Genes, Culture, and Gender

   Ψ  How are we influenced by human nature & cultural diversity?
   Ψ  Natural selection is the process by which favorable traits that are heritable become more common in successive generations of a population, 
& unfavorable traits that are heritable become less common. Natural selection is one of the cornerstones of modern biology. The term was introduced 
by Charles Darwin in his groundbreaking 1859 book The Origin of Species.

    Ψ  Evolutionary Psychology studies how natural selection predisposes not  just physical traits but psychological traits & social behaviors that 
enhance the preservation & spread of one's genes.

    Ψ  The evolutionary perspective highlights our universal human nature. Evolutionary psychologists highlight the universal characteristics that 
have evolved through natural selection. 

Culture & Behavior

    Ψ  Our most important similarity, the hallmark of our species: the ability to learn & adapt.

    Ψ  We are on a loose genetic leash, about half of what we do is learned (adapted). "Ironically, therefore, our shared human biology enables 
our cultural diversity." (David G. Myers)

Cultural Diversity
   Ψ  Cultural norms are behavior patterns that are typical of specific groups. All cultures have accepted ideal about appropriate behavior. 
Some norms are healthy & some are not. 
   Ψ  Norm: Personal space is the region surrounding each person, or that area which a person considers his domain or territory. What 
distance is appropriate for a particular social situation depends on cultural norms. 

Cultural Similarity

    Ψ  Some norms are universal. Best Known is the taboo against incest.
   Ψ  Forms of address communicate not only social distance but also social status (status hierarchies).

The majority of the following information is a temporary lift from

 Norms: Expected Behavior 
 rules for accepted and expected behavior; prescribe "proper" behavior 
 ex: "When in Rome, do as the Romans." 
According to Myers, "Norms grease the social machinery." 

 personal space (norm with cultural variation); greater for adults, men, Northern Europeans, North Americans 
 Cultural Similarity 
 norms for war (surrender; humane treatment of prisoners) 

 universal incest taboo 

 norms for friendship (privacy; eye contact; keeping secrets 
"Big 5" universal dimensions of personality: stable, outgoing, open, agreeable, conscientious 

    Ψ  There are 5 universal social beliefs: cynicism, social complexity, reward for application, Religiosity (Previously named as Spirituality), 

& fate control that people in different societies adhere to in varying degrees.

Norms of address are based on status 
 Social Roles 
 acculturation and repatriation 
 role changes (e.g., Patricia Hearst) 
 High- and Low-Status Roles 
 experimental studies show that high status has advantages 
discuss: Why is a true experiment important for determining cause-effect relationships in this case? 
 Role Reversal 
 can improve communication

     Ψ  How are gender similarities & differences explained?
 the characteristics people associate with male and female 
  nurturance (feminine gender role) 
   dominance (masculine gender role) 
    [art images presented in lecture] 
     Some people think it is a mistake to focus on differences. 
 Independence versus Connectedness 
 empathy ("being able to feel what another feels") 
 women superior at decoding others' emotional messages and at expressing their own emotions nonverbally 
 Social Dominance 
Men are more dominant and verbally directive. 

 Should women try to act more like men? (Nancy Henley) 
 "behavior intended to hurt"   greater among men 
 Men are more accepting of casual sex & more likely to initiate sex.

     Ψ  Evolution & gender: Doing what comes naturally?
Gender and Mating Preferences 
 relative cost of sperm vs. eggs (parental investment) 
 jealousy (men are more jealous about sex, women about emotional attachment) 
 preference for younger partner (men) 
 Gender and Hormones 
 testosterone influences aggression 
 ...but is androgyny in old age hormonal, or cultural? 
 Reflections on Evolutionary Psychology 
 Does the theory predict, or only explain? 
 Does what was adaptive in the past, still have adaptive value? 
 Does the theory ignore the role of culture? 
 How biased our our assumptions, anyway? If you had to give an evolutionary reason to explain why women are stronger than men, could you? 

     Ψ  Culture & gender: Doing as the culture says?

 gender roles: "behavioral expectations for males & females" 

 We sometimes behave differently to live up to these expectations, as in Zanna & Pack's study of women describing themselves to a man with 
traditionally feminine or less restrictive gender roles. 
 Gender Roles Vary With Culture 
 more similarity in nomadic, food-gathering societies 
 more differences in agricultural societies 
 Gender Roles Vary Over Time 
 attitudes toward women working outside family, and number of women who do so 
 Peer-transmitted Culture 
 Judith Harris: The Nurture Assumption 
 evidence of differences among children in the same household 
 peer influence 

     Ψ  What can we conclude about genes, culture, and gender?
 Biology and Culture 
 coevolution of biology and culture 
 interaction of biology and culture 
 The Power of the Situation and the Person 
 Social situations interact with individuals to influence behavior: 

  A given situation affects different people differently. 
  People choose their situations. 
  People create their situations. 
                                                                      Social Psychology
                                                                        Robert C. Gates