see what in front of us (obviously). Hearing helps determine things that can't be seen or that need attention (ex: a loud sound behind you) and for part of communicating with others. Taste and Smell determine chemicals and chemical changes in the environment that also help us know where to go (avoiding bad smells, eating things that taste good). The last sense, Touch, is numerous smaller senses that fit into the same category, and are used for close-contact environmental changes. Touch is used to decipher a broad list of sensations, from temperature change to pain.
Behaviors made possible through motivation. If humans had no motivation, then we would not have adapted any behaviors, most likely would not exist. Affective parts of motivation (positive and negative) are more commonly know as emotions. Humans have an extensive list of emotions that go beyond the five basics emotions of fear, sadness, happiness, anger, and disgust. These extra emotions (Spite, Shame, Pride, etc...) are allow humans to be such social creature and gain social standing as an individual. (Ex: pride motivates people to raise their social status.)
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
This is a video that explains how Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection is applied to humans. He goes on to say that human ancestors have passed down genes that have somehow aided in human survival. Different from every other case, humans were passed down the gene of prominent intelligence. This trait has kept homo sapiens the dominant species on earth since human consciousness began. This video covers topics ranging from natural selection to reproduction, all in relation to evolutionary psychology.
This link provides many interesting facts about evolutionary psychology. For instance, the experts who wrote the article believe that the brain is essentially a computer that is used by the body to process information the environment sends it. Also, a theory that is mentioned is that the cognitive models the people of our time know of were adaptations from our ancestors.
This article gives an excellent overview evolutionary psychology in that it gives current theories and uses logic to back them up. In addition to the theories, they discuss the differences between biology and evolutionary psychology.
The environment also provided a living style for the humans that lived on earth not only back then, but now as well. Today, the environments all over the world dictate all types of living styles. In Russia, warmer cloths are required while in towns all over the equator, the indigenous people can be seen in nearly no clothing.
To further understand the effects of environment on survival, modern hunter gatherer societies are being studied.
Wright, Robert. The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology. Vintage. 1995.