Natural Selection and personality traits!!?

So far what i've read about natural selection, it always says about the physical traits that are naturally selected to enhance the probability of survival. But none of it have mentioned about the implicit qualities such as personality or psychological traits. Two people having the similar intelligence might have different ways of handling difficult situation, just because of different personality or psychological traits. I don't mean it just for human but other animals too that have evolved into intelligent beings. Pardon if my questions are not technically correct, but you get the gist.

2 Answers

  • 6 years ago
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    I completely agree with you! All that psychological stuff is encoded in our DNA somewhere. I've thought about this as well.

    The way I see it - Physical traits as well as traits of the mind are controlled by natural selection.

    All psychological things are the result of two different factors. These two factors, genetics and environment, are what create the consciousness. Genetics are the blue prints of evolution. The environment is in the driver seat.

    For example - If you were born in an Amazon jungle with the same genetics you carry today, you would only recognize yourself physically.

    Here's the curious thing...

    As the population grows, the weak (lesser evolved or dumb) gain protection. This allows bad traits to sneak by natural selection. Just like how herd immunity protects the non-vaccinated population from harmful infections.

    This would explain why we see "dumb" people in our world today. The reality is that "dumb" is an opinion. Opinions are created by the consciousness. Consciousness is influenced by the environment and it evolves.

    The fear is that the higher evolved will notice a need to decrease breeding. A type of environmental stress on evolution that somehow misses the lesser evolved. Instead, they continue pumping out kids like there's a farm to run...Eventually they over populate and evolution runs backwards.

    Similar to how technology has allowed us to live the lives we have today. Without it, We wouldn't find time to be fat and lazy ;)

    Interesting to think about at any rate!

  • 6 years ago

    There are books on the nature of adaptive behavior but this is a much more difficult area to study since it is harder to show that a behavior is inherited rather than learned in many cases.

    'The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit' by Melvin Konner

    'Why the Reckless Survive, and Other Secrets of Human Nature' by Dr Konner This is about the evolutionary selection for those who dare risky behaviors. Making a decision based on calculated risks was part of our problem solving skills that increased with our increased brain function. Those that could accurately evaluate the degree of risk, then act and gain benefits, pass on the trait of accurately assessing risks.

    Genes that influence behavior are being studied. A trait like fearfull caution in response to certain scents in mice is due to the stathmin gene being expressed in the amygdala, in their brain. When this protein is present it alters the sensitivity of the mouse's nervousness to an alarm trigger, like the scent of a cat. The mice that express stathmin normally are more easily alarmed when detecting the odor of their predator so also learn if they survive. They remember to be cautious in specific ways connected to that trigger. Inherent behavior can provide the basic emotion and this stresses the importance to augment the learned behavior associated with the scent.

    Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain by A. Damasio, 2003.

    Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human also by Damasio, 2005

    The limbic system is the mediator between thought and feeling, so emotion is crucial to making good decisions and thinking clearly. We do not think rationally without feeling something first; as a species we are emotional in all thought processes. If the portion of the brain that processes emotion is damaged, it becomes difficult or impossible to make decisions in order to act. Feeling strongly about something tells us how important it is. . Emotions can enhance or disrupt thinking based on their strength and quality of the data they are linked to. Emotions attached to accepted concepts (beliefs) can utterly block reevaluation when confronted with data that disagrees.

    The Temperamental Thread: How Genes, Culture, Time, and Luck Make Us Who We Are by Jerome, 2010. The influence of genetics on the development and expression of a temperament.

    Buss and Plomin did a long term twin study showing the elements of temperament were strongly influenced by genetics, accounting for perhaps half (50%) of the individual variation in activity level, emotionality and sociability. 1984

    The Study of Temperament: Changes, Continuities, and Challenges by Plomin & Dunn, 1986

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