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AP Psych Chapter 3

1. Many would consider it ironic that men are more likely than women to feel comfortable
about having casual sex with multiple partners and yet at the same time more likely to
feel jealous rage over a mate’s having sex with someone else. How would an evolutionary
psychologist explain these gender differences? What are the strengths and weaknesses of
this evolutionary explanation?

Evolutionary psychologists use natural selection to explain women’s more relational and
men’s more recreational approaches to sex. Natural selection being the principle that,
among the range of inherited trait variations, those that lead to increased reproduction
and survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations. Their explanation
goes like this: While a woman incubates and nurses one infant, a male can spread his
genes through other females. Our natural yearnings are our gene’s way of reproducing
themselves. In our ancestral history, women most often sent their genes into the future by
pairing wisely, men buy pairing widely. This evolutionary perspective also explains why
women and men find certain features attractive in the opposite sex. Men are attracted to a
youthful appearance. They are drawn to healthy, fertile appearing women. Women with
smooth skin and narrow waists show signs of fertility. While women are attracted to men
who seem mature, dominant, bold, and affluent. Such attributes demonstrate their ability
to support and protect.

In order to explain why men who engage in casual sex but are seemingly jealous when
they find their partner doing the same one would probably see that men spend most of
their time trying to create status and winning over their male counterparts, according to
an evolutionary perspective. When they find that their mate has been attracted to
another, this may seem like a threat to their own status thus causing such emotions.
However, they themselves are able to have casual sex because they seem to be outdoing
the other men.

Critics of this evolutionary explanation say that is often works backwards, starting from a
conclusion to finding an explanation. Although men often have multiple sex partners,
women and men usually still want a long term mate. Critics also say that evolutionary
psychology overlooks the fact that humans are not hard wired. Cultural expectations and
what is considered attractive varies with time and place. Evolutionary psychology lacks its
own incorporation of the social and cultural aspects in its explanation.

2. Probably won’t get this freak.

3. Mr. Firkin is a shy and reserved person who often feels tense and nervous. In therapy, he
recalled that he had an unhappy childhood, feeling that he did not receive enough
attention from his mother and resenting the conservative family discipline and life style
enforced by his father. He blames both parents for his current anxiety, unhappiness, and
loneliness. In light of your understanding of the interactive influences of nature and
nurture, explain why Mr.Firkin’s complaints about his parents may be somewhat unfair and

Many factors can be justified to account for one’s personality. These factors include
genetic influence, parental nurture, and peer influences. Firkin is blaming his own
personality on his unhappy childhood which would fall under parental nurture. But one
shouldn’t forget that genetic influences predict 40 to 50 percent of our individual
variations in personality traits. So if Firkin’s parents weren’t shy and nervous like himself,
obviously this personality trait isn’t genetically influenced. Granted, this leaves another
half of Firkin’s personality to his parental nurture. But how much credit (or blame) should
Frikin’s parents deserve. If parental handling shapes children’s personalities, then children
who share the same parents should be somewhat similar; but as psychologists have seen,
behavior geneticists have repeatedly found this to be untrue. Shared environmental
influences typically account for less than 10% of a child’s personality. Meaning that Firkin’s
environment can’t have affected his personality as much as he claims it has.

Perhaps Firkin should account his shy personality to peer influences. It’s quite possible that
Firkin could have been bullied at school. It has been shown that parental influences are
less important when teens start to associate with friends. Youngsters often obey parents
philosophy for education, discipline, and responsibility but turn to their peers when
contemplating their futures.

4. Describe ways in which our society might change in the future—in the home, school, and
workplace, for example—if all children were raised in families that discouraged traditional
gender-typing and distinct gender roles. Consider the advantages or disadvantages of
such changes while you develop an argument as to whether you would or would not
recommend the development of that kind of society.

In psychology, a role is a set of expectations (norms) about a social position, defining how
those in the position ought to behave. One set of norms that would define are culture are
gender roles; a set of expected behaviors for males and females. Evolution predisposes
men to be the hard working and tough in order to serve their reproductive roles while
women have better interpersonal skills. If gender roles were discouraged in society,
women may easily take the traditional place of men in the workplace and at home. Men
may behave by laboring with house tasks and taking less precedence in society itself. An
advantage of this would obviously be the fair trade between men and women in society.
However, if all women were focused on their own status and had less desire to mate this
may cause a shrink in population due to the fact that no women is able to willingly give up
her career for the traditional family raising that she’s supposed to be doing.

Society assigns us – even those whose biological sex is ambiguous at birth to a gender.
The inevitable result is a strong gender identity; one’s sense of being male or female. To
this extent, we also become gender typed; the acquisition of traditional masculine of
feminine role. The social learning theory assumes that children learn gender linked
behaviors by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished. Even when
families discourage traditional gender typing, children organize themselves into boy
worlds or girl worlds each guided by what boys and girls should do.

A later version of the social learning theory, called social cognitive theory, also recognizes
the importance of children’s emerging gender conceptions. The gender schema theory
is the theory that children learn from their cultures a concept of what it means to be male
and female and they adjust their behavior accordingly to behavior. If society completely
withdrawals from the typical and traditional gender roles, they would also alternate the
cycle that occurs in all of the theories of society. I would not recommend the development
of this kind of society. Personally, there is to some extent what women can and are build to
handle physically and emotionally. Though these standards can be changed, I don’t think
its necessary and wouldn’t necessarily benefit society in a great way.