What is Evolutionary psychology?
Evolutionary psychology is a hypothetical approach to
psychology that endeavours to clarify valuable psychological and mental traits
for example, perception, dialect, memory such as adaptations such as the
Utilitarian products of natural selection. The motivation behind this approach
is to bring the utilitarian way of thinking about biological mechanisms such as
genetic drift into area of psychology and to also approach psychological
mechanisms in a complementary way. To put it plainly, evolutionary psychology
focuses on evolution shapes the psyche and the behaviour. Although it pertains
to any organism that has a sensory system, most of the research conducted by
evolutionary psychology tends to concentrate and study humans more. Evolutionary
psychology suggests that the human mind includes numerous practical mechanisms
called cognitive mechanism or psychological adaptations delineated by the procedure
of natural selection. This includes
dialect procurement modules. Inbreeding avoidance mechanism, cheater detection
module, intellect and sex differences in mating preferences, neural mechanisms
of foraging etc. Evolutionary psychology has ancestry with cognitive psychology
and evolutionary biology.
Evolutionary psychology and altruism in biology.
Altruism happens when an individual, advocates for another
person’s welfare, and sacrificially incurs a threat to themselves diminishing
their chances of surviving P.W. Sherman (1977). Evolutionary psychologist conjecture
that altruism has profound roots in human nature since supporting and helping
sustain the life of our species. Charles Darwin argued that altruism which he
views as ’empathy’ or ‘kindness’, is a fundamental piece of social instincts.
Darwin’s claim is endorsed by current neuroscience studies, which have
demonstrated when an individual behaves altruistically, their brains trigger in
regions that signal contentment and rewards, identical to when they eat
something they like (or have sex).
Two hypotheses are created from altruism, the kin selection
theory and the reciprocal theory. The kin selection theory in altruism claims
that altruism was created to extend the survival of relations W.D.Hamliton
(1964) and those actions of altruistic behaviour should be coordinated towards family
as opposed to non-relations. (R.Trivers 1971; L. Comsmides & J.Tooby 1992)
claimed that reciprocal altruism is a long term cooperation and that the support
that is will be given will be reciprocated and some other time the near future.
Likewise it is important for them to remember
who had helped them in their time of trouble and not to provide for those
individuals that neglected them and failed to reciprocate.
Altruism does not always have to occur. Environmental
factors also have an extensive part whether it is the person is taking part in
acts of altruism. Modelling and socialisation or support it assumes a key in encouraging
pro social behaviour Janoski et al (1998); L Eisenberg and P.H.Mussen (1989).
Sparfkin et al (1975) claims that if children at a young age are shown and
exposed to acts of thoughtfulness and kindness whether the watched it on TV, or
they are around role models that show this model they are more likely going to show
consideration for another individuals welfare or animals welfare rather than their
Miller et al (1990); Van Lang and Creamer (2001) argue that reciprocity
and social responsibility have relations with helping others. The standard of
reciprocity is that if someone offers us help and assistance we should return
the favour and the standard of social responsibility is that it expects us to
assist and contribute to something to society. If one lives by these standards
they are reinforced with praise and if they do not live by those standards they
feel guilty. In society on a day to day basis when we notice others
contributing to those standards and they are commended it challenges us to the
same. As people get older in society, pro social morals and values are embedded
and structures a strong self-reinforcement such as self-esteem or contentment
to preserve pro social behaviour when a positive reinforcement is unavailable. L.Eisenberg
and V.Valiente (2002); affirm that socialisation plays an important and fundamental
attribute in a child’s life and they are more likely to act pro socially if
they are surrounded around parents who have strong morals and values and who
have traits of being supportive and thoughtful and having compassion for
someone or thinking of themselves being in their situation J.M Janssens & M
Dekovic (1997); Kervans J & Gibbs J.C(1996).
Pro social behaviour has cross cultural differences for
example like the study G.A. Miller (1990) did it shows that children and adults
in India believe that one has to have the moral obligation to help another person
no matter the circumstances. Whereas in places like the western world that’s not
the case. L.Eckensberg and Zimba (1997) claim that in places such as the United
States or the western part of the world they feel that people are not obligated
to help anybody if it does not concern them.
Merely pro social acts are done with the belief of an award
of self-reinforcement or the structure of reciprocity, however people have the capability
of performing a selfless act without thinking or having considerations for
another person’s welfare. C. Daniel Batson’s emphatic theory of altruism proposes that altruism does not
exist and that is caused by empathy which is having the capacity of putting
themselves in a person’s situation and exchanging emotions with one another
Baston et al (1991) Baston et al (2002). Baston (1981) did a study which showed
that females have empathy for another female who was an associate to the study
was enlarged and lessened by leading them to recognize that her values where comparative
and contradictory to their own. The study is persistent with the empathy altruism
theory revealing that high empathic participants were more likely to go out of
their own way to take someone’s position in a problem and help them but it is authentic
virtue of compassion or empathy or it is most likely for them to bypass calamity
they may face for interfering and helping. Cialdini et al (1997) however stated that the
negative state relieve model theory (NSR) is when someone has high empathy for
another individual that will cause them to feel pain or agony because they do
not like to see others in distress and the person who has the (NSR) embedded in
them will cause them to go an extra mile to help those who are in need and then
it lessens their own personal stress making their acts non-altruistic.
B. Latané & J. Rodin (1969) argued that ‘safety in
numbers’ does not interpreted well in crisis they feel that when more people
are present it encourages them not to render help to the victim who is suffering
from that crisis because of the social dissipation of responsibility or social comparison
and that it is likewise most likely to occur by strangers or by passers and not
by family members or friends.
Factors that clarify why people might be sympathetic in
most situations but not all.
Salovey et al (1991) feels that individuals are most likely
to be helpful if they are in a good mood or good state. Regan et al (1972) has
the theory that if an individual has pre-existing guilt of something they may
have done in the past or recently it will encourage them to help. At the point
when there is someone that needs blood and the individual gives blood or
someone crashes their motorcycle and is injured this is expands their act of
social behaviour Sarson et al (1991). When a person is not under stress or
tension they have more of a chance of rendering a helping hand.
Factors that clarify why people might receive more help
than other people.
Dovidio (1984) states that one factor is similarity, when
individual has experienced something similar to the victim they are trying to
help this could be nationality, attitudes or dress. Eagly A.H. & Crowley M
(1986) feel that another factor could possibly be gender, men and women are
most likely to be helped by female strangers irrespective to a male stranger.
R.L. Wenier(1996); Bladder and Tyler (2002) believe that it has something to do
with perceived responsibility. If an individual needs help that they cannot
control they are most likely in help for example people who are homeless or
people who have been afflicted by a natural disaster for example the Hurricane
or earthquakes that happen in Haiti encourage people to send in funds to help
those in need.
To conclude this essay altruism plays a major factor in a
humans life depending on is meant by altruism. If someone means having the
helping behaviour attributes or in order to receive benefits such as self-esteem
enchantment or the theory of guilt avoidance which is what most psychology
researchers or social researchers feel there is in no ambiguity that altruism
does not exist. Evolutionary psychology has a lot to do with altruism
biologically because animals can be defined as an individual performing the
same things humans do for of their life time or reproduction or survival.