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5 Cards in this Set

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Context 1
The concept of biological preparedness refers to an inherited predisposition to fear certain classes of animals, such as snakes.
Context 2
Evolutionary psychology suggests certain fears would be adaptive behaviours because they helped our distant ancestors to survive. If we are extremely fearful of an animal and we try to get away from it, we are unlikely to be hurt by it. Therefore those ancestors that were fearful of certain animals were more likely to survive and be able to produce more offspring, passing on these behaviours to their descendents.
Context 3
Mineka et al. (1980) found that wild-reared monkeys showed considerable fear of real, model and toy snakes, whereas lab-reared monkeys showed only a mild response to the snakes. This could be explained in terms of the direct experiences that wild monkeys might have had that created a fear response (operant conditioning or observational learning). The conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that fears may not be innate but may be due to learning.
Context 4
Seligman's concept of biological preparedness offered no suggestion about the mechanism by which it operates.
Aim
Bennett-Levy and Marteau aimed to investigate the underlying mechanism. They proposed that humans are 'prepared' to fear certain stimulus configurations in animals, such as rapid or abrupt movement and discrepancies from the human form. They predicted that the perceptual characteristics of small, harmless animals would be related to the distribution of ratings of fear and avoidance of these animals.