There is a gene which codes for the size of your frontal lobe, and this gene is more likely to be passed on. This happens because when your frontal lobe is smaller you want fewer things, since dopamine in the frontal lobe corresponds to wanting. When you want fewer things you build up memories of doing activities around that thing. This means you become an expert in those things which, depending on what they are, means you will be able to earn more than those with bigger frontal lobes. The latest research (2014) suggests that women are attracted to earning potential while men are attracted to appearances. (1) This would mean that a man who earns more through virtue of having a smaller frontal lobe would be more likely to go on to reproduce and then pass on the gene that codes for a smaller frontal lobe. One limitation of this research is that it assumes traditional gender roles and with gender roles undergoing constant change, in the future this research may become outdated. However, earning potential is likely to remain an attractive property to have in the future, which tells us that the smaller frontal lobe gene is more likely to be passed on in the future.
For example, if what is wanted from an early age is to play football, then you will build up memories of playing football which will increase your football playing abilities. This may mean that you are skilled enough to play professionally and earn money from playing football. With your higher earning potential, you are more likely to find a spouse with whom you can reproduce with and pass on your genes. This is why the gene which codes for a smaller frontal lobe is more likely to be passed on.
The effect of having a smaller frontal lobe is to want fewer things with greater intensity and to become bored faster, how this happens is explained here:
In a normal sized frontal lobe, there are a large amount of neurons which means that dopamine is spread widely across a large area and this corresponds to wanting many things with less intensity. In a smaller frontal lobe, there are fewer neurons so dopamine is concentrated into a smaller area, this corresponds to wanting fewer things with more intensity.
Another important effect of having a smaller frontal lobe is the person will get bored faster, since having a smaller frontal lobe exhibits similar behaviour to having a damaged frontal lobe. (2) Although the exact mechanism of boredom is not known, it may be the process of down-regulation; a physical process which happens faster in smaller frontal lobes. Down-regulation is when receptors are recycled back into the neuron in response to neurotransmitters or hormones impacting the cell membrane. Which makes a neuron less responsive to future neurotransmitters or hormones. This process resembles boredom because what happens when you get bored is that you experience something pleasurable, chocolate for example, repeatedly until it fails to give you pleasure. In the same way, a neuron is impacted by a chemical messenger repeatedly which then makes that neuron less responsive in the future. This happens faster in damaged frontal lobes because the same number of chemical messengers are concentrated onto fewer cells.
However, a major limitation of this is that this is only the most likely explanation, meaning that down-regulation is only probably equivalent to boredom, and although we know for sure that frontal lobe damage does lead to boredom, and therefore having a naturally smaller frontal lobe, we don’t know for sure that receptor down-regulation is boredom in the brain.
So slowly, through the generations we are evolving into a race that gets bored faster and faster and is more and more narrrow minded, increasing the rate at which we deplete our natural resources and other effects of frontal lobe damage, like for example more diagnoses of Alzhiemers'.
(1) Saad, G. & Gill, T. (2014). The framing effect when evaluating prospective mates: an adaptationist perspective. Evolution And Human Behavior, 35(3), 184-192. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.01.002
(2) Goldberg, Y. & Danckert, J. (2013). Traumatic Brain Injury, Boredom and Depression. Behavioral Sciences, 3(3), 434-444. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/bs3030434
This post has been read 1303 times.