Essential Evolutionary Psychology
Publication Year: 2010
Subject: Evolutionary Psychology
Essential Evolutionary Psychology introduces students to the core theories, approaches, and findings that are the necessary foundations for developing an understanding of evolutionary psychology. It offers a sound, brief, and student friendly explication of how evolutionary theory has been and is applied in psychology. The book unpicks the very essence of human evolution, and how this knowledge is used to give evolutionary accounts of four of the central pillars of human behavior - cooperation, attraction, aggression, and family formation. It also covers evolutionary accounts of abnormal behavior, language and culture.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Darwin's Argument and three Problems: Heritability, Sexual Selection and Altruism
- Chapter 2: Evolutionary Approaches to thought and Behaviour
- Chapter 3: The Natural History of Humans
- Chapter 4: Brains, Minds and Consciousness
- Chapter 5: Cooperation and Interdependence
- Chapter 6: Families and Parenting
- Chapter 7: Mate Selection
- Chapter 8: Competition, Aggression and Violence
- Chapter 9: Evolution and Language
- Chapter 10: Evolution and Abnormal Psychology
- Chapter 11: Evolution and Culture
- Chapter 12: Some Problems with Evolutionary Approaches
©Simon Hampton 2010
First published 2009
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
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This book is dedicated to Abigail, Susanna, and Edward.[Page vi]
List of Figures[Page ix]
- 1.1 Jean-Baptiste Lamarck 7
- 1.2 Thomas Robert Malthus 11
- 2.1 William McDougall 19
- 2.2The Naked Ape first published in 1967 21
- 2.3 Map of Africa 31
- 3.1 Carolus Linnaeus 39
- 3.2 Cladogram of the primates 41
- 3.3 Meet the Hominids 43
- 3.4 Skeletons of a typical adult male Homo neanderthalis and Homo sapien47
- 4.1 Induction of the neural tube 60
- 4.2 Neural proliferation and migration: the basic sequence of events 63
- 4.3 Schematic of the development and maturation of the human brain 64
- 4.4 Saggital section of the human brain 69
- 4.5 René Descartes and dualism 71
- 4.6 Daniel Dennett 77
- 5.1 Virtual kin altruism 93
- 6.1 Mr Murdstone Syndrome 107
- 7.1 Personal advertisements as indicators of sex differences in mate preferences 121
- 9.1 The wug test 149
List of Tables
List of Boxes[Page xi]
- 1.1 Are you a Darwinian? 2
- 1.2 The difference between processes and mechanisms 6
- 1.3 Formula for kin selection 12
- 2.1 Darwin and Darwinism 18
- 2.2 Objections to evolutionary psychology: eugenics 20
- 2.3 Sex and the savannah: The Naked Ape goes bananas 21
- 2.4 Backwards and forwards: the adapted mind and the adaptive mind 25
- 2.5 A comparision of human behavioural ecology and evolutionary psychology 27
- 2.6 Objections to evolutionary psychology: conservatism 32
- 2.7 Modularity and the motor car 33
- 3.1 Objections to evolutionary psychology: racism 49
- 4.1 Where are you? 58
- 4.2 Timeline for the induction of the neural tube 59
- 4.3 Glia cells 61
- 4.4 Objections to evolutionary psychology: biological determinism 67
- 4.5 Mapping and labelling the brain 68
- 4.6 Category mistakes and absence of mind 72
- 4.7 Information processors 74
- 4.8 The frame problem 75
- 4.9 Brain waves and states of awareness 78
- 4.10 The content of consciousness 79
- 5.1 Objections to evolutionary psychology: pessimism 82
- 5.2 Group selection and the tragedy of the commons 84
- 5.3 Reciprocal altruism, reputation and gossip 91
- 6.1 What is childhood for? 99
- 6.2 Sexual dimorphism 101
- 6.3 Alloparenting and cognitive biases that maintain relationships 104 [Page xii]
- 6.4 Is step-child abuse an adaptation? 108
- 6.5 Parent–offspring conflict during gestation 110
- 7.1 What do women want in men and what do men want in women? 116
- 7.2 Objections to evolutionary psychology: sexism 117
- 7.3 Concealed ovulation and mate value 119
- 7.4 No laughing matter 123
- 8.1 Darwinism in developmental psychology 131
- 8.2 Evolution and feminism 132
- 8.3 Sex and the gendered conventions of play 134
- 8.4 Homicide as a manifestation of competition and aggression 134
- 8.5 The blindness of violence 139
- 8.6 Objections to evolutionary psychology: agency and responsibility 141
- 8.7 Risk, the future and immediate gratification 142
- 9.1 What is language ‘made’ of? 147
- 9.2 Universal grammar 149
- 9.3 Objections to evolutionary psychology: learning 151
- 9.4 The magic number 150 156
- 9.5 The function of male voice picth 158
- 10.1 Variation of form and predictions of behaviour 165
- 10.2 Domain mismatches and predictions of behaviour 166
- 10.3 Frequency-dependent stategies and predictions of behaviour 166
- 10.4 Why worry? 169
- 10.5 Why be concerned about body shape? 171
- 10.6 What am I thinking? 174
- 10.7 How would you behave if you knew you couldn't be punished? 176
- 11.1 Objections to evolutionary psychology: reductionism 182
- 11.2 Objections to evolutionary psychology: historical determinism 183
- 11.3 Do we need a paradigm? 187
- 11.4 Do the social sciences need a paradigm? 190
- 12.1 The sociality account of human brain size 198
- 12.2 Circular arguments 200
- 12.3 Objections to evolutionary psychology: is our thought constrained by biology? 202
- 12.4 Can instincts be given up in psychology? 205
- 12.5 Instincts and habits: the innate and learned 206
This book works on and from the following assumptions. One, that academic psychology and the social sciences are very largely secularised. This means that they do not invoke metaphysical concepts such as god’, ‘gods’, ‘spirit’ or some other conception of a supreme being or grand designer in order to explain how people think and behave. And the second assumption is that psychology and the social sciences embrace a secular view of life and humanity which encompasses a more-or-less explicit acceptance that life forms on earth, including human beings, and that there is at least tacit acceptance that evolution has come about by the process of natural selection.
Subscribing to these assumptions, this book goes one step further and adopts the view that an evolutionary approach to the human mind and human behaviour is fruitful and can compliment other approaches. There are, of course, streams and schools of thought in psychology and social science which have and continue to explicitly exclude evolutionary and biological considerations and explanations. And some proponents of an evolutionary approach have made much of the antagonisms and disputes. Herein the antagonisms and disputes are acknowledged but not given centre stage. Rather, the focus will be the literature which shows us that in psychology, and the social sciences more widely, a Darwinian approach has long been entertained as serious and useful by a visible cohort of thinkers and researchers.
There are advantages to this approach. First of all it encompasses the fact that evolutionary explanations to mind and behaviour are not really new. Evolutionary psychology and allied theoretical viewpoints really ought to be considered as contemporary manifestations of a mature and persistent way of thinking which has an interesting history within psychology and the social sciences. Also, the history can be used as a guide to which have been the more and less useful lines of inquiry. Second, it enables us to see an evolutionary approach as a meta-theory or grand-paradigm rather than as an alternative to many of the specific theories that comprise psychology and the social sciences and which populate general textbooks. A prime objective of this book is to equip readers with a ‘way of seeing’, with a way of thinking about common behaviours. An explicit acceptance of the idea that [Page xiv]humans have evolved can allow us to use the theory to evaluate more specific theories. And a third advantage to seeing evolutionary psychology as part of a long and fruitful tradition is that it enables us to place evolutionary psychology within the wider context of psychology and the social sciences and our attempts to explain ourselves to ourselves. It enables us to contextualise controversy that surrounds evolutionary psychology against the controversy that surrounds any concrete claims that are made about the human condition.
Appreciating the fact that evolutionary psychology is not new, that it can be used as a meta-theory, and that it is bound to be contentious just by virtue of its subject matter may facilitate another objective of this book which is to ‘normalise’ evolution in psychology. What is meant by ‘normalise’ is to make evolutionary theory a part of the fabric of psychology and social science, to make it one of the common-or-garden ways of thinking about thought and behaviour, to make it a part of your intellectual tool box. This objective will have been achieved if this book manages to get its readers to move from an acceptance that it is at the very least highly likely that our brains and minds have evolved to an exploration of what this may mean and to which aspects and facets of human psychology evolutionary theory is most usefully applied. In treating evolutionary approaches as an established school of thought we are hitching it to the claim that the major schools of thought in psychology that have persisted have done so because they are useful in that they describe and explain something about mind and/or behaviour.Evolution and Psychology
As the phrase ‘evolutionary approaches to mind and behaviour’ that I used above suggests, the contemporary scene is comprised of slightly different ways of formulating and addressing hypotheses in what can be called ‘the Darwinian tradition’ or paradigm. We will be looking at the different approaches in Chapter 2 ‘Evolutionary approaches to thought and behaviour?’ and again during the course of the book as and when the differences between the approaches help us to nuance our thinking and appreciation of evidence.
As we will see, the term ‘evolutionary psychology’ is just one of the ways of formulating and addressing hypotheses and it has a specific meaning. However, the term ‘evolutionary psychology’ has been used in the title of the book because it also has a general connotation: the Darwinian tradition of approaches in psychology and the social sciences has come to be most widely labelled as ‘evolutionary psychology’. The title of the book, then, has come about by popular consent. The point to be made is that while adopting the term ‘evolutionary psychology’ the content of the book and the literature it reviews and examines is not constrained by the specific meaning of the term.[Page xv]Aims
This book has been prepared for readers with no prior knowledge of evolutionary approaches to psychology and social science. However, it is assumed that most readers (if not all) will have a more-or-less reliable working understanding of who Darwin was and the basic tenets of evolutionary theory. In light of these considerations the aim of the book is to take the reader to a level whereupon she or he should:
Outline of the Contents
- Be conversant with and confident enough to give an exposition of the fundamentals of evolutionary theory and neo-Darwinism.
- Be able to evaluate arguments which claim an evolutionary basis for common human behaviours and conditions.
- Be able to evaluate the conceptual foundations of research conducted in the name of evolutionary theory.
- Be able to apply the theory to the day-to-day behaviour of individuals, groups and modern society as a whole with a view to generating testable hypotheses.
- Have an appreciation of debates within and objections to a Darwinian approach to mind and behaviour.
The book comprises of 12 chapters. Chapter 1 is an explication of contemporary evolutionary theory, and Chapter 2 is an explication of how the theory has been and is used in psychology and the social sciences. There then follows two chapters which detail what is known about the evolution of humans and an outline of the development and functional structure of the mature human brain. Chapter 3 includes a cautionary tale about the use and abuse of the fossil record and palaeontology, and Chapter 4 explains why some think that the terms ‘brain’ and ‘mind’ refer to very different things. In Chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8 we move onto an introduction to evolutionary accounts, theories and research which purports to explain four central pillars of human behaviour: cooperation, families, mate selection, and aggression. Chapters 9, 10 and 11 address less obvious uses of evolutionary thought, namely, evolutionary accounts of abnormal behaviour, language and culture. And the closing chapter will look at wider objections to the very notion of evolutionary psychology and how evolutionary psychology may develop in the future.Independence and Interdependence of the Chapters
Chapter 1 ‘Darwin's argument and three problems’ is a ‘must read’ if you are not familiar with the theory of evolution by natural selection as it was presented by [Page xvi]Charles Darwin and as it has developed since. I say ‘must read’ for one simple reason: to paraphrase Theodosius Dobzhansky, nothing much in evolutionary psychology makes sense if you are not familiar with the tenets of the theory. Accordingly, nothing much in the rest of the book will make sense if you are not familiar with the ideas expounded in Chapter 1.
Apart from a dependence on Chapter 1 (or existing knowledge that you have which is equivalent to it), the remainder of the chapters should be self-contained and can be read alone and in any order. That said, most chapters contain cross-references wherein ideas and evidence in other chapters are referred to. For example, Chapter 11 ‘Evolution and culture’ begins with a list of examples derived from previous chapters of how evolutionary psychologists invoke social conditions and circumstances to explain how evolved mental mechanisms function in modern environments.Little Extras to Aid Your Learning
Each chapter is prefaced by a list of questions that are addressed in the chapter. The idea behind presenting you with questions before material that provides some answers is to get you actively thinking about what the content of the chapter might be and what sort of purpose it might serve. You may also find that your existing knowledge allows you to have stab at some of the questions. For example, theories that you have encountered and first- and second-hand experience might have left you with the confidence to answer a question such as ‘What do women find attractive in men?’ Some of the questions may bring to mind knowledge that you already have but may have forgotten that you know; e.g. why might an evolutionary theorist broadly agree with the sentiments behind the claim that blood is thicker than water? Also, in such cases you can use the text that follows the questions to check if what you think you know is sound. In those instances where the questions that preface the chapters make no sense or seem very complicated you may need to take a little extra care over the text so to develop your knowledge.
Each chapter is also prefaced by a list of learning objectives. Think of these as targets which the text is supposed to hit, of things I hope you come to understand or be able to do come the end of the chapter. And each chapter is also prefaced by a list of key terms and concepts. You may already have noticed that some terms in the text are in bold. You can also find definitions and examples of these key terms and concepts in the glossary at the end of the book. You may find it useful to look at these definitions before you begin each chapter and as you go along because it may either remind of what they mean, or give you a modest headstart. You will also find that definitions of key terms given in the chapters are worded differently from those given in the glossary. This is not designed to confused but rather to give you two ways of getting to grips with the meaning of key terms.
For a similar reason you will find text boxes dotted throughout the book. Some of these are headed ‘Try it this way’. Experience both as a student and as a lecturer has [Page xvii]taught me that it should be possible to present or explain the same idea in more than one way. This is a good thing because any one given way of explaining something doesn't make sense to everyone. Paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln this time, a given way of explaining or defining an idea will make sense to some people first time, all people sometimes, but it won't make sense to all people every time. Typically through metaphors and analogies the ‘Try it this way’ boxes offer a different way of thinking about concepts. The hope is that if you already get the idea your understanding will be enhanced, and if you don't get the idea the ‘Try it this way’ boxes give you a second shot at it.
You will also find boxes headed ‘Before we continue, ask yourself …’ dotted throughout the book. These boxes are filled with questions that appeal to your own experience and, in most cases, you ought to be able to offer a reply. The purpose of the questions is to link the associated content to your own experience, to show that the text has something to say about the world around you, and to help you tap into yourself as a resource in your own learning. The use of yourself as a resource is possible courtesy of the fact we live, work, and play amongst the phenomenon that psychology and social science studies.The End of the Beginning
It is probable that you have read this far because you have, or are planning to, enrol on a course about evolution and psychology and the relevance of one for the other. The very existence of such courses tells us that the idea that the two are mutually relevant is at large. This fact alone makes this book worth reading. Having read it you may come to the conclusion that evolution can tell you nothing about yourself or others. But I am confident that should you reach such a conclusion you will have been challenged by some of the most thought provoking and powerful ideas in psychology and the behavioural sciences along the way.[Page xviii]
I am indebted to all who have taught me. Special thanks go to those who have encourged me to think a little harder than is my natural inclination – Alfred Newman, Erroll Cooke, Margaret O'Sullivan, Richard Mansfield, Alan Marks, Margaret Mynott, Andrew Wells, Bradley Franks, Robert Farr, Christopher Badcock, Jim Good and Anne Campbell. And I am indebted to those who have created the space in which this book could be written. Special thanks on this count must go to David Howe, Gillian Schofield and Neil Cooper.[Page xx]
Publisher's Acknowledgements[Page xxi]
The author and publishers wish to thank the following for the permission to use copyright material:
We thank David Orban for granting us permission to use Figure 4.6Daniel Dennett.
We thank Elsevier for granting us permission to use material from the following articles:
Figure 1 from Daly, M. and Wilson, M.I. (1994) Some differential attributes of lethal assaults on small children by stepfathers versus genetic fathers. Ethology and Sociobiology, 15: 207–217. Copyright © 1994 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.
Table 1 from Pawlowski, B. and Koziel, S. (2002) The impact of traits offered in personal advertisements on response rates. Evolution and Human Behaviour, 23(2): 139–149. Copyright © 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.
We thank Kathryn Tosney for granting us permission to use Figure 4.1Induction of the Neural Tube. Garrett, B. (2009) Brain and Behaviour: An Introduction to Biological Psychology (2nd edn). SAGE Publications Inc. Courtesy Kathryn Tosney, University of Miami.
We thank Pearson for granting us permission to use Figure 4.2Neural Proliferation and Migration. Toates, F. (2001) Biological Psychology: An Integrated Approach. Harlow: Prentice Hall.
We thank SAGE Publications for granting us permission to use Figure 4.4Saggital Section of the Human Brain. Garrett, B. (2009) Brain and Behaviour: An Introduction to Biological Psychology (2nd edn). SAGE Publications Inc.[Page xxii]
actual domain The current physical and social environment in which evolved adaptations operate. To be compared to natural domain.
adaptation Any more or less discrete physical, physiological or psychological characteristic that has arisen through natural or sexual selection in order to solve a problem more-or-less related to development, survival or reproduction. For example, your eyes are an evolved adaptation to the problem of negotiating yourself through space and identifying objects and persons as you do so.
adapted mind Often associated with evolutionary psychology, the view that the human mind comprises a suite of more-or-less inflexible adaptations to past environments.
adaptive mind Often associated with human behavioural ecology, the view that the human mind is a more-or-less flexible computational device orientated towards the maximisation of inclusive fitness.
African Eve See out of Africa hypothesis.
allele Refers to a form of a gene which can be identified by its location on a specific chromosome. The total set of alleles comprises all forms of a gene which are thought to code for a particular process or characteristic.
altricial Refers to the state of development or maturity of an animal at the point of birth. Human neonates are profoundly altricial in comparison to other mammals and primates. It has been suggested that we do not catch up to something like the altricial norm for primates until we are about six months old.
altruism It is notoriously difficult to provide an example of true altruism wherein something is given and absolutely nothing is gained – not even a private sense of satisfaction that one has been of assistance to another. Accordingly, for present purposes the definition is given as a behaviour that is selfless in that the net cost is greater than the net gain.
[Page 212]anisogamy Reproduction initiated by the union or fusion of two sex cells which are markedly different in size and/or form.
anorexia nervosa A clinical term referring to disordered thought and behaviours which focus on an obsessive fear of gaining weight.
anthropomorphism The tendency to impute human characteristics, feelings and/or dispositions on non-human animals, plants or objects. For example (and at the risk of offending the reader) you may know persons who describe their pet as being human-like in terms of its personality, emotions, likes and dislikes.
antisocial personality disorder A clinical condition characterised by deceit, manipulation of others for selfish purposes, and a persistent disregard and violation of what would be considered to be the rights of others in the context. See psychopathy and sociopathy.
anxiety disorder An unpleasant emotional state characterised by apprehension which is not specifically focussed on a person(s), social setting(s) or object(s).
apoptosis Also known as programmed cell death (PCD), this is part of the developmental and maturation process for most animals species and it involves cell death which is controlled by the cell itself. This feature has encouraged the notion that during apoptosis cells commit suicide.
atavistic The Latin root of this term is ancestor and it refers to a psychological or behavioural state that is said to be archaic and/or an exemplification of a previous form. Comparable to the notion of ‘regression’ wherein we might as adults behave as we did as children, we are atavistic when as Homo sapiens we behave as we would have as a prior evolutionary form.
Australopithecus A genus of the family Hominidae. Including the species Australopithecus afarensis, africanus and boisei, this is the genus which is thought to be that which evolved from something akin to extant chimpanzees and into the superfamily Homo.
autism A spectrum of psychological and behavioural disorders characterised by impairments in social interaction, verbal communication and repetitive behavior, all of which tend to be exhibited before a child is three years of age.B
background anxiety Refers to persistent unfocussed worry which impacts on the ability to engage with and participate in whatever would seem to the sufferer as ordinary and desirable behaviour and interaction.
[Page 213]behaviourism A movement in psychology prompted by Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), promoted by John Watson (1878–1958), promulgated by Frederic Skinner (1904–1990), and underpinned by the conviction that behaviour can be scientifically measured whereas thought cannot, that prior experience determines current response, and that behaviour can be controlled and shaped by various forms of conditioning via rewards and punishments.
biological determinism A doctrine which supposes that biological objects can be accounted for in scientific cause-and-effect terms and as biological objects this is true of humans and their thought and behaviour. One difficulty with doctrine is that it is not clear that any well-established school of thought in psychology subscribes to it in bald terms. See also determinism.
bottle-neck theory Refers to the idea that modern humans came about courtesy of a significant reduction in the population of our immediate predecessors wherein a relatively small number survived some or another catastrophic event and the possibility of evolution came about because new advantageous mutation could come to fixation in a small population.
Broca's aphasia Also known as non-fluent or production aphasia, those who suffer from this condition exhibit produce meaningful speech but it is produced slowly and the grammar is truncated.
bulimia nervosa An eating disorder wherein a person eats excessively and then seeks to purge themselves of the food via vomiting and/or the use of laxatives because they are fearful of weight gain and obsessed with their body shape.C
chromosome A string of DNA which can be divided into genes. In humans the nucleus is most cells contain 23 three pairs of such strings.
Cinderella Syndrome Refers to the claim that step-parents offer or provide relatively limited parental care.
circularity This term refers to particular type of argument whereupon the conclusion reached is presupposed by one or more of the proposition or statements deployed to support it.
classical cascade A way of deconstructing the general enterprise of cognitive psychology into three more tractable and mutually compatible problems or tasks. Resting on the assumption that the mind is instantiated in the brain, the three tasks are the problem the [Page 214]mind/brain needs to solve, the algorithmic procedure that solves the problem and the nature of the machine or device that can run the algorithmic procedure.
cognitive niche Used most often in discussions about the evolution of language and the claim that language is an adaptation this term refers to the mental environment that amounted to an adaptive problem for our ancestors wherein they needed to respond in an organised manner to the thought of the social group.
competitive replacement The process wherein one (or more) species are ousted from an ecological niche by another species which is better at exploiting the resources in the environment.
computational metaphor The idea that thought is akin to a programme such as those we design and use with digital computers. The metaphor holds that the thought is like a programme and brain is like a digital computer.
conceptual integration A project aimed towards making physical, biological, psychological and social sciences consistent with one another. See reductionism.
creole A grammatically sophisticated language which is a hybrid of two or more languages of a grammatically sophisticated development of a pidgin language.D
Darwinian fitness The total direct reproductive success of an organism as measured by the number of offspring produced in comparison to the local average. The concept can also been explained as being the number of genes from a given genotype present in the next generation in comparison to the local average. To illustrate, you may wish to consider how many children a group of persons have, calculate an average, and then compare each member of the group to the average in order to assess their Darwinian fitness.
Darwinism The body of theory and evidence which licenses the claim that all life forms are a product of evolution and nothing else.
design stance The view that any given organism, or part therein, can be analysed in terms of what it is for and what its purpose is. Taken as a whole, evolutionary theory tells us that any given organism is designed to reproduce and in the process clone its DNA. Seen in parts, the design stance tells us to explain how any given component of the whole facilitates the general enterprise.
determinism A doctrine which supposes that if everything has a particular cause (i.e. there are necessary and sufficient conditions that bring about any given event) then provided the conditions that comprise the cause hold then the effect is inevitable.
[Page 215]direct aggression Delivery of a stimuli which has fitness negative consequences from one person to another.
distributed abnormalities Behaviours and/or patterns of thought that are selected for and adaptive when present in normal amounts or expressed in normal ways but also vary in their expression from individual to individual. If a given adaptive response is rarer than the norm or more common then either may result in fitness reducing outcomes.
domain mismatch A disjunction between the environment to which a trait or characteristic is adapted and that which it now operates.
dominance hierarchies Describes the ranking system in a social group wherein each organism has a place and this place (or rank) goes some way towards determining its access to resources needed by and available to the group. While the establishment of a hierarchy may entail aggression it is also thought that once settled a hierarchy also prevents aggressive competition.
dominant gene Refers to alleles that are expressed in the phenotype. Examples of dominant alleles in humans include those that code for brown eyes, dark hair, curly hair, dimples and freckles.
double aspect theory Claims that the mental and the physical are two parts of the whole that we call a person or a personality.
double dissociation Refers to a situation wherein it is supposed and can be shown that two functions are independent of one another. To show this one must be able to stipulate that of two functions one can remain in tact while the other is impaired and vice versa.E
effective polygyny A situation whereupon the variance in reproductive success is greater for one sex – almost always the males – than for the other.
eliminative materialism (Also known as eliminativism) argues that our intuitions about mind and its nature (especially those endorsed by dualism) are wrong and that we need to replace mental-speak and terminology with a technical lexicon that is derived from and consistent with neurology and cognitive neuroscience.
encephalisation Refers to growth in human brain size over the past c. two million years.
Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation (EEA) All of the past selection pressures which have brought about the adaptations of which we are currently comprised.
[Page 216]epidemiological culture The socially acquired set of practices and patterns of thought that distinguish groups of persons as being of a particular society.
epigenetic failure Abnormalities or disorders of a physical or behavioural nature that arise through the dependence of genes on environments.
error management theory Refers to the idea that when faced with making decisions we are biased towards the option which would reduce the likelihood of negative fitness consequences. The theory predicts that we choose a cautious option if the cost of getting a decision wrong is high. On the other hand, we might choose an ambitious option if the cost of getting the decision wrong is low. In both instance we manage the cost of error.
ethology The observational study of animals in their natural setting.
evoked culture The environmentally contingent set of practices and patterns of thought that distinguish groups of persons as being of a particular society.
evolutionary arms race Circumstances wherein adaptations which serve to exploit con-specifics or other species trigger an adaptive response designed to offset the advantage. Dimorphism in body size between the sexes illustrates the idea of an arms race. For example, human males do not need to be about 20 per cent larger than human females for any reasons directly associated with development, maturation, reproduction and survival: the fact that females can get by demonstrates this. It must be the case that human males are as large as they are because being big pays – very probably in terms of direct physical aggression against same sex rivals. The logic is that being bigger begets itself because it is self selecting.
evolutionary psychiatry An approach to mental illness and clinical disorders which seeks to establish a normative depiction of mental functioning by asking what mind and mental states – including those we often take to be abnormal and in need of remedy – are for in evolutionary terms.
evolutionary psychology Generally speaking, explanations of thought and behaviour which frame humans as animals shaped by natural selection and motivated to reproduce. More precisely, the term refers to a combination of evolutionary theory and cognitive psychology which sees the human brain as an information-processing machine which solves the problems of survival and reproduction faced by our ancestors over the past six million years.
evolutionary stable strategy Abbreviated as EES, this term arises from game theory and refers to a way of behaving and/or a behavioural tactic which is robust against invasion from another strategy. For example, ‘tit-for-tat’ is a strategy for reciprocal exchange wherein the policy is to return favours given but not engage in exchanges with those who [Page 217]have not returned favours in the past. Tit-for-tat is said to be stable against others strategies and, accordingly, it could offer us a model of reciprocal altruism.F
female choice Refers to the observation that in most species, and typically in mammals, females are the gatekeepers of the sexual act and signal to a willing males that copulation is available.
fitness The total reproductive success of an organism.
fitness tokens In line with the idea that the general problem of reproduction break up into tens, hundreds, even thousands of smaller problem's which, if solved, will result in reproductive success, fitness tokens can be seen as problems solved and points scored towards the overall goal. Examples of fitness tokens could be good-quality food, a reciprocal alliance and a safe haven.
fixed action pattern Refers to a functional sequence of behaviours which is typical of a species and is triggered by a specific stimulus.
four whys An analysis heuristic used by biologists wherein physical and behavioural phenomena (e.g. the eye, or species typical attachment exhibitions) are considered in four different ways, each of which answers a particular sort of ‘how?’ or ‘why?’ question.
- Phylogenetic questions – how has the behaviour/physiological system/phenomenon developed through natural history?
- Ontogenetic questions – how does the behaviour/physiological system/phenomenon develop/mature through the life span?
- Functional questions – what is the purpose of the behaviour/physiological system/phenomenon?
- Mechanistic questions – how does the behaviour/physiological system/phenomenon work?
frequency dependent abnormalities Seemingly maladaptive mindsets and/or behaviours which are rare but maybe stable in terms of relative numbers of sufferers in a population. See frequency dependent selection and frequency dependent strategies.
frequency dependent selection The process whereupon a given characteristic or behaviour is favoured by natural or sexual selection by virtue of it being atypical.
frequency dependent strategies Fitness-enhancing patterns of thought and/or behaviour that work as a function of their relative rarity in comparison to all other patterns of thought and behaviour in the population.
function The purpose of the characteristic in question
[Page 218]future discounting The proposal that under certain circumstances the adoption of what appears to be a myopic, or short-sighted, short-term, strategy may be the rational option in overall fitness terms.G
game theory This involves the formal and abstract modelling of behaviours which are then set against one another in some form of competition. The idea is to examine which patterns of action would do best against other patterns of action over time and multiple iterations.
gamete Refers to a sex cell which carries a random half of the alleles from the donor. Human male gametes are sperm. Human female gametes are ovum.
genes Stretches of DNA comprising instruction for the neucleotide sequence for a single protein.
genetic leash The idea that our genes constrain the types and form of culture we are able to create and sustain.
genotype The set of genes carried by an organism, arranged on chromosomes, following meiotic recombination.
gossip hypothesis The claim that the root function of human language is to exchange information about salient and pertinent other in our social groups.
group selection A theory which supposes that the unit of selection is a breeding population. This supposition carries the implication that members of the group will behaviour in accordance with what is best for the group as a whole.H
handicap principle Sexual selection theory (see sexual selection) tells us that physical and/or behavioural characteristics that appear to mitigate against survival may facilitate reproduction (e.g. the peacock's tail). The handicap principle goes a little further and claims that some physical and/or behavioural characteristics are selected for because they advertise the fact that the bearer can survive the negative impact and that this is itself appealing to the opposite sex. Excessive and apparently pointless risk taking in young males may be just such an example.
heritability When a characteristic is said to be subject to inter-generational transmission.
Holocene A period in geological and natural history which began about 12,000 years ago and continues through to the present time. In anthropological term it is sometimes referred to in order to mark out the beginning of agriculture.
[Page 219]holophrastic phase Refers to the use of a single word to convey complex meaning, intention, or desire. For example, a child may say ‘me’ when pointing at an object. What the child means is ‘I want that’, or ‘Give that to me’, or ‘That belongs to me’.
hominid Refers to any organism which we typically call a ‘great apes’. The great apes include extant orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and all extinct humans forms as well as ourselves.
Homo Meaning ‘human’ this term encompasses the bipedal species that appeared about two million years ago in eastern Africa.
human behavioural ecology Working from the assumption that human seek to optimise their reproductive success this discipline, or approach within the Darwinian tradition, favours a comparison of models of how the goals of reproductive success might be achieved in particular physical and social environments and observed behaviours.
humaneering The idea that the psychological and social sciences ought to be able to provide theory and information geared towards improving human lives.
hunter-gatherer A labelled applied to groups whose means of subsistence involves a combination of capturing animals and gathering vegetable foodstuffs (see also scavenger-gatherer).I
identity theory Refers to the claim that the mind and the brain are one and the same thing. On this account anything that can be said to be true of one is true of the other.
imprinting Refers to a form of learning which is sensitive to the state of maturation and development of the organism. The proposal is that a certain sort of stimulus need to be present, or a certain type of event needs to take place at a certain point in the organisms maturation for a cognitive ability of behaviour to develop normally.
in-group A collective of persons who as part of their sense of self and self-identity shared component.
inclusive fitness Refers to total reproductive success of an organism as measured by the number of offspring directly produced and indirectly produced by related others. The concept can also been explained as being the number of genes that are identical to a given genotype present in the next generation in comparison to the local average. To illustrate, you can calculate your own inclusive fitness by adding up how many offspring you, your parents, your siblings, your cousins, your grandchildren and, indeed, anyone who you know you share genetic material with have.
[Page 220]indirect aggression Refers to a harmful act precipitated by one onto one or more others wherein the act is delivery via oblique means and, in the current context, has negative fitness consequences for the victim. Examples of indirect aggression is include malicious gossip and social ostracism.
inheritance The passing of something from one generation to its successor. In biology that which is passed are genes through sexual reproduction.
inheritance of acquired characteristics See Lamarckism.
instinct debate Collection of views centred on an attempt to ground psychology in Darwinism which persisted from about 1890 to about 1930. The enterprise attempted to establish a widely accepted definition of the term ‘instinct’, and an attempt to list the instincts of humans.
intentional stance A way of explaining and predicting the behaviour of animate objects and animals which is facilitated by assuming that behaviour is driven by beliefs about the world and desires about goal states.
intentionality An irreducible property of thought and certain designed objects wherein the thought (or mental state) or object is about something other than itself: the thought or object is orientated and configured in the way that it is because it represents something outside or other than itself.
inter-sex selection Preferences expressed by one sex for members of the other. Iteration of such preferences over time leads to selection for the desired characteristics or traits.
intra-sex competition Rivalry amongst same-sex members of a group for resources such as mating opportunities.J
jealousy A state of mental discomfort or pain centred on a suspicion, fear or knowledge that another has something one coverts.K
kin selection theory Also known as kin altruism, refers to the claim that related organisms (i.e. those that share genetic material) may behave in a more-or-less selfless manner toward one another wherein the cost to direct Darwinian fitness is balanced by the reward of indirect inclusive fitness.[Page 221]L
Lamarckism Refers to a theory of evolution by acquired characteristics. The idea is that the frequency of use of a limb, muscle and/or organ impacts not only on its own characteristics but also on the nature of the muscle and/or organ in an organisms offspring. On this view change in species over time occurs because offspring can inherit physical, behavioural and psychological characteristics acquired by their progenitors during the course of their lifetime. The suggestion with respect to giraffes, for example, is that because they can only survive by eating leaves high up in trees they stretch their necks to access leaves and the resultant stretched neck is bequeathed to subsequent offspring.
language acquisition device This is said to be neurological machinery which allows humans to hear, identify, comprehend and produce language.
language competence This term refers to knowledge of the rules (or syntax) and the words (lexicon) that govern and comprise a linguistic or communicative system.
language performance This term refers to the actual production of speech. It give an indication of but does not necessarily provide a reliable guide to language competence.
law of dominance Also known as Mendel's first law of inheritance, this states that in a hybrid union between sexual reproducing organisms of the two alleles only one will be expressed in the phenotype. The expressed allele is called dominant. That which is not expressed is called recessive. It needs to be noted that while dominance can been seen at work in many traits, in many species there are cases where dominance is incomplete or absent.
law of independent assortment States that in a hybrid union between sexual reproducing organisms pairs of alleles separate independently when gametes are formed and that his applies to both sexes. The outcome is that the traits transmitted to offspring are independent of one another.
law of segregation States that in a hybrid union between sexual reproducing organisms pairs of alleles randomly separate or segregate when gametes are formed and that this applies to both sexes. The outcome is a random half of all the alleles of both parents unite at fertilisation in the new embryo.
life history theory A way of looking at what fitness issues face organisms over the life course.M
maladaptive Any behaviour that reduces inclusive fitness (see inclusive fitness).
[Page 222]marginal strategies see frequency dependent strategies.
mate choice The decision an organism makes with regard to reproductive partner(s). Sexual selection theory suggests that in mammalian species, including our own, females have greater control of such decisions than do males.
mate guarding Behaviour which shields and/or protects a reproductive partner from conspecifics who seek mating opportunities with him/her.
mate value The overall appeal of an organism as a reproductive partner to members of the opposite sex in a breeding population.
materialism The view that there is nothing over and above physical matter and energy in the world and the universe. In psychology this view lead to the claim that there is not anything called mind’ if such a term implies something other than physical matter.
maternal certainty The implicit or explicit knowledge that a female has concerning whether she is or is not the biological progenitor of any given organism.
mating mind hypothesis The claim that sexual selection is responsible for those seemingly unique properties of human psychology such as language, artistic creative or narrative imagination.
mating strategies The patterns of behaviour that comprise the mating system for a species. Typically, males and females exhibit different patterns, and each sex may exhibit a different pattern over the life course.
mating systems This term refers to the ways in which sexual reproducing species are organised in terms of the patterns of interaction between males and females. A given mating system indicates which males mate with what females in which way (see mating strategies).
metaculture Refers to the goal-orientated practices exhibited by all peoples and groups.
meta-theory A theory which spawns and may comprise a number of sub- or more particular theories. For example, we can think of Marxism as a meta-theory of historical change from which any number of more specific theories can be derived to explain particular phases of history in particular locations. We can see evolutionary theory as a meta-theory which explains how life forms reproduce and change and from this theory we can derive more specific theories to explain the behaviour of particular species, and particular aspects of their reproductive behaviour.
[Page 223]memes Ideas or units of information as exemplified by axioms, maxims, musical tunes, designs and instructions that can be transmitted from person to person and can mutate, vary and compete in a manner analogous to genes.
metaculture This term refers to the trans-historical and geographical constituents of human cultures; the habits, preoccupations and phenomenan of interest to all known cultures.
mind–body problem The problem concerns the relationship and manner or interaction between thought and the brain given that it is clear that there is a dependency of one upon the other.
mismatch abnormalities Abnormal mindsets and/or behaviours which arise from a disjunction between the environment which selected for a psychological adaptation or trait and the environment in which the adaptation or trait now operates.
modularity The claim that the human mind comprises discrete parts which perform discrete functions.
monogamy A mating system wherein the sexes form a single life-long pair bond.
moral responsibility If we are free to choose how to behave, and if we are able to discern what is right and what is wrong with regard to the welfare and rights of others, then we can be held to account for our actions and judged according to their consequences. If we are not free to choose because our behaviour is determined by forces beyond ourselves then we cannot be held to account.
multi-regional hypothesis A claim supported by a minority of scholars and researchers which suggests that extant modern humans evolved not from a single common stock but from geographically isolated groups of a predecessor species.
mutation Refers to a change in the DNA sequence of a gene which results in a change to the protein coded for by that gene.N
natural domain The physical and social environment to which we are adapted. To be compared to the actual domain as part of domain mismatch theory.
natural selection The process which brings about and shapes species courtesy of some organisms exhibiting features which better enable it to survive and reproduce, and pass those features onto succeeding generations.
[Page 224]nepotism Preferential treatment afforded or a positively biased assessment of family members.O
ontogenetic abnormalities Within the confines of evolutionary psychiatry this term refers to maladaptive ways of thinking and/or behaving that result from problems during the maturation and development of the brain. The abnormality is said to be explicable in evolutionary terms because that which fail to mature and develop is part of the normal cognitive repertoire for humans.
ontogeny The process and pattern of maturation and development typical of any organism of a species following conception.
out of Africa hypothesis Refers to the claim that modern humans are the descendants of Homo sapiens which evolved in, and subsequently migrated out of, Africa and colonised the globe. Also known as the African Eve, Mitochondrial Eve and African Replacement hypothesis.
over-extension A characteristic of children's speech wherein one word is used to refer to all things that share a single property. For example, the use of the word ‘car’ to refer to all four-wheeled vehicles.P
palaeoanthropology See palaeontology.
palaeontology Archaeological and geological science which studies the fossil remains of organisms and related artefacts. In the context of this book the fossils of interest are those of organisms thought to be the near and far ancestors or modern humans which indicate how those ancestors behaved and what their cognitive abilities might have been.
paradigm The set of supposed ‘truths’ that comprise the knowledge base in a given discipline and govern how research is conducted. For example, in psychology and the social science psychoanalysis, behaviourism, structuralism and functionalism maybe thought of as paradigms in that they are ways of seeing and interpreting though and behaviour. The erm was made common and popular in the history, philosophy and sociology of science in the 1960s and 1970s following the publication of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962, University of Chicago Press, London and Chicago) wherein Kuhn argued that the history of science can be characterised as being a series of changes in prevailing belief systems. More latterly the term paradigm has been used to refer to more modest sets of belief or practice. For example, very particular techniques such as grounded [Page 225]theory in qualitative research, or particular theories of memory such as the three-stage model (wherein we are said to have sensory short-term and long-term memory stores) may be referred to as paradigms.
parent–offspring conflict Explicit or implicit antagonism between progenitor and progeny which results from differing fitness interests. For example, a child might seek to secure more of its parents’ attention in its own interests than parents wish to give given their own reproductive interests.
parental certainty The knowledge (presumed to be implicit in species other than humans and explicit in humans) that any given member of the same species is one's offspring. Human females are said to enjoy maternal certainty by virtue of the birthing process. Human males are said to suffer paternal uncertainty for the same reason.
parental investment Any time or resources that an organism devotes to the care of an offspring that it could otherwise devote to activity related to reproductive success.
phenotype The expression of the genotype. The physical make-up coded for by dominant genes in the environment in which the coding takes place.
phylogeny The evolutionary history of a species and its adaptations.
physical stance The view that any given object, or part therein, can be analysed in terms of it physical make-up and properties, and that an understanding of its make-up and properties will allow us to explain and predict its behaviour.
pidgin A grammatically simple language which comes about when persons speaking distinct languages develop a system of rudimentary communication or a grammatically simple language invented by children. Pidgins form the basis for creole languages.
pleistocene A period in geological and natural history which began about two million years ago and ended about 12,000 years ago when superseded by the Holocene period. For current purposes its importance comes in relation to its mapping onto the appearance of the genus Homo and the advent of hunter-gathering.
pliocene A period in geological and natural history which began about five million years ago and ended about two million years ago when superseded by the Pleistocene. For current purposes its importance comes in relation to its mapping onto the appearance of the genus Australopithecus at one end and the appearance of the genus Homo at the other.
polyandry A mating system wherein one female forms a mating bond with two or more males who do not form a mating bond with other females.
[Page 226]polygyny A mating system wherein one male forms a mating bond with two or more females who do not form a mating bond with other males.
post-natal depression A form of depression suffered by new mothers and characterised by flattered emotional affect, lethargy, anxiety, low self-esteem and a sense of powerlessness which appears to be triggered by the birth of the child.
poverty of the stimulus A rejoinder to the claims of behaviourism which argues that any and all behaviours can be learned courtesy of sensory information provided by the environment. Instead, it is claim that certain cognitive abilities and behaviours – notably language – exhibit a sophistication and novelty that goes beyond what could have been derived from sensory information.
promiscuity A mating system wherein no ongoing pair-bonds are formed between mating couples.
proper domain (In contrast to actual domain) this term refers to the physical and social environment for which and to which an adaptation has been selected.
protolanguage The known or supposed predecessor of a known language or set of related languages. In this context, it is supposed that the innumerable fully fledged languages exhibited by humans through history developed from a less sophisticated form of language that may be thought of as a prototype.
psychopathy Often and informally used interchangeably with sociopathy and anti-social personality disorder, in this volume the term has been used to refer to a psychological condition wherein a person exhibits selfish cheating in social relations and this behaviour pattern may be an example of a frequency dependent strategy at the level of the gene.R
rand K selection Refers to a way of conceiving of and placing in comparison the amount of parental investment that different species, sexes within species, or even different organisms of the same species and sex exhibit. r selected species provide little or no investment in offspring. K selected species provide lots. r selection is about quantity. r selected organisms produce multiple offspring, few of which survive. K selection is about quality. K selected species produce few offspring, many more of whom survive in comparison. In species that are K selected offspring are relatively immature and vulnerable at birth, and, undergo a long period before puberty. Consequently, the more K selected a species is the more there is a need for parental investment.
racism The belief that there are pronounced and demonstrable biological differences among human races.
[Page 227]recessive gene Refers to alleles that will be not be expressed in the phenotype if the allele it is paired with is dominant. Examples of recessive alleles in humans include those that code for blue and green eyes, blond, red and straight hair, and thin lips.
reciprocal altruism A form of exchange wherein two actors swap favours that amount to a cost to one and a benefit to the other in terms of reproductive success. Iterations of such exchanges are mutually beneficial over time.
reductionism Subscription to the view that any given phenomenon could and should be explained in terms of its constituent parts, and that these constituent parts, treated as phenomena, can themselves be explained in terms of their constituent parts, and so on until all is explained in as atomistic a level of detail as possible.
releasing mechanism A term largely restricted to ethology which refers to a hypothetical psychological property which when presented with a particular stimulus triggers a particular behavioural sequence. See fixed action pattern.
reproductive success All and any behaviour which results in the genes that comprise an individual replicated. The most obvious a direct form of such replication is in the form of direct descendants (i.e. offspring), but it can also come in the form of indirect descendants such as nephews, nieces and grandchildren.
runaway selection Refers to a process wherein sexual selection is at work and is used to explain exceptional instances of characteristics which militate against survival or appear to be unnecessarily elaborate or metabolically costly. The notion of ‘runaway’ is invoked to illustrate how once inter- or intra-sex selection comes into play a characteristic which effectively and directly aids reproductive success can become grotesquely exaggerated over time.S
scavenger-gatherer A labelled applied to groups whose means of subsistence involved a combination of secondary foraging for animal carcasses killed by other species and gathering vegetable foodstuffs – see hunter-gatherer.
scruffy engineering It is tempting to suppose that the evolutionary process producers optimally designed adaptations. However, evolution works on a ‘good enough’ basis and produces adaptations which are more-or-less well designed for purpose. Accordingly, a functional analysis of a given adaptation ought not to expect it to exhibit flawless construction or performance.
serial monogamy A mating system wherein the sexes form two or more sexually exclusive pair-bonds over the life course.
[Page 228]sex ratio The percentage of males to females in any given breeding population.
sexism The belief that there are pronounced and demonstrable psychological and biological differences between males and females.
sexual dimorphism Refers to typical and characteristic differences in the morphology of the sexes of a species other than those which directly pertain to copulation and gestation.
sexual recombination The process whereby a new set of genes – a genotype – is formed courtesy of conception.
sexual selection Refers to a process wherein organisms evolve particular characteristics that are not obviously related to survival but to reproduction. The process can be driven by mate choice wherein the different sexes of a species evolve into distinct forms because one of the sexes selects mates with particular features. This we call inter-sex selection. The process can be driven by competition for reproductive opportunities among members of one sex. This we call intra-sex competition. It may also be the case that both processes have been at work to produce characteristics. For example, the reason why human males are, on average, significantly larger than females may be down to intra-sex competition between males for access to females and to female preference for larger males.
sexy son hypothesis This term refers to the idea that females may be motivated to preferentially choose to have and/or invest in male offspring because male offspring may be able to enchance their Darwinian fitness to a greater extent than can female offspring, courtesy of their greater reproductive potential.
social identity theory The claim that we derive at least some part of our sense of self and self-esteem courtesy of the groups to which we belong. The formation and existence of groups of persons who derive a sense of self and self-esteem from such groups are known as in-groups and in-groups entail out-groups, i.e. groups of persons whose sense of self and self-esteem is derived from a different milieu.
social uncertainty hypothesis With a view to explaining anorexia nervosa this idea claims that anxiety about the stability of the social environment and the prospects for successful child rearing leads to an attempt to control weight which, in turn, can control the menstrual cycle.
sociobiology A variety of neo-Darwinian thought that arose in the 1970’s and which sought to analyse the behaviour of species in terms of inclusive fitness theory.
sociopathy Often and informally used interchangeably with psychopathy and anti-social personality disorder, in this volume the term has been used to refer to a psychological [Page 229]condition wherein a person exhibits selfish cheating in social relations and this behaviour pattern may be an example of a frequency dependent strategy which is elicited by social conditions. It is said to ‘work’ as a behavioural strategy in certain environments wherein models of and opportunities for ongoing mutually beneficial cooperation are few or non-existent.
sperm competition Refers to circumstances wherein the sex cells of two or more males are alive in the reproductive tract of a female and are seeking to fertilise an ova.
standard social science model (SSSM) A conceptual label used by some evolutionary psychologists to refer to twentieth-century psychology and social science which was said to be betrothed to the assumption that cultures shape human minds and not vice versa.T
taxonomy Refers to the science and practice of classifying species as types which bare relationships typically within hierarchies.
telegraphic speech Also known as the ‘two-word’ stage of language acquisition, this term refers to the use of conjoined terms to convey complex meaning, intention, or desire. For example, with gesticulating a child might say ‘got toy’ meaning ‘I have a toy’, ‘give toy’ meaning ‘get toy’ meaning ‘Go and get the toy’.
theory of mind It has been suggested that the reason why humans have such large brains is because we need to develop workable and reasonably accurate explanations of why others think, feel and behave as they do.
tragic vision An adjunct to the claim and implications that human nature is ‘red in tooth and claw’, this term is used to exemplify the supposed pessimism about humans and the prospects for the race said to be inherent in biological and evolutionary accounts of human nature.U
under-extension A characteristic of children's speech wherein a word or term is used to refer to only one item or thing rather than all such items or things which share the same property. For example, the use of the word ‘car’ to refer to only the family vehicle.
universal grammar The claim that underlying the different combinations of sounds that comprise different languages there are a set of principles that they share.
Upper-Palaeolithic transition Also known as the Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition, this terms refers to the archeological record from c. 60,000 to c. 40,000 years ago which [Page 230]points towards the emergence of new tool technologies, the production of decorative personal ornamentation, symbolic art and land use which is taken to characterise the behaviour of modern pre-agricultural humans.V
variation The differing forms that any thing of a given class of things can and do take. For example, identifiable languages share a common stock of words. But all languages also have accents wherein the common stock of words are said or enunciated slightly differently from place to place. The differing enunciations are variations of a common form. Similarly, each of us exhibits physical and behavioural characteristics which are variations of a common form.W
Wernicke's aphasia Also known as comprehension aphasia, those who suffer from this condition produce non-meaningful speech which is fluent in that it is produced quickly but it exhibits over-elaborated grammar and the inclusion of redundant phrases and clauses.Y
young-male syndrome Evidence suggests that males between puberty and approximate ten years thereafter are more aggressive and accepting of risk to health than they are themselves at early and later ages and than females. The robustness of this finding promotes the claim that being between puberty and about ten years older is a risk to self for males and other in their vicinity.Z
zero-sum game A competition for or circumstance involving the allocation of resources wherein the winner takes all.
zygote The root of this term is ‘join’ and it refers to the joining of two sex cells (the technical term being haploid cells) courtesy of fertilisation.
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