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A2 Psychology Unit 3 Eating Behaviour: Evolutionary Explanations Of Anorexia Nervosa Notes

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A2 Psychology Unit 3 Eating Behaviour: Evolutionary Explanations Of Anorexia Nervosa Notes What You Need To Know: · Evolutionary Explanations, for one eating disorder: Anorexia Nervosa. Evolutionary explanations of anorexia nervosa: Pseudopathology (Crawford, 1998) · A pseudopathology is an illness brought about by an entirely intact adaptive mechanism responding in a modern environment it was not designed for. · In terms of evolution, women strive to be attractive to men. In the past this will have meant being able to provide and carry children; now it means being thin. · The result is that there is an adaptive advantage to being thin. ...read more.


· Therefore, restricting food intake, denial of starvation and hyperactivity could help migration. · Whilst no longer an adaptive response, a very low body weight (e.g. through dieting) may make the body respond as if threatened by famine, and result in anorexia. Controlled infertility (Wasser and Barach, 1983) · Whilst on the face of it an evolutionary disadvantage, stopping menstruation may actually be adaptive. · Women invest a lot in the relatively few children they can have in their lifetime, so that having one in a time of famine is very risky indeed. · Infertility brought about by controlled food intake might have allowed our ancestors to control when they produced children. ...read more.


Caring-for-kin hypothesis (Voland and Voland, 1989) · Anorexics are often very caring and protective of their own families. · Anorexics women often come from extremely protective (even over-protective) families. Being anorexics and therefore infertile produces an additional family helper, providing for advancement of the genetic line vicariously through other children in her family. Evaluation of evolutionary explanations: Given the importance of survival and reproduction in evolutionary theory, eating disorders are puzzling conditions since both are threatened by these disorders. Evolutionary explanations are difficult to prove or disprove scientifically. It is not clear whether one evolutionary explanation is correct or whether they all are; and eating disorders could occur for a number of evolutionary reasons - this is a weakness of the approach. ...read more.

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