Evolutionary Theories in Psychology | Noba
Attachment theory is the joint work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth .. communication, January ), A collaborative paper dating from this period ( Bowlby. Two major evolutionary psychological theories are described: Sexual strategies In the case of dating, doing something like offering a gift might represent more . Rather than seeking global theories of human behavior, as are frequently found in personality theory, social psychology utilizes a wide range of specific theories .
To broaden your understanding of evolutionary processes, this module will present some of the most important elements of evolution as they impact psychology. Evolutionary theory helps us piece together the story of how we humans have prospered.
It also helps to explain why we behave as we do on a daily basis in our modern world: Evolution may seem like a historical concept that applies only to our ancient ancestors but, in truth, it is still very much a part of our modern daily lives.
Basics of Evolutionary Theory Evolution simply means change over time. However, physical survival is only important if it eventually contributes to successful reproduction. That is, even if you live to be a year-old, if you fail to mate and produce children, your genes will die with your body.
Thus, reproductive success, not survival success, is the engine of evolution by natural selection. Every mating success by one person means the loss of a mating opportunity for another.
Yet every living human being is an evolutionary success story. Each of us is descended from a long and unbroken line of ancestors who triumphed over others in the struggle to survive at least long enough to mate and reproduce.
List of social psychology theories - Wikipedia
However, in order for our genes to endure over time—to survive harsh climates, to defeat predators—we have inherited adaptive, psychological processes designed to ensure success. At the broadest level, we can think of organisms, including humans, as having two large classes of adaptations —or traits and behaviors that evolved over time to increase our reproductive success. The first class of adaptations are called survival adaptations: In order to survive very cold temperatures, we developed shivering mechanisms the speedy contraction and expansion of muscles to produce warmth.
Other examples of survival adaptations include developing a craving for fats and sugars, encouraging us to seek out particular foods rich in fats and sugars that keep us going longer during food shortages. Some threats, such as snakes, spiders, darkness, heights, and strangers, often produce fear in us, which encourages us to avoid them and thereby stay safe.
These are also examples of survival adaptations. However, all of these adaptations are for physical survival, whereas the second class of adaptations are for reproduction, and help us compete for mates. These adaptations are described in an evolutionary theory proposed by Charles Darwin, called sexual selection theory.
Evolutionary Theories in Psychology
The same can be asked of similar characteristics of other animals, such as the large antlers of male stags or the wattles of roosters, which also seem to be unfavorable to survival. Again, if these traits only make the animals less likely to survive, why did they develop in the first place?
And how have these animals continued to survive with these traits over thousands and thousands of years? The first, intrasexual competition, occurs when members of one sex compete against each other, and the winner gets to mate with a member of the opposite sex.
Male stags, for example, battle with their antlers, and the winner often the stronger one with larger antlers gains mating access to the female. That is, even though large antlers make it harder for the stags to run through the forest and evade predators which lowers their survival successthey provide the stags with a better chance of attracting a mate which increases their reproductive success.
Similarly, human males sometimes also compete against each other in physical contests: Even though engaging in these activities poses a "threat" to their survival success, as with the stag, the victors are often more attractive to potential mates, increasing their reproductive success.
Thus, whatever qualities lead to success in intrasexual competition are then passed on with greater frequency due to their association with greater mating success. The second process of sexual selection is preferential mate choice, also called intersexual selection. In this process, if members of one sex are attracted to certain qualities in mates—such as brilliant plumage, signs of good health, or even intelligence—those desired qualities get passed on in greater numbers, simply because their possessors mate more often.
In all sexually-reproducing species, adaptations in both sexes males and females exist due to survival selection and sexual selection. And both mates value qualities such as kindness, intelligence, and dependability that are beneficial to long-term relationships—qualities that make good partners and good parents.
For example, take female sloths: In order to attract a mate, they will scream as loudly as they can, to let potential mates know where they are in the thick jungle. Now, consider two types of genes in female sloths: In this case, the sloth with the gene that allows her to shout louder will attract more mates—increasing reproductive success—which ensures that her genes are more readily passed on than those of the quieter sloth.
Essentially, genes can boost their own replicative success in two basic ways. First, they can influence the odds for survival and reproduction of the organism they are in individual reproductive success or fitness—as in the example with the sloths.
For example, why do human parents tend to help their own kids with the financial burdens of a college education and not the kids next door?
Understanding gene replication is the key to understanding modern evolutionary theory. It also fits well with many evolutionary psychological theories. Evolutionary Psychology Evolutionary psychology aims the lens of modern evolutionary theory on the workings of the human mind. It focuses primarily on psychological adaptations: One example of a physiological adaptation is how our skin makes calluses.
On the other hand, a psychological adaptation is a development or change of a mechanism in the mind. For example, take sexual jealousy. Third, there is a behavioral output, which might range from vigilance e. Evolutionary psychology is fundamentally an interactionist framework, or a theory that takes into account multiple factors when determining the outcome. In evolutionary psychology, culture also has a major effect on psychological adaptations.
In individualistic cultures, such as the United States, status is heavily determined by individual accomplishments. For example, consider a group project. If you were to put in most of the effort on a successful group project, the culture in the United States reinforces the psychological adaptation to try to claim that success for yourself because individual achievements are rewarded with higher status.
However, the culture in Japan reinforces the psychological adaptation to attribute that success to the whole group because collective achievements are rewarded with higher status.
Another example of cultural input is the importance of virginity as a desirable quality for a mate. Cultural norms that advise against premarital sex persuade people to ignore their own basic interests because they know that virginity will make them more attractive marriage partners.
Rather, evolutionary psychology studies flexible, environmentally-connected and culturally-influenced adaptations that vary according to the situation.
Psychological adaptations are hypothesized to be wide-ranging, and include food preferences, habitat preferences, mate preferences, and specialized fears.
These psychological adaptations also include many traits that improve people's ability to live in groups, such as the desire to cooperate and make friends, or the inclination to spot and avoid frauds, punish rivals, establish status hierarchies, nurture children, and help genetic relatives. Research programs in evolutionary psychology develop and empirically test predictions about the nature of psychological adaptations.
Below, we highlight a few evolutionary psychological theories and their associated research approaches. Sexual Strategies Theory Sexual strategies theory is based on sexual selection theory. It started by looking at the minimum parental investment needed to produce a child. For women, even the minimum investment is significant: For men, on the other hand, the minimum investment to produce the same child is considerably smaller—simply the act of sex.
Because women bear responsibility for pregnancy, they may use different sexual selection strategies than men do. CC0 Public Domain, https: For a woman, the risks associated with making a poor mating choice is high. She might get pregnant by a man who will not help to support her and her children, or who might have poor-quality genes. Children will have a number of models with whom they identify.
These may be people in their immediate world, such as parents or older siblings, or could be fantasy characters or people in the media. The motivation to identify with a particular model is that they have a quality which the individual would like to possess.
Identification occurs with another person the model and involves taking on or adopting observed behaviors, values, beliefs and attitudes of the person with whom you are identifying. The term identification as used by Social Learning Theory is similar to the Freudian term related to the Oedipus complex.
However, during the Oedipus complex, the child can only identify with the same sex parent, whereas with Social Learning Theory the person child or adult can potentially identify with any other person. Identification is different to imitation as it may involve a number of behaviors being adopted, whereas imitation usually involves copying a single behavior. This is because it focuses on how mental cognitive factors are involved in learning. Unlike SkinnerBandura believes that humans are active information processors and think about the relationship between their behavior and its consequences.
Observational learning could not occur unless cognitive processes were at work. These mental factors mediate i. Therefore, individuals do not automatically observe the behavior of a model and imitate it. There is some thought prior to imitation, and this consideration is called mediational processes. This occurs between observing the behavior stimulus and imitating it or not response There are four mediational processes proposed by Bandura: For a behavior to be imitated, it has to grab our attention.
We observe many behaviors on a daily basis, and many of these are not noteworthy. Attention is therefore extremely important in whether a behavior influences others imitating it.
How well the behavior is remembered. The behavior may be noticed but is it not always remembered which obviously prevents imitation. It is important therefore that a memory of the behavior is formed to be performed later by the observer. Much of social learning is not immediate, so this process is especially vital in those cases.
Even if the behavior is reproduced shortly after seeing it, there needs to be a memory to refer to. This is the ability to perform the behavior that the model has just demonstrated. We see much behavior on a daily basis that we would like to be able to imitate but that this not always possible. We are limited by our physical ability and for that reason, even if we wish to reproduce the behavior, we cannot.
This influences our decisions whether to try and imitate it or not. Imagine the scenario of a year-old-lady who struggles to walk watching Dancing on Ice. She may appreciate that the skill is a desirable one, but she will not attempt to imitate it because she physically cannot do it. The will to perform the behavior. The rewards and punishment that follow a behavior will be considered by the observer.
If the perceived rewards outweigh the perceived costs if there are anythen the behavior will be more likely to be imitated by the observer. If the vicarious reinforcement is not seen to be important enough to the observer, then they will not imitate the behavior.
Critical Evaluation The social learning approach takes thought processes into account and acknowledges the role that they play in deciding if a behavior is to be imitated or not.
As such, SLT provides a more comprehensive explanation of human learning by recognizing the role of mediational processes.