Anth 2120 Standard Evolutional Psychology Modules SEPMs Article Summary

Step 1: Read Katherine Gibson’s article “Epigenesis, Brain Plasticity, and Behavioral Versatility: Alternatives to Standard Evolutionary Psychology Models.” In Complexities: Beyond Nature and Nurture (2005), pp. 23‐33 and 37 bottom-38 (excerpt of a longer chapter; difficult)

Step 2: As you read, pay attention to the following terms and make sure you understand them:

1. Environment of evolutionary adaptation (EEA)

2. Standard evolutionary psychology models (SEPMs) – these are misconceptions Gibson refutes

3. Epigenesis

4. Pleiotropy

5. Neural plasticity

Step 3: Write one sentence summarizing the ideas Gibson is criticizing (these are the SEPMs).

Step 4: Make a bullet-pointed list of the key pieces of evidence Gibson provides to support her own argument that the EEA was highly variable rather than stable, and that its variability indicates the importance of brain plasticity in the evolution of modern homo sapiens. Aim for 5+ bullet points.

Step 5: What does Gibson mean when she writes that “brains are also epigenetic organs in the anatomical sense” (p. 31)? Write two sentences explaining this. Is her information consistent with, or does it contradict, the arguments you read about previously in Mahler and Twilley?

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