I’m studying for my Psychology class and need an explanation.
Our behaviors are affected by many factors, including the way in which we receive and process information. The knowledge, awareness, and perceptual processes we have can all be influenced by both external and internal occurrences. Albert Ellis, in his discussion of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, provides us with food for thought in understanding how our internal discussions, or self-talk, serve as a buffer in behavioral change at the emotional level. From an evolutionary perspective, behavior may develop from knowledge, awareness, perception, labeling, and retention, among other forces.
In understanding how evolution affects cognition and behavior, the whole of life can be thought of as a problem. In this week’s required readings, a problem is defined as “. . . any given situation that differs from a desired goal” (Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, 2019). In just about any situation one can think of, there is a current state of being and a state of what an organism/individual would like to attain. The interaction with one’s environment in order to attain said goal is one’s intention (Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, 2019). There exist different kinds of problems, i.e. well-defined problems and ill defined problems, and different approaches to problem solving. The way in which one goes about their intention in solving the problem depends on their environment, their prior knowledge and schemata, the particular problem and how it is perceived/represented, the desired end-state, etc. Given these factors inherent to a particular problem, an individual must evolve their cognition and behavior in order to reach their own desired goal. This requires a variety of different approaches to problem solving one may use such as restructuring, means-end analysis, divergent thinking, convergent thinking, etc. (Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, 2019).
There is also the evolutionary perspective on social cognition, which deals with actual Darwinian evolution in that social cognition and behavior play a part in which genes are passed along to the next generation. In Group Selection, a social individual is more likely to pass on their genes as opposed to a selfish individual. A social individual will benefit the group, which means the group is more likely to survive. Altruistic behavior in Kin Selection benefits someone whom is a close-genetic relation to the individual performing the altruistic behavior. Said benefited individual probably shares the same altruistic genes and has a high chance of passing those genes on. In Reciprocal Altruism, there exists an expectation of future reciprocity from someone who benefits from the altruistic actions of another. In this theory, the species has a better chance of surviving and passing along their genes due to mutual cooperation and shared goals/culture which benefits the entire group (Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, 2019).
In terms of my own development, the older I get and the more knowledge I gain (or the more life takes its toll, however you may see it), my own problem-solving mannerisms evolve. Currently, I am mostly a convergent thinker. I am a very busy person with a high-quality work ethic, so speed and accuracy are important to me. I prefer to find common-sense solutions to problems while arriving at the most correct end-state as quickly and efficiently as possible. I know there may be multiple solutions to a given problem, but the vast majority of problems only require one solution.
– Dennis Madden
Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience (2019). Problem Solving from an Evolutionary Perspective. Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/courses/cognitive-psychology-2/view.
Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience (2019). Evolutionary Perspective on Social Cognitions. Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. Retrieved from https://www.oercommons.org/courses/cognitive-psychology-2/view.
This week we dive into the topic of the theory of evolution. I went to high school in the south and people in the area I lived did not believe in evolution. It was a taboo subject, but it had to be taught. Everyone seemed to focus on the scenario where humans come from apes, however, the theory of evolution is a far more vast subject than that. Focusing on natural selection, organisms produce more offspring than are able to survive in their environment. Those that are better physically equipped to survive, grow to maturity, and reproduce (National Geographic Society 2019). In a sense, the stronger organisms will obviously last longer than the weaker ones and then the strongest ones left will reproduce and the next generation will be better than the last. With humans physically, the stronger traits tend to take over the lesser ones. For example, brown eyes are more dominant than blue or green eyes, so it’s to be more prominent. Maybe a parent might be more athletic and you tend to take over those genes to become a stronger species. Those are the physicals, but what about mental? Over decades, mental health has become a subject studied and talked about a lot more. When it comes to the brain, mental health conditions can sometimes be genetically passed down to future generations. In those cases are the healthier genes going to be passed down, or is the mental illness? Are the organisms that we pass down as humans actually the best surviving? As a culture, we can be looked at as evolutionary change as well. The technology that humans developed, the knowledge of science that has been learned and discovered, our cars, language, fashion; Humans are forever developing and evolving.
Lamarckism, which is also known as, the theory of inheritance of acquired characters. His theory is based on the needs that are needed by the organism in question and how it responds to any change in environment, the use of organs, and what will fulfill their needs. Not that I am inherently different looking than my parents, I have some traits and still look like the same species; but using this theory to talk about organs mostly. The brain which, still has characteristics that are still also acquired from our parents, I used this theory in my life to fulfill my needs to the best of my ability. I have always strived to be better and do better, so for someone who comes from a family of mental illness, I still did not want to let that hold me back. My parents to this day still suffer and as does my brother, but I have ensured that the environments that I grow up in, are safe and healthy; and if they weren’t safe and healthy I would do what was necessary to fulfill my needs. I listened to myself and remained authentic to what I needed in my life to make sure that I can be a healthy individual. I evolved past my parents, and with the environment that I grew up in knowing mental health is growing and available; I was able to acquire the knowledge I needed to be healthy. In a sense, even though maybe we are not creating the “stronger” or normal brain, does not mean that the generations to come won’t grow based on the environment we are creating among the mental health community. The environment you surround yourself in really does either hinder or help you evolve.
National Geographic Society. (2019, June 5). Theory of evolution. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/theory-evolution/
When we actually dig into it the theory of evolution is extremely interesting. I first believed this only had to do with Darwin’s theory, survival of the fittest, but now I understand, even though that is still the main focus, it is not that simple. We get to see how and why our minds have evolved the way they have. Like mentioned in the above passage, evolution has happened in many different aspects of our lives, such as knowledge, awareness etc. In the reading this week it talks about natural selection and how this plays into adaptation. With adaptation we are able to either pass on or find different variants of ourselves that are unimportant (2013). Evolution has helped us be able to overcome obstacles that we once weren’t able too. Not only physically but emotionally as well. We are now able to sit and figure out different problems that we have, just like Knut in our reading, he was able to figure out and fix his problem due to the adaptation of his mind.
I feel with dealing with evolution the Kin Selection approach is more of what I would use to explain when I was a child and the theory of Reciprocal altruism as I got older. The kin selection approach is to help genetic relatives. As parents would help their children, still being the fittest of the family but also making sure the family is maintained. Like our reading said an example of this would be sharing food with the family (2013). As I grew up the theory of Reciprocal altruism is more of what I could relate to due to me being able to start giving back. This is because I was able to have a mutual partnership with others. I have seen many changes in myself with evolutionary development, emotionally and physically. I have been able to think more complexly with problems that I have had and been able to problem solve more easily. I also do believe that I am altruistic because of how much I have adapted to the world I am in now. I still believe that Reciprocal Altruism is what best fits my life right now also.
I hope everyone has a great week!
Cognitive Psychology. (2013, March 18). Retrieved January 25, 2021, from https://www.oercommons.org/courses/cognitive-psychology-2/view#
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