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Explain, with examples, how the processes of natural selection and sexual selection are thought to have contributed to modern-day human behaviour

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Introduction

Explain, with examples, how the processes of natural selection and sexual selection are thought to have contributed to modern-day human behaviour Human physical and psychological mechanisms are subject to an environment which is ever changing. Selection enables us to develop and so cope with these random changes by selecting the mechanisms which enable us to cope with these external factors and thus making them much more likely to be inherited by our next generation (Clegg, 2007). It is the survival of the gene to which selection refers to as opposed to the species, for example, the gene which enables the individual to reproduce effectively or the gene that predisposition certain behaviours which are most suitable to it's environment will be passed down to future generations. This means that genes that are less effective for survival or reproduction are less likely to be inherited (Barrett et al., 2002 as cited in Clegg, 2007 p121) It is common practice to divide selection into two process: natural selection; and sexual selection (Clegg, 2007). Natural selection refers to the process of genes which are responsible for physical and behavioural characteristics and are most suitable for survival, being inherited by the next generation. Sexual selection (which could also be argued as being a sub-process of natural selection) refers to the process of genes which influence the physical and behavioural characteristics of an individual that subsequently enables reproductive success, being passed down to the succeeding generation. ...read more.

Middle

These adaptations have had a significant impact on the behaviour of modern-day humans. This includes the act of altruism and the theory of mind. There are criticisms of evolutionary biology however, as using these processes, human behaviour is explained by genetics and it seems to suggest that humans do not act under free will. It is also argued that it does not take into account environmental factors but evolutionary psychologists would reply that it merely suggests that genes predisposition humans to act in certain ways although they would not necessarily always act in these ways. References Clegg, H. (2007). Evolutionary Psychology. In D. Miell, A Phoenix, & K. Thomas. Mapping Psychology (2nd ed., p116). Milton Keynes: The Open University Clegg, H. (2007). Evolutionary Psychology. In D. Miell, A Phoenix, & K. Thomas. Mapping Psychology (2nd ed., p121). Milton Keynes: The Open University Clegg, H. (2007). Evolutionary Psychology. In D. Miell, A Phoenix, & K. Thomas. Mapping Psychology (2nd ed., p121). Milton Keynes: The Open University Clegg, H. (2007). Evolutionary Psychology. In D. Miell, A Phoenix, & K. Thomas. Mapping Psychology (2nd ed., p121). Milton Keynes: The Open University Clegg, H. (2007). Evolutionary Psychology. In D. Miell, A Phoenix, & K. Thomas. Mapping Psychology (2nd ed., p121). Milton Keynes: The Open University. Clegg, H. (2007). Evolutionary Psychology. In D. Miell, A Phoenix, & K. ...read more.

Conclusion

The process will be exactly the same for the second set of numbers, using the same timescales. The only difference will be the independent variable (IV) which is the mnemonic which they should use to aid them in remembering the corresponding number. The difference in scores in the 2 lists will be compared with each other and scatterplot created. The dependent variable (DV) would be the number of four digit numbers recalled in both sessions. A confounding variable could be that the participants have had practice recalling numbers in the first session, and so could potentially score higher on the second set of lists even without the IV. To counterbalance this I would make sure that all 4 digit numbers in the first list are different to those in the second list, or have half the group memorise the first group of numbers first and the other half start with the second list. I could ask them to participate in both the sessions but a day apart, to make sure that practice does not have an effect. However, this could produce it's own confounding variables as the participant could be affected by different levels of mood or differencing amounts of sleep for example. A problem with Interpreting the findings is does it really tell me anything about PIN numbers as it explores 4 digit numbers? Perhaps I should have related each 4 digit number with a credit type card as this shows that they can remember the correct number with the corresponding card. ...read more.

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