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Chapters 6 & 7: The Biological Perspective Theories of Personality February 21, 2003 Class #5.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapters 6 & 7: The Biological Perspective Theories of Personality February 21, 2003 Class #5."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapters 6 & 7: The Biological Perspective Theories of Personality February 21, 2003 Class #5

2 Sociobiology The theory that the basic elements of social interaction are products of evolution We are genetically predetermined to do certain things because at some point in prehistory they conferred an adaptive advantage to us

3 Helping requires investment of time, energy, attention, funds…so why do we do it? Goals of Prosocial Behavior –Gaining Genetic and Material Benefits Inclusive Fitness Reciprocal Aid

4 Insights into the Evolution of Help Inclusive Fitness –The ability of one’s genes to survive in one’s own offspring AND in any relatives one helps –Helping a close relative promotes the survival of those genes –We are predisposed to help the next generation (related to you) to reproduce

5 Genetic Relatedness and Helping Cunningham et al. (1995) –Asked people whether they would be willing to help other people in different situations

6 80 60 20 0 0 High (parents, siblings, children) ) ) Percentage Volunteering to Help 40 Degree of Relatedness Mod. (grand- parents) Low (first cousins) None (attractive strangers)

7 Reciprocal Aid Trivers (1971) –The theory of reciprocal altruism predicts that altruistic behaviors will also be a function of beliefs about the recipient's likelihood of reciprocating… –Help that occurs in return for prior help –People working for organizations who provide more benefits work harder for the firm

8 Who do you help? Burnstein, Crandall, & Kitayama (1994) –Participants in this study were asked to imagine scenarios like the following: There are three people asleep in different rooms of a burning house: –Your 7 year-old female cousin –Your 75 year-old grandfather –A 21 year-old acquaintance You have time to rescue only one… –Who do you save?

9 3.0 2.5 1.5 1.0 High (parents, siblings, children),, Tendency to Help 2.0 Degree of Relatedness Mod. (grand- parents) Low (first cousins) None (acquaintances) For everyday help, people tended to help close relatives more than non-relatives

10 3.0 2.5 1.5 1.0 High (parents, siblings, children) Tendency to Help 2.0 Degree of Relatedness Mod. (grand- parents) Low (first cousins) The difference became even more pronounced in life-or- death situations None (acquaintances)

11 Burnstein, Crandall, & Kitayama (1994) Kin are helped more than non-kin, especially in life-or-death situations Females are helped more than males, except elderly females (post- menopausal) Young are helped more than old Healthy relatives helped more than non- healthy in life-or-death situations In life-or-death helping, relatedness matters (this assures that our genes will continue) In everyday helping, we may be guided more by social norms and moral rules (e.g., "help the sick")

12 Genetic Similarity Theory Rushton (1984, 1989) –Proposes an extension to inclusive fitness theory, in which the idea of "genetic similarity" between individuals is substituted for relatedness, as the more general and appropriate concept –Idea that humans are able to detect degrees of genetic similarity in others and to prefer those most similar for friendship and marriage –Unfortunately, this may be a process which provides a basis for ethnic favoritism and group selection

13 Mate Selection Trivers (1972) –The parent with the most investment in an offspring will be the choosiest Why? –The parent with the most investment in most cases is the female because she has a limited capacity to reproduce because of a limited number of years to bear children –Because of these limitations the female becomes highly selective in who she will mate with

14 Sex differences??? According to this view, this is the reason why men view women as sex objects and women view men as success objects

15 Mate Retention Buss & Shackelford (1997) –Men married to younger women and to women they perceived as being very attractive devoted great efforts to mate retention –Women married to males with plentiful resources also showed more mate retention behaviors –Men (but not women) whose partners they suspected may become unfaithful significantly increased certain retention behaviors –Men were more likely to use resource-based tactics (and aggression) to retain a mate, while women were much more likely to use physical enhancement

16 The Young Male Syndrome Wilson and Daly (1985) –Present a Darwinian perspective on male violence –The ultimate, evolutionary view provides an understanding of why males and females have come to have different reproductive strategies, involving greater competition and risk-taking between males than females, and conflicts of interests between males and females –Most male violence - to other men, to women, and to children - can be understood in terms of this evolutionary view

17 Daly & Wilson (1988) Argued that males will use violence and threats as strategies to limit their partners autonomy and so decrease the chance of infidelity… –Spousal homicide is common, especially for women who: Have left their partners Have threatened to do so Have been suspected of planning or actually committing adultery

18 Jealous Violence… Detroit (1972): –19% of homicide victims were related to the killer by marriage, compared to 6% who were blood-relatives Miami (1980) –10% of murder victims were marital relatives, compared to 2% of blood relatives

19 We mentioned Hans Eysenck’s Theory during class 2… Eysenck (1967) –Extraversion-introversion Introverts were over-aroused individuals therefore they try to keep stimulation to a minimum Extroverts were under-aroused individuals, therefore they tried to increase stimulation

20 Cortical Arousal Differences Eysenck (1967) –He suggests that the difference between introverts and extroverts depends on the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) Causes introverts to be “stimulus shy” Causes extroverts to be “stimulus hungry”

21 Cortical Arousal Differences Geen (1984) –Introverts and extraverts choose different levels of stimulation, but equivalent in arousal under chosen stimulation Extroverts chose to hear louder noises than introverts After put in their chosen environment their HR’s are the same –This seems to suggest that being at their preferred level of stimulation results in the same overall level of arousal for both groups

22 Geen (1984) Researcher tested four other groups: –Introverts placed in environment that other introverts had chosen (II) –Introverts placed in environment that extroverts had chosen (IE) –Extroverts placed in environment that other extroverts had chosen (EE) –Extroverts placed in environment that introverts had chosen (EI)

23 Geen (1984) II = similar HR as free choice introverts IE = higher HR than free choice introverts when forced to listen to extroverts’ noise EE = similar HR as free choice extroverts EI = lower HR than free choice extraverts when forced to listen to introverts’ noise

24 Geen (1984) Performance on a learning task was also affected: –Introverts did best in introvert-selected environment –Extraverts did better in extravert-selected environment Practical implications: –Roommates? –Mate Selection?

25 Eysenck’s Biological Basis of Emotionality People who are emotionally unstable are easily aroused in the emotion centers of the brain Emotional arousal can cause an increase in cortical arousal

26 Eysenck’s Biological Basis of Emotionality Two important points: –Emotional arousal causes the behavioral reflections of people to become more apparent –Emotional arousal sets the stage for conditioning to occur

27 Are introverts predisposed to anxiety and depression??? Eysenck says yes… –Conditioning often follows from emotional reactions –Introverts are more cortically aroused –They are also more emotionally reactive –They have more opportunities for conditioning –Since, conditioning during socialization often results from punishment and frustration the emotions conditioned are often unpleasant ones –According to Eysenck, the emotional introverts are highly vulnerable to these disorders

28 What does Eysenck say about the extraverts? The emotional extraverts are less cortically aroused so they don’t condition well They don’t learn from punishment so they often show a pattern or poorly socialized and impulsive behaviors More likely to suffer from impulse control disorders like pathological gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, etc.

29 A different view… The Behavioral Approach System (BAS) –Responsive to incentives (cues to reward) and regulates approach behavior –Active BAS produces impulsivity Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) –Responsive to cues to punishment, frustration, uncertainty, and motivates ceasing, inhibiting, or avoidance behavior –Active BIS produces anxiety

30 Sensation Seeking Marvin Zuckerman (1971) –Currently, a professor at the University of Delaware –Defined “sensation seeking” as "a trait describing the tendency to seek novel, varied, complex, and intense sensations and experiences and the willingness to take risks for the sake of the experience" –These people want to avoid boredom at all costs

31 Zuckerman (1994) Skydivers are characterized with both higher sensation seeking ambitions and a search for thrilling experiences, than most other partakers of other risky activities It is claimed that high sensation seekers believe risks to be not as great as do low sensation seekers The sensations are also valued less by the low sensation seeker An earlier view of psychologists in the late fifties was that skydivers had an inherent death wish

32 Sensation-Seeking and Drugs Zuckerman suggests that the type of sensation seeking may very well determine the forms it will take –For example, those in the lower socioeconomic classes who are unable to afford the socially acceptable forms instead will be inclined to participate in criminal and antisocial activities such as drug abuse

33 Sensation-Seeking and Drugs Zuckerman is not claiming that all high sensation seekers are likely to desire such substances, however they are more likely to be involved in such activities than those categorized as low sensation seekers

34 Is there a connection between sensation seekers and psychopaths? Impulsive Unsocialized Sensation Seeking –Zuckerman feels that those very high on sensation seeking may lack the capacity to inhibit behavior that might be detrimental to society –Trouble inhibiting impulsive action –Thrills at all costs regardless of the consequences to others –High sensation seekers are less tolerant of sensory deprivation and they require much stimulation to get to optimal level of arousal Hebb's theory of optimal level of arousal applies

35 Physiological basis for sensation seeking Neurotransmitters –Chemicals in nerve cells are responsible for the transmission of nerve impulse from one cell to another Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) –Enzyme that maintains a proper level of neurotransmitters Too little MAO = too much neurotransmitter; too much MAO = too little neurotransmitter –High sensation seekers have low levels of MAO, producing a need for stimulation to reach the optimal level of arousal

36 Neurotransmitters and Personality Dopamine –Associated with pleasure Serotonin –Associated with depression and other mood disorders Norepinephrine –Associated with fight or flight response

37 Hormones and Personality Dabbs (1997) –Has studied over 8000 individuals Found some interesting correlations between testosterone and behavior High testosterone men and women are bolder, more focused, and more rambunctious –Although most people fall into a middle range, very high testosterone levels can start to be detrimental

38 High-Testosterone Males Characteristics –Lean and balding –Oriented toward action rather than contemplation –Combative and a bit wild –Has a high libido –Doesn’t smile much –May be unemployed –Tends not to live as long

39 High-Testosterone Females Engage in more extra-marital sex Smile less than low testosterone women Are likely to have more presence Have a stronger handshake than low testosterone women

40 Testosterone and Divorce Dabbs also found a correlation between high testosterone and divorce… –Married men have the lowest levels of testosterone –Single men and divorced men who are remarried fall in the middle –Divorced men have the highest levels

41 Convicts or Lawyers? Dabbs: –Both socialization and hormones shape the way we are - it’s not just one or the other –With proper socialization, high testosterone can work to a person’s benefit, as tends to be the case with trial lawyers and actors –Male prison inmates with high testosterone levels are more likely than other criminals to commit violent crimes and violate prison rules

42 Criminals and Testosterone Criminals > Average Men Violent Criminals > Non-Violent Criminals

43 Dabbs & Hargrove (1988) Suggested a link between high testosterone levels and crimes of unprovoked violence committed by female prisoners –They measured saliva testosterone levels in 87 female inmates in a maximum security prison –The inmates ranged in age from 17 to 60

44 Dabbs & Hargrove (1988) Data showed a direct link between testosterone and aggressively dominant behavior in prison Analysis indicated that increasing age is linked to reduced criminal violence and aggressive dominance in female prisoners both directly and indirectly through lower levels of testosterone that come with age

45 Dabbs & Hargrove (1988) The researchers note that the five women with the lowest testosterone were said by prison staff members to be "sneaky" and "treacherous“… –Noting the well-established link between testosterone and dominance, the researchers suggest: That when dominant high testosterone inmates face confrontation, they can act openly and directly On the other hand, low testosterone inmates, because they are less dominant, need to be more `sneaky' in dealing with others

46 Assessment Biological psychologists feel that personality derives from the nervous system and the hormonal system –So, why not isolate these areas and measure it? –Easier said then done but we use the following: Electroencephalograms (EEG) Computer-assisted imaging –Pet Scans –MRI

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