The human brain is a product of enormous evolutionary changes, which have taken place over time to influence the way human beings behave. The field of evolutionary psychology is vital in understanding human behavior and the adaptation of the human brain. With time, the human brain has evolved through various stages in order to respond to the various conditions in which people find themselves (Caporael, 2001). The information processing mechanisms of the human brain tend to be related to the adaptive needs of the human species. Human beings exhibit some forms of behavior that can be termed as universal when they find themselves in certain conditions. According to evolutionary psychologists, the evolution of human cognition and anatomy can be associated with the beginning of Pleistocene climate fluctuation (Richerson & Boyd, 2012). This means that the brain of human beings tends to be adapted to the conditions in the Pleistocene. This paper will discuss how the evolution of the human brain to conditions in the Pleistocene explains current cultural phenomena. In addition, the paper will argue against the adaptation of the human brain to the past.
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How does the adaptation of the brain to the Pleistocene explain current cultural phenomena?
The ability of human beings to master the Pleistocene can be regarded as the basis of their ability to adapt to the various variations in the cultural traditions. Cultural evolution has ensured that humans respond to various changes taking place in the environment. The adaptation of the human brain to the conditions in the Pleistocene explains the onset of current cultural phenomena. This is because the evolution of the human brain has informed the capacity of humans to develop through social learning. The culture of human beings can be regarded as an adaptation to the many climatic changes that have taken place. The adaptation of the brain to the conditions in the Pleistocene can also be informed by the fact that there tends to be many differences between humans and other animals (Caporael, 2001).
The differences between humans and other animals mainly emanate from the fact that humans have the capacity to evolve cumulatively, as well as exhibit complexity in terms of the traditions they have. This adaption to the complex conditions found in the environment acts as the basis for explaining cultural phenomena such as technological changes. Through the adaptation to the conditions in the Pleistocene, the human brain has evolved to the extent that human beings have had the capacity modify their natural environment. This can be evidenced by the advancement of cultural phenomena such as modern technologies, which have significantly altered their patterns of human interaction with one another, as well as their interaction with the natural environment (Richerson & Boyd, 2012).
Another cultural phenomenon that has advanced as a result of adaptation to the conditions in the Pleistocene includes social organization. The human brain has evolved to the extent that it has led to a complex structure of social organization. Unlike other animals, humans have the capacity to develop complex traditions that have shaped their interactions. This culture phenomenon has resulted to an organized species, thus making human beings superior to other animals. Therefore, the human brain can be said to possess a complex and advanced system of adaptation to the natural environment (Workman & Reader, 2004).
The ability of humans to make rational choices in their natural environment, as well as adapt to variations in their external environment, can also be regarded as a basis for explaining the adaptation of humans to conditions in the Pleistocene. This is an indication that the human brain has evolved and improved significantly to the extent that humans have an exceptional state of knowledge. Cultural phenomena such as social learning can also be a significant example, which explains the human brain adaptation to the conditions in the Pleistocene. Social learning has enabled humans to adapt to variations and complex changes in the natural environment. The adaptation of the human brain to the conditions in the Pleistocene has enabled human beings to adjust their behavior with variations on environmental situations. Social learning enables human beings to pass on behavior from one generation to another (Rauscher & Scher, 2003).
How might one argue against the claim that human brains are adapted to the past?
Several arguments dispute the claim that the human brain tends to be adapted to the past. One of the arguments against this claim is that a single psychological mechanism could not be a solution to the varying adaptive problems, which human beings had to solve. The various adaptive problems cannot be solved by a single mechanism; on this regard, one can argue that the human brain does not adapt to past conditions. Another argument against this claim is that psychological adaptations of the current human beings cannot be similar to the adaptations of the Pleistocene ancestors. Therefore, the argument that the human brain is adapted to the past does not hold (Buller, 2005).
The human brain can also not be said to be adapted to the past since many evolutionary changes have taken place since the Pleistocene. Based on the changes in the environments inhabited by human populations, it can be argued that the human brain does not adapt to the past. Over time, human beings have had revolutionary responses to changes in the environment. As such, it can be argued that the brain of humans cannot be said to be adapted to the past (Buller, 2005).
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