Lecture 13: Evolution Of Mental Abilities Flashcards Preview

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***What is fitness in an evolutionary sense?

It is a reproductive success (Relative to direct competitors in the population)


***How might evolution produce a SSDR?

Instinctive behaviour drives responses based on the environment


*Describe the process of inheritance for
Huntington’s disease

Through carrying dominant genes.

*Neurological syndrome which affects development of nervous system has a genetic basic

*mother carries characteristic
-has children --> mum's gene passed on to 1/2 children
*passed on in AUTOSOMAL DOMINANT way
*spread originally by inbreeding
*genetic disease which can pass on - there is a large chance that carriers of syndrome will have children in which Huntington's expressed at high frequencies


*How does inclusive fitness and reciprocation
solve the evolutionary problem of altruism
and other prosocial instincts?

kin selection/Inclusive: Genes are carried through a relative. your relatives are highly likely to share the same genes as you (r)
- an altruistic act confers a cost to the donor, gives a benefit to the recipient, but if they are related, there is a chance that the genes for helpful behaviour will receive the the benefit (but in another person)

Reciprocation: Get altruism received at a later date.
-both donor and recipient benefit in the long term. you give something that is low value to you to someone who values it highly and vice versa

reciprocal altruism:
1. helping someone who doesn't have same genes as you
2. acts can appear altruistic in short term, but if reciprocated later, both donor & recipient benefit in long term
3. giving up something important in expectation of a delayed but greater reward
4. low value to you, but higher value to them
5. exchange of goods and delay in time

note: if you delay a reward, it loses value


*What is the social theory of intelligence in

We process things quicker in a social context (rather than abstract contexts)

social theory of intellect:

Our intellectual abilities & problem solving have evolved from social interactions in small tribes through evolution
*Demands of social context drives evolution of problem solving skills

1. Deception
2. Planning
3. Remembering interpersonal interactions
4. Heirarchical relationships
5. arguing and getting your way


____________ is the study of how an
animal’s behaviour advances its chances of
survival and increases reproductive success.

behavioural ecology


A gene can take multiple forms (alleles)
that produce different versions of the same

genetic polymorhisms


Different alleles can arise spontaneously
via ____________



Within a population, the mixture of alleles
can change over time via

natural selection


How can behaviour increase fitness?

1. Aggression,
2. Infidelity
3. Jealousy,
4 Parental love and attachment.


SSDR stands for?

Species-specific defense responses


Behavioural ecology

1. All animals have certain problems:
-finding food, water, shelter, mates
2. Study of how an animals behaviour improves its chances of survival and reproduction
3. Genetic basis of behaviour


What is evolutionary fitness?

*Survival of the fittest
1. Competition for limited resources
2. Individuals who are best suited to environment will survive
3. These individuals will pass on characteristics via genes


What is psychobiology?

*Genes will influence behaviour in ways that tend to ensure reproduction
*Traits that can increase fitness:
1. Aggression,
2. Infidelity
3. Jealousy,
4 Parental love and attachment.


What is selective breeding of cognitive phenotypes?

Breed rats who made few errors in maze with similar smart rats
Breed rats who made many errors with similar type

*Trying to genetically select for brightness and dullness
*generation after generation, end up with distinct population who were making few errors in maze



Why are honey bees not altruistic?

*have instinct to attack intruders
*they sting, they die
*suicidal instinct can't be beneficial for selection
Those who have this instinct should be bred out rather than those who don't have attack instinct


What are the costs and benefits of evolving a larger brain?

Brain Size selective breeding in guppies
Produces separate populations of guppies w/ big and small brains
Big brain guppies perform better on learning task
However, developing a big brain comes at a cost of energy, food, body size
Females w/ big brain don't invest in reproduction


Explain Mendel's study on inheritance in plants

Certain characteristics passed on
Breed red & white plant together, get pink plant

If you breed pink & pink plant together, 1/2 chance of getting pink, 1/4 chance red, 1/4 white


Cooperation and Fairness in monkeys

*People and some animals are attuned to others cheating
*2 monkeys - one receives cucumber, which it is happy with, until it sees other monkey receive better reward of grape for the same task


you do an altruistic behaviour to someone who is related to you

inclusive fitness


conditions of reciprocal altruism

1. Must have a reasonable chance of
receiving reciprocation,
2. Must be able to delay immediate
3. There is a low cost to donor & high
benefit to recipient,
4. Must be able to remember and punish


Your rela/ves are highly likely to share the
same genes as you (r)

kin selection/inclusive fitness


_____ is a measure
of relatedness



the probability
that a gene in
one individual is
shared by



if it is reciprocated later, both donor &
recipient benefit ________

in the long term


the basis of trade in reciprocal altruism:

1. You give something that is of low value to you to
someone who values it highly
2. They give you something that you value highly
but is of low value to them.
3. E.g., you have excess good A but not enough
good B.
4. They have excess good B but not enough good