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PERSONALITY PSY234 Lecture 7: Evolutionary Psychology Dr Simon Boag

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2 PERSONALITY PSY234 Lecture 7: Evolutionary Psychology Dr Simon Boag

3 Readings Carver, C. S. & Scheier, M. F. (2004). Perspectives on Personality. (pp ) Carver, C. S. & Scheier, M. F. (2004). Perspectives on Personality. (pp ) Additional (non-assessable) Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and Loss: Vol. 1. Attachment (2 nd ed.). NY: Basic Books. Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and Loss: Vol. 1. Attachment (2 nd ed.). NY: Basic Books. Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and Loss: Vol. 2. Separation: Anxiety and Anger. NY: Basic Books. Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and Loss: Vol. 2. Separation: Anxiety and Anger. NY: Basic Books. Buss,,D. M. (1995). Psychological sex differences. American Psychologist, 50, Buss,,D. M. (1995). Psychological sex differences. American Psychologist, 50,

4 Lecture Outline I. Theories of evolution Ethology & natural selection Ethology & natural selection II. Evolutionary Psychology Sex differences Sex differences III. Attachment theory Attachment styles Attachment styles Adult attachment Adult attachment

5 Learning Outcomes After this lecture you should be able to: Describe the major theories of evolution and their influence on theories of personality Describe the major theories of evolution and their influence on theories of personality Describe & evaluate Buss’s account of psychological sex differences Describe & evaluate Buss’s account of psychological sex differences Describe & evaluate Bolwby’s theory of attachment & attachment styles Describe & evaluate Bolwby’s theory of attachment & attachment styles

6 I. Theories of Evolution Enormous influence on psychology Enormous influence on psychology eg. Behaviourism, psychoanalysis eg. Behaviourism, psychoanalysis Places humans within the animal kingdon Places humans within the animal kingdon Ethology: Scientific study of the evolutionary basis of behaviours that are: Universal (species-wide) Universal (species-wide) Instinctive (genetically programmed) Instinctive (genetically programmed) Adaptive (survival value) Adaptive (survival value)

7 Theories of Evolution Lamarkian: characteristics acquired over an individual’s lifetime are passed on to offspring Lamarkian: characteristics acquired over an individual’s lifetime are passed on to offspring

8 Theories of Evolution Darwinian: Natural selection Darwinian: Natural selection Individuals within populations vary Individuals within populations vary Environmental pressures Environmental pressures Those with characteristics for survival do, and pass their characteristics down to offspring Those with characteristics for survival do, and pass their characteristics down to offspring ‘survival of the fittest’ (Spencer) ‘survival of the fittest’ (Spencer)

9 Theories of Evolution Sexual selection: evolution of characteristics linked to mating success

10 II. Evolutionary Psychology Recent development in psychology Recent development in psychology Domain-specificity: adaptations are shaped by specific environments Domain-specificity: adaptations are shaped by specific environments Functionality: the mind evolved to serve various functions Functionality: the mind evolved to serve various functions Sexes will differ in domains where women and men have faced different sorts of adaptive problems (Buss, 2004) Sexes will differ in domains where women and men have faced different sorts of adaptive problems (Buss, 2004)

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12 Biology & Evolution Mammals: Mammals: Females tend to typically invest more heavily in offspring than do males Females tend to typically invest more heavily in offspring than do males Females tend to be more selective in mate choice Females tend to be more selective in mate choice Males & intrasexual competition (gaining & preventing access to females) Males & intrasexual competition (gaining & preventing access to females) However: many exceptions to the rule However: many exceptions to the rule

13 Male & Female Mating Strategies Males and females have evolved differing mating strategies due to different problems of environmental adaptation (Buss, 1993) Males and females have evolved differing mating strategies due to different problems of environmental adaptation (Buss, 1993) Strategies: evolved solutions to adaptive problems Strategies: evolved solutions to adaptive problems Psychological mechanisms (preferences) that solve adaptive problems Psychological mechanisms (preferences) that solve adaptive problems Unconscious motives Unconscious motives

14 Female Mating Strategies (Buss, 1993) Females must deal with gestation, childbirth, lactation Females must deal with gestation, childbirth, lactation Females attempt to secure a mate to help maintain her offspring & offer protection Females attempt to secure a mate to help maintain her offspring & offer protection Prefer long-term (LT) mating to short- term (ST) mating Prefer long-term (LT) mating to short- term (ST) mating Gain access to resources & parental investment Gain access to resources & parental investment

15 Male Mating Strategies (Buss, 1993) Males desire to spread their genes as far and wide as possible Males desire to spread their genes as far and wide as possible Males attempt to secure as many sexual partners as possible Males attempt to secure as many sexual partners as possible Males have greater preference than females for short-term mating Males have greater preference than females for short-term mating Long-term mating as an attempt of ensuring paternity (‘paternity hypothesis’) Long-term mating as an attempt of ensuring paternity (‘paternity hypothesis’)

16 Evidence (Clark & Hatfield, 1989) An ‘attractive’ male or female confederate approaches strangers of the the opposite sex at uni & asks: An ‘attractive’ male or female confederate approaches strangers of the the opposite sex at uni & asks: “I have been noticing you around campus. I find you very attractive. Will you: “I have been noticing you around campus. I find you very attractive. Will you: A) Go out with me tonight? A) Go out with me tonight? B) Come over to my place tonight? B) Come over to my place tonight? C) Go to bed with me tonight?” C) Go to bed with me tonight?”

17 ‘YES’ Responses Females: Females: A) Go out with me? 50% A) Go out with me? 50% B) To my place? 6% B) To my place? 6% C) Go to bed? 0% C) Go to bed? 0% Males: Males: A) Go out with me? 50% A) Go out with me? 50% B) To my place? 69% B) To my place? 69% C) Go to bed?75% C) Go to bed?75% Findings have been replicated Findings have been replicated

18 Evidence (Buss, 1993) A) Over lifetime (self-report): A) Over lifetime (self-report): Males desire 18+ sex partners Males desire 18+ sex partners Female desire 4-5 sex partners Female desire 4-5 sex partners B) Males more willing to engage in sex after short amount of time B) Males more willing to engage in sex after short amount of time C) Males have lower ‘standards’ than Females in ST mating choices C) Males have lower ‘standards’ than Females in ST mating choices Females express greater care in choice of mate (both ST & LT) Females express greater care in choice of mate (both ST & LT)

19 Evidence (Buss, 1993) D) Males prefer ‘looks’ in ST & LT Females prefer status & resource in LT D) Males prefer ‘looks’ in ST & LT Females prefer status & resource in LT E) Males: sexual jealousy & insuring paternity E) Males: sexual jealousy & insuring paternity Males more distressed by imagining partner engage in other sexual relations Males more distressed by imagining partner engage in other sexual relations Females more distressed by imagining partner engage in other emotional relationships Females more distressed by imagining partner engage in other emotional relationships

20 Evaluation Enormous individual variation Enormous individual variation Do people have sex in order to pass on their genes? (teleological explanation) Do people have sex in order to pass on their genes? (teleological explanation) Fails to appreciate cultural/social factors Fails to appreciate cultural/social factors eg. Silverstein (1996): Feminist critique eg. Silverstein (1996): Feminist critique Sexual division of labour limited women’s direct access to economic resources Sexual division of labour limited women’s direct access to economic resources Hence women greater preference for status & resources Hence women greater preference for status & resources

21 III. Attachment theory “A relatively durable, affective relationship between a child & one or more specific persons with whom the child regularly interacts” (Van Ijzendoorn, 1988) Bowlby: Attachment & survival Tendency of child to remain close to adults offers the child protection Tendency of child to remain close to adults offers the child protection Cf. Imprinting

22 Imprinting

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24 Attachment Behaviours Selective attachment & stranger wariness begins between 7-11 months Selective attachment & stranger wariness begins between 7-11 monthsBowlby WHO study during 1940s WHO study during 1940s These behaviours appear pre-wired (occurring prior to learning) These behaviours appear pre-wired (occurring prior to learning) Monotropic (single person; generally mother) Monotropic (single person; generally mother) ‘Maternal deprivation’ ‘Maternal deprivation’

25 Attachment Behaviours (1) Proximity seeking Clinging, hugging Clinging, hugging Watching caregiver Watching caregiver Staying close, following Staying close, following Protest at separation (separation anxiety) Protest at separation (separation anxiety) (2) Use of attachment figure as secure base for exploration

26 Attachment Classifications (Ainsworth et al, 1978) ‘Strange situation’ (1) infant/caregiver in room (2) Stranger enters (approaches infant, caregiver leaves) (3) Caregiver returns (4) Stranger leaves (5) Caregiver leaves, stranger returns (6) Caregiver returns, stranger leaves

27 Attachment Classifications Secure & insecure attachment styles (1) Secure attachment style (55-65%) Can use caregiver as a secure base for exploration Can use caregiver as a secure base for exploration Distress on separation Distress on separation Seeks proximity on reunion Seeks proximity on reunion Settles quickly on reunion Settles quickly on reunion

28 Insecure attachment styles (2) Avoidant attachment style (20-25%) Explores freely before separation Explores freely before separation May not be distressed on separation May not be distressed on separation Affiliates with stranger, even when caregiver absent Affiliates with stranger, even when caregiver absent On reunion, tends to ignore caregiver On reunion, tends to ignore caregiver

29 Insecure attachment styles (3) Ambivalent attachment style (10-15%) Unable to use caregiver as base for exploration Unable to use caregiver as base for exploration Wary of novel situations, people Wary of novel situations, people Intense distress on separation Intense distress on separation Ambivalent on reunion (seek/avoid) Ambivalent on reunion (seek/avoid) Not easily settled on reunion Not easily settled on reunion (4) Disorganised/Disoriented

30 Parenting styles Ainsworth et al: Ainsworth et al: Secure: Sensitivity to infant’s needs Secure: Sensitivity to infant’s needs Insecure: Insensitivity to infant’s needs Insecure: Insensitivity to infant’s needs Avoidant: impatient & unresponsive to signals Avoidant: impatient & unresponsive to signals Resistant: inconsistent (hot/cold) misreading signals Resistant: inconsistent (hot/cold) misreading signals Abused children: 80% disorganised Abused children: 80% disorganised

31 Empirical findings ‘Strange situation’ classification a good predictor of other facets of child’s development ‘Strange situation’ classification a good predictor of other facets of child’s development Secure attachment predicts interpersonal confidence, eagerness to learn at school, greater self-esteem, greater capacity for intimacy & closeness with other people (Booth et al, 1991; Grossman & Grossman, 1991; Wartner et al, 1994) Secure attachment predicts interpersonal confidence, eagerness to learn at school, greater self-esteem, greater capacity for intimacy & closeness with other people (Booth et al, 1991; Grossman & Grossman, 1991; Wartner et al, 1994)

32 Adult Attachment (Hazan & Shaver, 1987) Adult personality/relationship styles based on early attachments Adult personality/relationship styles based on early attachments Internal working models: Expectancies linking early attachment experiences with later feelings & behaviour Expectancies linking early attachment experiences with later feelings & behaviour Pervasive influence of early attachments on later relationships Pervasive influence of early attachments on later relationships eg. fear of abandonment eg. fear of abandonment 0.39 correlation (Fraley, 2002, 2003) 0.39 correlation (Fraley, 2002, 2003)

33 Adult Attachment Styles A) Secure: (56%) Comfortable with others Comfortable with others Develops intimacy Develops intimacy High satisfaction/low anxiety High satisfaction/low anxiety B) Avoidant: (25%) Difficulty trusting others Difficulty trusting others Avoids intimacy Avoids intimacy C) Anxious/ambivalent: (19%) Anxious/insecure but craves intimacy Anxious/insecure but craves intimacy High anxiety/low satisfaction High anxiety/low satisfaction

34 Adult Attachments (cont.) Mickelson et al., (1997): Secure attach. report less mental health problems compared to insecure Secure attach. report less mental health problems compared to insecure eg. less depression, phobias, substance abuse etc Scher (2000): Childhood insecure attach, associated with all adult psychopathology Childhood insecure attach, associated with all adult psychopathology

35 Adult Attachments (cont.) Dieperinsky et al (2001): Study of 107 former POWs Study of 107 former POWs Secure attach. lower PTSD than insecure Secure attach. lower PTSD than insecure Attach. style stronger predictor of PTSD than trauma severity Attach. style stronger predictor of PTSD than trauma severity O’Shea-Lauber (2001): Short & long term health consequences related to insecure attach. Short & long term health consequences related to insecure attach. Avoidant: routine inhibition of emotion Avoidant: routine inhibition of emotion Anx/Ambivalent: high anxiety Anx/Ambivalent: high anxiety

36 Evaluation Dynamics b/w caregiving & attachment not fully understood (correlation) Dynamics b/w caregiving & attachment not fully understood (correlation) Multiple attachments questions whether there are ‘types’ Multiple attachments questions whether there are ‘types’ Bolwby’s focus is too much on the mother; ignores father (Rutter, 1984) Bolwby’s focus is too much on the mother; ignores father (Rutter, 1984) Adult attachment: Over-reliance on self- report measures Adult attachment: Over-reliance on self- report measures All relationships influence expectancies, not just early attachment (Levitt, 1991) All relationships influence expectancies, not just early attachment (Levitt, 1991)

37 Summary Evolutionary theory has had an enormous influence on psychology Evolutionary theory has had an enormous influence on psychology Buss argues that mating strategies have evolved as solutions to specific adaptive problems faced by males and females Buss argues that mating strategies have evolved as solutions to specific adaptive problems faced by males and females Attachment styles appear to persist across the life-span, affecting relationships & other areas of life Attachment styles appear to persist across the life-span, affecting relationships & other areas of life


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