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Evolution of Human Nature Exam 4
Creativity, the Evolution of Cooperation, Sexual Selection, Human Mating Systems and Mate Choice
48
Biology
04/24/2012

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Term
Be able to identify some significant events of the Upper Paleolithic era (e.g., what were their societies like, art, etc.).
Definition
Emergence of cave paintings, figurines, etc. And human burials sometimes contained ornaments, tools and other artifacts that may indicate possible status differences. Lion Man, Venus of Willendorf
Term
What were some of the evolutionary milestones of the Neolithic era?
Definition
1) Domestication of wheat and barley in northern Middle East/Black Sea
2) Introduction of rice in south China and southeast Asia around 7000 BC
3) Domestication of corn in Central America around 5000 BCE
Term
Why was the invention of agriculture so important?
Definition
It plays a massive role in population increases. It's capacity to generate discernible surpluses, which freed at least some people to do other things, such as manufacturing specialized guards (enabled people to become specialists).
Term
What is Göbekli Tepe?
Definition
The oldest known human-made religious structure.
Term
What are some of the leading theories regarding the evolution of music in humans?
Definition
Auditory Cheesecake Hypothesis: Music is a byproduct, like cheesecake, it tastes good by taking advantage of existing structures. (Pinker)
Sexual Selection Hypothesis: Just as language evolved as an entertainment machine, to entertain and win over more mates, so did music; music as a fitness indicator. (Miller)
Also, Social Bonding and Coalition Signaling (signaling to other groups that you can kick their butts).
Term
Your brain on music?
Definition
Music activates the reward pathway and results in increased dopamine secretion, but it cannot become addictive. It is also involved with your orbitofrontal cortex, insula, and amygdala.
Term
What is the evidence against ‘pure’ altruism?
Definition
Helping others brings the same pleasure we get from the gratification of personal desire. It's hard to distinguish between the two really.
Term
Know Hamilton’s theory of kin selection and inclusive fitness.
Definition
Kin selection: (inclusive fitness) the person incurs a cost to the self that is offset by the benefit gained by a genetic relative.
Term
What is the logic behind J.B.S. Haldane’s quip that he wouldn’t die for his brother, but that he give his life “for two brothers or eight cousins”?
Definition
Giving your life for the life of 3 kin is an excellent compromise because the genes replicate by 50% more.
Term
What is Hamilton’s Rule?
Definition
You can gain fitness benefits by assisting genetic relatives, provided that the benefits to the recipient outweigh the cost to you.
Term
Research on helping kin?
Definition
Burnstein and colleagues (1994) found that people are willing to help their relatives as a function of their genetic relatedness, especially when it really matters (e.g., saving them from a burning building).
But our willingness to help declined as the potential recipient’s age increases (i.e., were more likely to help infants and the elderly in everyday situations, but were more likely to save infants in life-or-death situations).
Term
What is the norm of reciprocity?
Definition
It is the expectation that helping others will increase the likelihood that they will help us in the future. This suggests reciprocity may increase likelihood of survival.
Term
Know Trivers’s theory of reciprocal altruism.
Definition
It states that a behavior whereby an organism acts in a manner that temporarily reduces its fitness while increasing another organism's fitness, with the expectation that the other organism will act in a similar manner at a later time.
Term
Research on vampire bats.
Definition
Vampire bats remember when someone does them a favor, especially if that favor is not reciprocated (blood swapping), and they shun those who do not pay back the favor!
Term
How does our ‘drug dealing’ example in class summarize the problem of reciprocity?
Definition
How do you get cooperative alliances without trust?
Term
Direct vs. Indirect reciprocity?
Definition
Increased rates of punishment for free-riders and illegal activities that break social norms. Reciprocity shapes economics, it builds exclusive relationships based on trust.
Term
What are some potential evolved adaptations for cooperating (e.g., Why is cheater detection so important, the role of punishment, etc.)?
Definition
Cheater detection is important because each person can gain from cooperating, but each is tempted to
gain the benefit of a partner’s altruism without reciprocating. Thus, we must be able to detect “cheaters” and respond appropriately. This is also why there are increased rates of punishment for free-riders and illegal activities that break social norms. Some other potential evolved adaptations are ostracism and social gossip; reputation becomes extremely important.
Term
What is the research regarding oxytocin’s role in mediated social cooperation and trust?
Definition
An infusion of oxytocin more than doubles the
number of people trusting a stranger, it allows us to treat strangers like family. And, when people give warm smiles and friendly hand gestures their body produces more oxytocin. Oxytocin also dumbs down the amygdala (fear detection).
Term
Why sex?
Definition
Asexual reproduction results in 100% genetically identical offspring, which means if a virus/parogens/pathogens comes along, it would be able to wipe out a whole population, because no variations would stop it. Genetic variation allows for a more adaptive species.
Term
What is the ‘two-fold cost of sex’ hypothesis?
Definition
It means there are 2 sexual reproducers and so only 50% of one producers genes get carried onto the next generation.
Term
What is the Red Queen principle?
Definition
In a competitive, co-evolving world, relative progress ("running") is necessary just for maintenance ("staying put"). Evolving immune systems against parasites and pathogens.
Term
What is Darwin’s concept of sexual selection?
Definition
Sexual selection involves reproductive competition — competition to attract more high quality mates than one’s sexual rivals, to have more high quality offspring. This is evidenced by instances when the sexual attractiveness of a trait outweighs the liability incurred for survival, ex. peacock's tail, deer antlers, etc.
Term
Do you think Darwin ever tried jersey turnpiking?
Definition
Haha no, but it is another example of a behavior to attract more high quality mates involved in sexual selection.
Term
Why are there sex differences in choosiness and underlying factors?
Definition
Females are more choosy, males are more competitive. This has to do with sperm vs. egg.
Term
What is Triver’s parental investment theory?
Definition
Parental Invenstment: Any investment by the parent in an offspring that increases the offspring's chance of surviving (to reproduce), at the cost of the parent's ability to invest in other offspring. Men can have a LOT more offspring than women in their lifetime, and have a higher chance of survival after contributing their genes, they don't need to think about a lot of factors in raising the child, they are less choosy.
Term
Why are there sex differences in attitudes toward casual sex?
Definition
It's all about the subconscious feeling of substantial PI.
Term
Know all the types of mating systems and representative species that we discussed in class.
Definition
Monogamy: Greebs, Royal Albatross
Seasonal Monogamy: Weedy/Lefy Sea Dragon
Polygyny: -Resource Defense: American Alligator
-Female Defense: Sea Turtles
-Male Dominance: Polar Bears
Polyandry: Waddle Jacana Bird (females rock)

Term
Mating systems and sex differences in morphology and behavior?
Definition
Monogamy is associated with similarities in behavior and morphology between both sexes while polygamy is often associated with large sexual differences in morphology & behavior.
Term
Polygyny in ancestral humans? What is the anthropological and comparative evidence (e.g., sex differences in body size, etc)?
Definition
Body size: Monogamous=similar; Polygamous=major differences
Maturation: Monogamous=about the same time; Polygamous=early maturity for females
Reproductive Variance: Monogamous=equal
Polygamous=males have more offspring, a ton of variance
Term
Monogamy – what is the evidence?
Definition
Biparental care, Relative helplessness of human infants, Mate desertion is generally associated with lower
infant survival in foraging cultures, Attachment systems, Mutual mate choice
Term
Understand the importance of context in mating strategies (e.g., time, environment, and individual differences).
Definition
– Personal mate value (“market value”)
– The particular environment that you are in
– The particular values that you hold in high regard
– Particular salient events that have happened in
your life
– The particular period of life you are in
– The temporal duration of the relationship
Term
Be familiar with the adaptive problems women face when selecting a long-term partner and the evolved mate preferences to solve those problems?
a.economic resources, social status, age, intelligence – cues of what?
b.kind, sexual fidelity – cues of what?
Definition
Those are all cues for great resource acquisition, that the man will be able to provide for the mother and offspring, also sexual fidelity means a longer time spent caring for offspring.
Term
Physical features that women find attractive?
Definition
V-shaped backs, tall, strong, athletic, healthy, deep voices.
Term
Findings regarding facial attractiveness? Masculinity vs. femininity?
Definition
During a certain period of menstruation, females prefer more masculine faces.
Term
What is symmetry and what does it reveal about an individual? What is developmental stability?
Definition
Symmetry is a health cue, it suggests developmental stability, as our body grows symmetrically.
Term
What is positive assortative mating? Why is it adaptive?
Definition
It is the preference for similarity of interests and traits (e.g, values, political orientations, intelligence), “Likes-attract-likes”, it ensures cooperative alliance over time.
Term
How does a woman’s personal resources impact her preference for economic resources in prospective mates?
Definition
Even more positively, women with more resources want men with more resources, she is still looking for a similar level of parental investment.
Term
Are men always seeking short-term mating opportunities?
Definition
No, they also get benefits from LTM.
Term
What are some adaptive benefits of a male seeking a long-term strategy?
Definition
Increased odds at attracting a mate (because men willing to commit are viewed as more attractive), Increased paternity certainty, Increased survival of child.
Term
What is paternity certainty?
Definition
Men prefer faithful women.
Term
What do men look for in a mate? Why from a functional explanation?
Definition
Clear skin, facial feminity, higher pitched voices, small ratio of waist to hips, all indicators of: Women of high fertility or reproductive value - women capable of
successfully bearing children
– Signals of youth
– Signals of health
Term
What is the relation between parasite prevalence in the environment and the importance that individuals place on physical attractiveness?
Definition
In those cultures with high parasite/pathogen infestations, physical attractiveness is super important and vice versa.
Term
What does WHR signify and what is the ideal ratio?
Definition
Waist/Hip Ratio: .7 for the hourglass figure
Term
How does men’s mate value influence the types of mates and mating strategies they might pursue?
Definition
They have lower standards when looking for STM.
Term
Brain mechanisms for lust, attraction, and attachment.
Definition
Lust - driven by androgens and estrogens (mostly
testosterone)
Attraction (romantic or passionate love)- driven by high
dopamine and norepinephrine levels
Attachment (the sense of calm, peace, and stability one
feels with a long-term partner) driven by the
hormones oxytocin and vasopressin
- i.e., these increase as attachment increases
Term
Benefits of short-term mating for women.
Definition
- Mate replacement
– Immediate resource acquisition
– Genetic benefits/”good genes”
Term
How does the menstrual cycle impact mate preferences?
Definition
• During the most fertile period:
– Increases in sexual desire
– Increase in sexual fantasies
– Prefer indicators of good genetic quality
Term
Know the studies about preferences for MHC, behavioral dominance, and symmetry.
Definition
MHC genes=immune system genes, and there is a shift in preferences for masculine faces during a certain time in ovulation, along with masculine behavior (socially dominant interactions)