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Question: TMA 02 Part one, Option A: Describe why altruism is considered an adaptive behaviour by evolutionary psychologists. Evaluate the evidence used to support this claim. Mark: 92%

Answer: An adaptive behaviour is one which can be found in the majority of a species having evolved through selective forces and can therefore be passed on to future generations via genes. (Clegg, 2007) So in order to consider whether altruism is adaptive, it must meet certain criteria which indicate that it has a genetic component and that it evolved as a result of some sort of survival advantage. Therefore evolutionary psychologists look for certain indicators for these, the main ones being universality (ie. where the trait is present in all societies which indicates the likelihood of a genetic component), evidence that the behaviour has some kind of survival or reproductive advantage, and that it is efficient in terms of cost to the individual. (Schmitt and Pilcher, 2004 cited in Clegg, 2007, p.122)

Universality is a good indicator of an adaptation since if the trait is universal, this red...(short extract)

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  • Subject: Psychology
  • Course: DSE212 Exploring Psychology
  • Level: Degree
  • Year: 1st
  • Mark: 92%
  • Words: 1010
  • Date submitted: February 09, 2016
  • Date written: Not available
  • References: Yes
  • Document type: Essay*
  • Essay ID: 7116

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