Evolutionary Psychology

Topics: Evolutionary psychology, Evolution, Natural selection Pages: 11 (4186 words) Published: March 12, 2013
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that studies the psychological behaviours and adaptations of humans to the changing physical and social environment. It’s basically a combination of evolutionary biology and cognitive psychology. In 1859, Charles Darwin set out his theory of evolution by natural selection as an explanation for adaptation and speciation. He believed that all plants and animals had evolved from a few common ancestors by means of natural selection. The theory is based on the assumption that living organisms face environmental challenges. This means that those who adapt best to the environment will have a greater chance of surviving, having children, and passing on their genes to the next generations. Darwin’s theory of natural selection explains how species acquire adaptive characteristics to survive in an ever-changing environment. According to his theory, those members of a species who have characteristics which are better suited to the environment will be more likely to breed, thus to pass on these traits. Organisms with specific genetic traits that enhance survival are said to be naturally selected. Once study demostrating an adaptive behaviouris that by Charles & Bargh (1999) who investigated the human tendency to mimic the behaviour in another in a social situation. They called this the “Chameleon effect”. The chameleon effect basically refers to the tendency to adopt the postures, gestures, and mannerisms of interaction partners (nonconscious mimicry). As human beings, we mimic eachother due to the desire to fit in and belong (Social glue), therefore having a more chance of survival and less chances of depression. Charles & Bargh (1999) aimed to investigate the occurrence of a chameleon effect in an interview situation. The reserch hypotheisis was that the frequency of participants/ interviewees ‘foot-tapping’ and ‘face-rubbing’ mannerisms will be greater when with an interviewer who taps their foot and rubs their face than with an interviewer who does not demostrate these behaviours. In the investigation, there were two conditions; one, the interviewer displays foot-tapping and face-rubbing mannerisms and the two, the interviewer does not display foot-tapping and face-rubbing. Using the chameleon effect, they argued that unconscious habit of imitating behaviours such as foot-tapping enables rapport-building and social bonding between individuals. Charles & Bargh (1999) discovered significant results, foot-tapping and face-rubbing mannerisms were positively correlated between the interviewer and interviewee. Foot-tapping was more positively correlated and increased by 50%, on the other hand, face-rubbing increased by 20%. This provides evidence to illustrate how mimicry occurs in human beings to a significant level, it therefore supported their hypothesis, stating that unintentional mimicry and imitation facilitates social bonding. Charles & Bargh (1999), had it’s strengths and weaknesses. Strengths of this lab experiment was that ot was standerdized and controlled. Therefore, it was quite accurate and reliable. Also another advantage was that, the participants were not aware of the aim or hypothesis of the experiment, therefore reduced demand characteristics. However, the experiment was based on a western sample, therefore, there may be differences in behavioural pattersn and also it was unethical because tha participants weren’t informed of the study although later on, it was justified to them. Fear? Disgust? It’s all in our genes. Evolutionary psychology helps to explain how we became who we are today. Also tells us much about ourselves, our fears, emotions and cravings. It’s all in our genes, and the lives our ancestors lived generations ago. Dan Fessler, an anthropologist, assists in the effort to understand how the world in which our ancestors evolved forced them to avoid things and others just to survive. His primary area of reserch is the...
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