The purpose of this reasoning is to figure out the biological mechanisms of human beings, and what role psychology plays in them. Various researchers have contributed significant amount of studies to evolutionary psychology, and many are still contributing. One such important contribution was made by James S. Nairne, Sarah R. Thompson and Josefa N.S. Pandeirada during 2007; they stated that because mental processes that take place in human beings are similar to those of their ancestors from the Stone Age, the memory system in humans is adjusted according to the information related to survival of the fittest.
Human memory is designed to achieve certain goals and when this system is exposed to different situations it reacts in the same way a human would in the Stone Ages. However, because of so many advancements with the passage of time, the way we think and retain memories have changed, a little.
When Nairne, Thompson and Josefa tested this adaptive memory experiment, they told their participants to visualize themselves in any of the three randomly allocated situations. In a situation called survival, they were asked to visualize themselves being in a grassy land, find water and food while preventing themselves from predators. In the second situation called Moving, the volunteers were told to visualize themselves moving to a new land, where they have to find a new place to live and figure out ways to transport their possessions. In these two conditions, survival and moving, participants were told to rate a list of words related to each other and to their imaginary situations. In the third and last situation called pleasantness, volunteers were only asked to rate the pleasantness found in the list of words that were given to them. Later on, a surprise test was given to the volunteers. The results to this experiment led to the term called survival advantage.
Survival advantage leads to the notion that information, which is linked with the survival part of humans that was found in the Stone Age’s environment, has higher rate of retention through memories than the information given in controlled situations. The researchers conducted further experiments called the free recall, which concluded that the human minds were designed in such a way as to retain memories related to the survival. Moreover, this kind of information leads to more emotional and arousal processing in the brain, eventually enhancing the retention process.