Thursday
October 2, 2014

Homework Help: Evolutionary Psychology

Posted by Aq on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 5:04pm.

Itís the year 2234 and you are an explorer‐scientist who has been sent to a distant planet to study two intelligent life forms recently found there. One lives in the resource‐poor desert regions of the planet. Tests show this creature (a smartine) is amazingly able at solving a wide variety of challenging individual problems, but has no imitative abilities and lives in small groups of closed related individuals. Smartines have some tools and technology, but each individual has different tools and makes them in different ways.
Elsewhere on the planet lives the imitatines. Individually, these creatures are much worse at solving a wide range of novel problems compared to smartines. Yet, they live in large cooperative social groups, have complex lithic technologies, and use various plants as medicines (some are quite effective). Different groups of imitatines eat different foods, and each social group wears distinctive bands of bright cloth. There seems to be some inter‐group conflict among social group that wear different colored bands of cloth.
a)Applying your understanding of natural selection, which applies to any lifeform (not merely DNA‐based ones), explain the divergent evolutionary trajectories of these creatures. What circumstances likely led them to evolve these divergent behaviours? What different selection pressures are likely to be acting on them?
b)For each of the following make a prediction about the differences between the two species and explain why using evolutionary reasoning:
i)How can the imitatines be less intelligent (i.e., be worse at problem solving) and yet have more complex technologies and greater cooperation?
ii)What differences are likely between the species in their theory of mind abilities?
iii)Which species is more likely to have menopause, with a long post‐reproductive lifespan and why?
iv)Which species likely engages in religious rituals involving rhythmic movements and costly sacrifices and why?
v)What are the likely differences in social norms (using our courseís technical definition) possessed by the two species (or lack of social norms). What processes will produce these differences?
vi)Suppose further study of the imitatines shows that groups who wear the same colored bands also have similar rules for social interaction and preferences for mating with others who wear the same colored band. What kind of evolutionary processes would be important to consider in studying their psychology? What behavioural differences will this produce?
Don't have to answer every question. Thank you!

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