Evolutionary Theory's Applications to Learning

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  • 0:05 Evolutionary Theory's…
  • 1:29 Evolution and Development
  • 2:57 Evolution and Instincts
  • 4:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Roundy

Lisa has taught at all levels from kindergarten to college and has a master's degree in human relations.

In this lesson you will learn about evolutionary theory's application to instinctual learning and human development through natural selection. There is a quiz to test your knowledge at the end.

Evolutionary Theory's Applications to Learning

Meet Mr. Man. He is one of the first Europeans to explore Africa. Soon after he arrives, Mr. Man is bitten by a mosquito that infects him with malaria. He becomes very ill. Mr. Man's guide is a member of a local African tribe. The guide is also bitten by the same mosquito but is only mildly affected and recovers quickly from the exposure to malaria. The guide is less likely to become sick from his exposure to malaria because he has the sickle hemoglobin gene. This gene mutation makes him more resistant to malaria. Mr. Man does not have this gene.

Those who do not have the sickle hemoglobin gene are more likely to die from malaria. Because of this, the gene mutation is more likely to be inherited, and most of the members of the local tribe have this mutation. The mutation probably happened over hundreds of generations as a result of the constant exposure to malaria in Africa. It is not likely to be inherited in Europe because malaria is not common there. This is an example of natural selection at work in a human population. Natural selection is the process by which a species adapts to its environment by changing its genetic makeup from one generation to the next. The concept of natural selection can also be applied to human learning.

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