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evolutionary psychology

human nature, sex differences, individual differences. Human nature as the product of the evolutionary process.



His contribution was not in observing change over time nor in noticing the adaptive design of mechanisms. Rather he proposed a theory of the PROCESS by which adaptations are created and change takes place over time. Natural selection


hostile forces of nature

events that impede selection: food, diseases, parasites, predators, variants that helped organisms survive these hostile forces of nature led to an increased likelihood of successful reproduction.



inherited solutions to the survival and reproductive problems posed by the hostile forces of nature.


sexual selection

Mating benefits, members of the same sex compete with each other (intrasexual). and Intersexual members of one sex choose a mate based on their preferences for particular qualities.



packets of DNA, smallest discrete unites that are inherited by offspring intact,


Differential gene reproduction

reproductive success relative to others, the genes that reproduce more get passed down at a higher frequency.


The modern evolutionary theory based on differential gene reproduction is called inclusive fitness theory.

Selfish gene, the fact that characteristics that facilitate reproduction need not affect the personal production of offspring. They affect the survival of genetic relatives.

One's personal reproductive success plus the effects you have on the reproduction of your genetic relatives.


evolution filter 3 things

Adaptions, byproducts of adaptions, and random variations.



primary product of the selective process, The focus on reliably developing structure means that an adaption tends to emerge with regularity.
*The emphasis on reliable development suggests that evolutionary approaches are not forms of genetic determinism.
*Environment is critical



environment must be recurrent: venomous snakes must be recurrently dangerous, caves must be protective, etc.


Adaptive problem

is anything that impedes survival or reproduction.


the hallmark of adaption is special design

Efficiency in problem solving, precision, and reliability are critical for special design of an adaptation.

*adaptations are like keys that fit only specific locks.



incidental effects, Nose holding up glasses.


domain specific

specific adaptions for specific locks.



Evolutionary psychologists expect there to be large number of domain specific psychological adaptations to correspond to the large number of distinct adaptive problems humans recurrently confronted.



psychological mechanisms to accomplish particular adaptive goals..
*we can't understand our preferences for certain mates, without inquiring about the function of such preferences.


deductive reasoning

top down, theory driven


inductive reasoning

bottom up, theory is developed to fit the observations.


Hogan: status and acceptance, need to belong

therefore, psychological mechanisms have been evolved to prevent exclusion. This would be the source of social anxiety.

*when resources are linked to group membership, ppl become bonded with the group.

*self-esteem functions as an internal tracking device that monitors social inclusion.


evolutionary predicted sex differneces

sexes will differ in domains where they have faced different adaptive problems.


intrasexual competition: aggression

men more often kill other men, how to expliain?
*parental investment, sexual selection, males compete,
*males are more prone to violence because they are apart of a lone line of effective polygyny.
*the fact that men die 5 to 7 years earlier than women is an example of the intrasexual risk taking strategy.


Effective polygyny

Few males will have lots of kids, some will have none.
some males gain more copulations.
*therefore, this means that it selects for risky strategies, including those that lead to violent combat with rivals.


sexually dimorphic

high variance of reproduction within.
different in size and structure.
Therefore, the more intense the effective polygyny the more dimorphic the sexes. EX: elephant seals, males are 4 times larger than females.



tendency toward aggression, is not directly heritable. rather it is reactively heritable it is a secondary consequence of heritable body build.
*Strength predicts extraversion,


unrestricted mating strategy

man's level of commitment is irrelevant, it is the quality of genes that matter.


balancing selection

occurs when genetic variation is maintained by selection because different levels on a trait dimension are adaptive in different environments.


big 5

about 50% heritable...
Genes also affect occupational preferences, so environment doesn't play a role here.



zero heritability for beliefs in God, involvement in religious affairs, attitudes toward racial integration. Now evidence for heritable influence on religious attitudes.



a genetic proclivity to marry occurs at least in part through heritable personality traits that are desired by potential marriage partners.
Thus the marital satisfaction of both women and men seems partly to depend on the moderately heritable personality dispositions of the wives.


shared and non-shared environment

The SHARED environment has either little or no impact. siblings who share environment, but not genes, 0.05 heritability.
*this means that the critical influences on personality are unique to each person.
Therefore different peer influences could be critical here.


Shared environmental influences

attitudes, religious beliefs, political orientation, verbal intelligence.


genotype- environment interaction

This refers to the differential response of individuals with different genotypes to the same environments. ex introverts and extroverts doing work in a busy room.
*exposure to the same environment produces different effects on personality.

Ex. violent parents may create violent kids if the kid has low levels of MAOA gene


genotype-environment correlation

parents may promote sports in athletic children.
3 kinds:
Passive genotype environment: parents pass on genes and environment, kids do nothing.
Reactive genotypic environment: when parents or others respond to children differently. A child who doesn't like being touched will gradually not be touched anymore.
Active genotypic environment: they seek out environment. sensation seeking may sky dive. (Called niche picking).


molecular genetics

the specific genes associated with personality traits.
Gene: DRD4, codes for dopamine receptor, associated with novelty seeking,
BUT there are problems with replicability in these studies.


environmentalist view

all environment, they worry about missuses of genetic findings. Intelligence is controversial.


motivational psychologists

ask what does someone want? Because motives are internal states that arouse and direct behaviour toward specific objects. these are based on needs, or states of tension within a person.
*Motives can be unconscious
the motive may be thought of as a halfway point between the intrpsychic domain and dispositional domain.


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

1. Phisological (food water)
2. Safety (shelter)
3. Love/belonging
4. Esteem (confidence, respect, achievement)
5. Self-actualization (morality, creativity, acceptance of facts).


What are the pros and cons of learning more about genes?

Pro: screen for unwanted traits (heart conditions), to reduce suffering, prevent predispositions to violence, knowledge over ignorance.
Con: the illusion that we can control the environment, false control of knowledge when we in fact don’t know all the variables, political agenda, pessimism about possibility for change.
Eugenics: design the species, choose desirable traits, to prevent some individuals from reproducing.
*It doesn’t have to be an either or. Even if we did find the bad genes, it does not mean that the environment is powerless.



is the proportion of phenotypic variance that can be attributed to genotypic variance. What ever is not accounted for by genotypic variance, can be accounted for by the environment. (*Heritability is always discussed in terms of group differences.)


Why is heritability not constant?

Because environment is not the same.


Family studies:

genetic relatedness with family members with personality similarity,


Twin studies:

estimate heritability by gauging whether twins are similar. (indentical, monozygotic) *If fraternal twins are just as similar as identical twins, in terms of a personality characteristic, then we can infer that the characteristic is not heritable. (*equal environments assumption: dressing twins in same clothes would have an effect.) Instead, the equal environments assumption simply states that environmental similarity between twins does not have much of an impact on trait similarity.


Adoption studies:

correlations between adopted children and genetic parents. Environment isn’t a factor, so we know changes are due to heritability.
Problems: assume that adopted kids, birth parents, adoptive parents, are representative of population, it assumes that couples who adopt are the same as those that don’t. Another problem is selective placement: similar adoptive parents and birth parents.


Five factor theory and evolution: what advantages to these traits offer?

Extraversion: more social, more access to more potential mates. (who is likely to rise in the social hierarchy; status)
Neuroticism: hyper vigilance would reduce risks at the cost of stress and depression.
Openness to experience: creativity, key for changing environments and solving problems that are new.
Conscientiousness: delayed gratification, goal pursuit.
Agreeable: avoid hostility engage in cooperative behaviour. (loyal to friends and romantic parteners)


Exam: Thematic apperception technique: uses and criticisms: could pictures be used to release a patient’s fantasy’s?

Patients unknowingly reveal their outlook.
Uses: Could be a simple ice breaker between therapist and patient, useful in diagnosing dissociative disorders, and antisocial personality disorder.
Criticism: poor reliability, poor validity, inconsistent therapist interpretation, accidental projection on the part of the therapist, and it can’t predict behaviour. *Also it is culturally inconsistent, beliefs and values create distinct results.


Evolutionary psychology: Limitations:

1. We cannot go back in time and judge the selective forces.
2. Inferences about past environment and selection pressures.
3. Just scratched the surface (ex, jealousy, lack of understanding of the triggers)
4. What was adaptive in the past, is not adaptive in the present.
5. Different and competing hypotheses for the same phenomena.
6. Some hypotheses have been accused of being untestable but it is false, aggression, jealousy are examples.



need is similar to drive. It is a potentiality or readiness to respond in a certain way under certain given circumstances it is a noun which stands for the fact that a certain trend is apt to recur. Needs make us see what we want, ie, they guide perception. Organizes action. Satisfying the need reduces tension.



Press: need relevant aspects of the environment. The need for affiliation won’t affect that person’s behaviour without an environmental press.
Alpha press: is the objective reality, and Beta press: is perceived reality. Perceiving the meaning of what is going on is appception. That is why the thematic apperception test is used. Implied motives are hidden in these tests.
Multi-motive grid: features of thematic apperception test, and self-report questionares.


Murray proposed three big motives:

need for achievement, power, intimacy.
Need for achievement: activities that provide some challenge, personal responsibility for outcome, feedback.
Need for power: is the need to have an impact on other people.
Independence training: is correlated with need for achievement. Kids who have to be independent, and do this on their own, are more inclined to be achievement hunters.


Humanistic tradition:

role of choice, responsibility is critical for a meaningful life. Need for growth, positive and life affirming. * motivation is based on the need to grow. This is in contrast to the other traditions, where motivation is cased by a deficit in something.


motive to self-actualize:

*Maslow. Basic needs are at the bottom of the hierarchy. The needs at the bottom are more pressing that the ones at the top. When you are working on higher needs, your motivation is easily disrupted. Belongingness needs…(Gangs could supply this need,) *the higher goals are more rewarding. *For happiness it does not appear to matter what level a person is working on. Self-actualization satisfaction may not make happy.
Maslow thought that only 1 percent of population was working toward self-actualizing.
Flow: is part of self-actualization, complete involvement, forget time, functioning at full capacity. May indicate the experience of self-actualization.
Esteem needs: esteem from others and self-esteem.


Fully functioning person:

on the way toward self-actualization.


Positive regard:

want to be loved, inborn desire,


Conditions of worth:

requirements to earn positive regard. Positive regard, when it must be earned by meeting certain conditions is called conditional positive regard. Rogers thought that positive regard should be given freely (ie. Unconditional positive regard: you have done something bad, but you are not bad). Here children accept experiences, they don’t deny them.



Emotional intelligence may be more important than IQ.


Client-centered therapy:

the therapist tries to create the right conditions in which the client can change their self. 3 conditions: genuine acceptance, unconditional positive regard (therapist accepts everything without judging), Empathic understanding (client feels understood.)


Formative tendency:

things evolve from simple things.
Enhancement: is to develop through growth.


Actualizing tendency:

Actualizing tendency: refers to whole person,
Self-actualization: to actualize the self as perceived in awareness.
Self-concept: one’s being, one’s experiences, perceived in awareness by the individual.


Rogers levels of awareness:

1. Ignore and denial: denial, mother who doesn’t want kids, is mean to them….
2. Some experiences are accurately symbolized and freely admitted to the self-structure. (You think you’re smart, and someone telling you are smart).
3. Experiences perceived in a distorted form. Experiences are not consistent with our view of the self.


Becoming a person:

Becoming a person: Must have contact with a person.
*Conditions of worth become the criterion by which we accept or reject our experiences.



Congruence: when a person’s organismic experiences are matched by an awareness of them and by an ability and willingness to openly express these feelings. When feelings are experienced, they are neither denied or distorted.
Incongruence leads to vulnerability, when they don’t know there is a problem.



Sympathy is never therapeutic, external evaluation, clients feel sorry for themselves.


successful client centered therapy

Successful client-centered therapy: congruent client, who is less defensive, open to experience.


person of tomorrow

Person of tomorrow: more adaptable, open to experiences, trust in their organismic selves, live in the moment. Living in the moment is existential living. Harmonious relations with others. More integrated. They would have a basic trust of human nature.



OVP: organismic valuing process, natural instinct directing us toward the most fulfilling pursuits. The more fulfilling goals have increased importance.
Intrinsic goals: something satisfying, part of ideal self, will be directed by OVP towards them. No need for rewards, goal is enough.
Extrinsic goals: not inherently rewarding. Motivated by money or prestige.



Defensiveness: is the protection of the self-concept, against anxiety and threat by denial or distortion of experiences inconsistent with it.


critique of rogers

Critique of Rogers: high on Falsification, if-then framework, yes or no; the theory can be extended to a relatively wide range of human personality.



People become disorganized whenever distortion and denial are insufficient to block out incongruence.



Living in a world of present experiences.
Being an active participant is critical. Humans are both good and evil, can create good and evil societies. Balance between freedom and responsibility.
Existence over essence (static immutable substance) People are both subjective and objective, and they must search for truth by living active and authentic lives. We are responsible for what we become. They are against theory, it renders people as objects


being in the world

Being-in the world: german word, Dasein, to exist in the world. AS people gain power over nature, they lose touch with their relationship to the natural world. 3 factors (Umwelt: environment, Mitwelt: interpersonal relations, Eigenwelt: psychological. relationship to self)



When we do not courageously confront our non-being by contemplating death, we nevertheless will experience nonbeing in other forms. Addiction, sex, impulsive behaviours. Nonbeing can also be blind conformity to society’s expectations.
We escape the dread of nonbeing at the expense of a constricted existence. The failure to confront death serves as a temporary escape from the anxiety or dread of nonbeing. Freedom cannot exist without anxiety.


existential anxiety

the problem of fulfilling potential. Guilt is when potential is denied.



Intentionality: meaning to existence, make decisions about the future, without it, people could neither choose nor act on their choice. Bridges gap between subject and object.


love existential

To love, means to care, to recognize the essential humanity of the other person. Care is the source of will.



Will: The capacity to organize one’s self so that movement in a certain direction or toward a certain goal may take place. The goal is to unite love and will.



Eros: is a psychological desire that seeks procreation or creation through an enduring union with a loved one. This is built on philia: intimate non sexual friendship. And this is built on Agape: altruism.


existential freedom

Freedom comes from an understanding of our destiny: an understanding that death is a possibility at any moment.
Existential freedom: freedom of acton


essential freedom

Essential freedom: freedom of being. Inner freedom.


psychopathy, existential

Psychopathy: when people deny their destiny or abandon their myths, they lose their purpose for being, they become directionless. It is a lack of communication, the inability to know others and to share oneself with them.


May therapy

May believed that the purpose of therapy is to set people free. Neurotic symptoms are simply ways of running away from freedom and an indication that patients’ inner possibilities are not being used.


terror management

According to terror management theorists the crux of the denial of our bodily and animalistic nature stems from the existential fear of death and decay of our bodies. Conscious defenses of death, not me, not now. People are motivated by behaviours to fight death, exercise.



Oral stage (birth to 18 months): weaning (withdrawing from the breast or bottle) Theme: dependency. Fixation: Dependent or overly independent
Anal stage (18 months to 3 years): Key conflict: tension reduction vs. self-control. (expect too much or too little) Fixation: Obedient and obsessed with order or anti-authority and chaotic
Phallic stage (3 to 5 years): Sexual organs, Child discovers he has (or that she doesn’t have) a penis. Key conflict: sexual desire directed toward parent of opposite sex. Produces Oedipal (boys) and Electra (girls) conflicts. Resolution = development of superego. Fixation: Over- or under-sexualized
Latency stage (6 years to puberty): psychological rest. Theme: cognitive development
Genital stage (puberty through adult life): genitals. This stage is not accompanied by specific conflict. Theme: creation and enhancement of life. Result of reaching this stage  Mature adult (seldom achieved)



Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
1. Phisological (food water)
2. Safety (shelter)
3. Love/belonging
4. Esteem (confidence, respect, achievement)
5. Self-actualization (morality, creativity, acceptance of facts).


universal emotions

Fear, sadness, anger, disgust, and surprise.



1. Psychic determinism: everything happens for a reason. There is an explanation for all thoughts and behaviours. *there are unconscious mental processes that you are not aware of.
2. Internal structure: (Conscious, preconscious, unconscious)
3. Psychic conflict: The mind is divided, division means conflict. Compromise is critical for impulses. How do you cope without creating anxiety.
4. Mental energy: all activity is driven by psychic energy. Personality change redirects this energy is acceptable ways.


motivated unconscious

Freud argued that unconscious material can take on a life of its own—Freud called this the “motivated unconscious”—material can “leak” into thoughts, feelings, and behaviors


defense mechanisms

1. Repression: avoidance, put it in a cage. These things will come back to haunt you.
2. Denial: deny its existence.
3. Displacement: unconsciously redirecting anger to another object. Road rage.
4. Rationalization: generating acceptable reason for outcomes that seem unacceptable. “I didn’t want to kiss you anyway” ***College students are the most common group for using rationalization.
5. Reaction formation: to silence an unacceptable urge, engage in behaviour of an opposite urge. “Killing them with kindness”
6. Projection: see in others the unwanted traits and desire that we possess. If you lie, you belive that others lie.
7. Sublimation: the healthiest one. Urges re directed into desirable activities. Picasso channeled sexual energy into is painting.


client centered.

Client centered theory 3 features:
1. Congruence (at a certain point people lead a life that is congruent to what they want to be. No gap. Walking the walk. Values guide behaviour.)
2. Unconditional positive regard: learning value through feedback. If the child feels their value is dependent on good actions, they will associate their own value on doing good things. If these two things are pinned, then it encourages lying. Why? Because if they perform a bad action, they will lie to protect their own value.
3. Empathy: connectedness.