Ideas like nuggets in the stream, glisten. Supernormal stimulus is one of them. Hess? Tinbergen? Pick up the nugget and focus its reflections on courtship and mating and on traits other than stickleback bellies and gull bills. Complements or supplants other concepts dealing with similar material. For example:
Sexual selection theories ... size of secondary traits thought to be correlated with good genes or healthy sons. Still, a mechanism missing. Could be that peacock tails are the essential cue by which a hen - through her own psychological adaptations - recognizes a male to be of her species in addition to being a throttle on the intensity of her attraction.
Orthoselection ... the apparent progression of a species across many generations in a consistent direction. Gives appearance of goal-direction or purposiveness. Especially in absence of known selective pressures. Generally, species get bigger with generations.
K-Selection ... associated with stable environments carrying near their capacity for a particular species. Associated with more cooperation, less altruism, fewer children, greater parental investment, and LARGER children.
Mismatch... a gap between our present culture and our home environment, our Eden. We hurt in areas where we changed our culture but not ourselves. Accounts, perhaps for depressions, for anxiety, and for feral behaviors? Why the mismatch? CAN'T BLAME IT ON TECHNOLOGY OR AGRICULTURE. A product of Psych Adaptations mixed with those for supernormal stimuli? Our institutions, our recreation, our systems for caring for one another are cancerous expressions, perhaps, of sensory mechanisms drawing us towards the larger, the louder, the faster, the stronger. As if we make our own alphas when we form organizations or buy our toys.
Certainly, all the other mechanisms and processes that people have laboriously defined may be valid. However, the simpler concept is that of sensory mechanisms guiding choices in every phase of life. Their bias is a function of two fundamental concepts, excitation and lateral inhibition. The former triggers a response chain, the latter shuts down the initial response sequence as well as competing reactions that are weaker. The more powerful the trigger, the greater the suppression of competing actions. Leads to contrast effects in all sensory modalities, to the absence of distraction, to persistence (and eventually, to thinking and the Executive Functions), to the selection of the bigger if not the biggest, to the more intense if not the most intense. From phototropism to larger physical sizes, to symmetrical features?, to livelier temperaments? Even to bigger tail fins on our darn cars, or to larger engines, more features, faster speed in excess of what we need to travel safely. No one talks about car evolution and orthoselection but they could.
Aggravated by manic traits ... an excess of the alpha stuff, too much drive for territory, for standing, for resources, for sexual choices. Take something big and make it bigger.
Produces a range of things that, enlarged, do not work so well as they did when smaller. Residential institutions (prisons, hospitals), housing projects, welfare, Medicare, unions, churches, school districts, health care networks,, Dolly Parton, Arnie S, the blond in Roger Rabbit, towns/cities.
Absence of continuing, personal relationship lets Cheaters thrive. Tit-for-tat works if there is a continuing series of contacts between creatures. Disrupted by large organizations, by rotating staff, whether physicians or letter carriers. Encourages loyalty to the company (if that relationship is a continuing one) rather than to patients or customers. But, organizational interests develop contrary to those of individual clients. Need to decentralize providers, consumers, monitors, and advocates.
Oscillation between competing Evolutionary Stable Strategies (Cheater/Sucker) is slowed. No inhibitory effects from patient feedback onto organization's behavior. Cheaters increase in the population. Cheater/T4T metaphoric, functional identity to oscillation seen @ cellular or bacterial level? Action creates its own negative feedback. Shuts itself down unless there is a large input (lots of customers) and little inhibition (no costs to the organization for mistakes).
Thus, H&G minds build H&G cultures, even ones with mismatch. (1)
"How terribly stupid not to have thought of that."
1) You could have smaller groups for most social functioning and, with computer tools, develop greater efficiency when handling diminished resources such as food or petroleum. You would also develop selection pressures for people to function smoothly in hives such as McDonalds or Toyota assembly lines. (Does McDonalds meet criteria for "eusociality"? Defined by Wilson as, "cooperative care of the young, reproductive division of labor with the sterile working on behalf of individuals engaged in reproduction, and overlap of at least two generations contributing to colony labor.") Guys like me wouldn't make it.