Navigation Links
Caveman behavioral traits might kick in at Thanksgiving table before eating

This release is available in French.

Frank Kachanoff was surprised. He thought the sight of meat on the table would make people more aggressive, not less. After all, dont football coaches feed their players big hunks of red meat before a game in hopes of pumping them up? And what about our images of a grunting or growling animal snarling at anyone who dares take their meat away from them? Wouldnt that go for humans, too?

Kachanoff, a researcher with a special interest in evolution at McGill Universitys Department of Psychology, has discovered quite the reverse. According to research presented at a recent symposium at McGill, seeing meat appears to make human beings significantly less aggressive. I was inspired by research on priming and aggression, that has shown that just looking at an object which is learned to be associated with aggression, such as a gun, can make someone more likely to behave aggressively. I wanted to know if we might respond aggressively to certain stimuli in our environment not because of learned associations, but because of an innate predisposition. I wanted to know if just looking at the meat would suffice to provoke an aggressive behavior.

The idea that meat would illicit aggressive behaviour makes sense, as it would have helped our primate ancestors with hunting, co-opting and protecting their meat resources. Kachanoff believed that humans may therefore have evolved an innate predisposition to respond aggressively towards meat, and recruited 82 males to test his theory, using long-established techniques for provoking and measuring aggression. The experiment itself was quite simple subjects had to punish a script reader every time he made an error while sorting photos, some with pictures of meat, and others with neutral imagery. The subjects believed that they could inflict various volumes of sound, including painful, to the script reader, which he would hear after his performance. While the research team figured that the group sorting pictures of meat would inflict more discomfort on the reader, they were very surprised by the results.

We used imagery of meat that was ready to eat. In terms of behaviour, with the benefit of hindsight, it would make sense that our ancestors would be calm, as they would be surrounded by friends and family at meal time, Kachanoff explained. I would like to run this experiment again, using hunting images. Perhaps Thanksgiving next year will be a great opportunity for a do-over!

Evolutionary psychologists believe it is useful to look at innate reflexes in order to better understand societal trends and personal behavior. Kachanoffs research is important because it looks at ways society may influence environmental factors to decrease the likelihood of aggressive behavior. His research was carried out under the direction of Dr. Donald Taylor and Ph.D student, Ms. Julie Caouette of McGills Department of Psychology, and was presented at the universitys annual undergraduate science symposium.


Contact: William Raillant-Clark
McGill University

Related biology news :

1. Our caveman logic embraces ESP over evolution
2. Experts will meet to discuss how diet affects behavioral development of children
3. Military medicine symposium to explore regenerative medicine, behavioral health
4. Understanding behavioral patterns: Why bird flocks move in unison
5. Adapting to darkness: How behavioral and genetic changes helped cavefish survive extreme environment
6. Computer-based video analysis boosts data gathering in behavioral studies
7. Light, circadian rhythms affect vast range of physiological, behavioral functions
8. Popular autism diet does not demonstrate behavioral improvement
9. Animal behavioral studies can mimic human behavior
10. Study confirms association between tobacco smoke and behavioral problems in children
11. Economic status, genetics together influence psychopathic traits
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/24/2017)... Janice Kephart , former 9/11 ... Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the following ... March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting the ... be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the reactivation ... applications are suspended by until at least July ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... Calif. , April 13, 2017 UBM,s ... York will feature emerging and evolving technology ... Both Innovation Summits will run alongside the expo portion ... speaker sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on trending topics ... largest advanced design and manufacturing event will take place ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... BROOKLYN, N.Y. , April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... identical fingerprints, but researchers at the New York ... University College of Engineering have found that partial ... fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and ... previously thought. The vulnerability lies in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... of 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding ... a scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... ... At its national board meeting in North Carolina, ARCS® Foundation ... Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of ... Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) , ... ... ... than 15 years’ experience providing advanced instruments and applications consulting for microscopy ... the in-house expertise in application consulting, Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... The HealthTech Venture Network (HTVN) ... their fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and collaborators are invited ... competition showcasing early stage digital health and med tech companies. , This day-long ...
Breaking Biology Technology: