Study Guide for Exam 2; EP Fall 2012

Study Guide for Exam 2; EP Fall 2012

Evolutionary Psychology; PSY 307; section 1; Final-Term study sheet; Fall, 2012

SUNY New Paltz; Instructor, Glenn Geher

Study sheet for exam. Note that the study sheet is fully in essay format – but the exam will include both an essay and multiple-choice items. All questions will generally be based on the content that pertains to these essays (along with the readings and lectures from class). If you can write good answers to these essays, you should be able to do well on the exam. I also suggest that you make sure to do all the readings and take notes on the main points of the readings – and take notes on your notes to also extrapolate the main points.

And don’t hesitate to let me or any of the TAs know if you have any questions.

  1. Briefly describe Chang and Thompson’s (2011) research related to the evolutionary psychology of childhood whining behavior. In your answer, describe their basic methodology along with their basic findings. Finally, address at least one possible evolutionary-based explanation of these findings that the authors raise.
  2. Describe Volk and Atkinson’s basic premise regarding infant mortality. In your answer, describe the basic patterns of data that these authors document – and explain how the data demonstrate a cross-cultural and cross-historical perspective. Finally, describe the implications of this research for the psychology of parenting (including, in particular, parental reactions to death and injury of children).
  3. Briefly describe “the altruism problem” as it relates to evolution. Next describe kin-selection theory and how this theory – and its correlate “inclusive fitness” – addresses how evolution can account for altruism.
  4. Describe Trivers’ (1971) theory of reciprocal altruism. In your answer, describe the three basic characteristics of a species that must exist for reciprocal altruism to characterize that species. Finally, describe Trivers’ speculative idea that mathematical reasoning has its roots in issues surrounding reciprocal altruism.
  5. Describe Cosmides and Tooby’s (1992) basic methodological paradigm regarding cheater-detection. Explain how this research is rooted in Trivers’ ideas of reciprocal altruism and Dunbar’s ideas on our ancestors having small social groups. In your answer, describe basic findings from Cosmides and Tooby’s work that supports the idea of a “specialized cheater-detection module.”
  6. Describe Miller’s (2000) idea that altruism serves a courtship-related function. In your answer, describe what he has to say on the idea of altruism being sexy. Finally, describe one example he raises (conceptual or research-based) that speaks to this idea of altruism being an effective courtship display mechanism.
  7. Briefly describe Bingham and Souza’s (2009) idea of low costs associated with killing abilities in our hominid ancestors as key in helping understand human uniqueness. In your answer, address how their theory accounts for the democratization of humans as it relates to stone-throwing ability.
  8. Describe David Livingstone Smith’s (2008) evolutionarily informed theory of war. In your answer, explain what Smith means by the idea the people are both fascinated and repulsed by war. Finally, describe three specific evolutionarily informed mechanisms of dehumanization that Smith raises as it relates to human warfare.
  9. Describe Wilson’s (2007) summary of religion. In your explanation, describe what he means by the “horizontal” and “vertical” dimensions of religion. Further, explain how he describes each of these dimensions in serving as a basis for a “successful” religion. Finally, describe what Wilson means by a “successful” religion – particularly in terms of his idea of multi-level selection.
  10. In class, we talked about the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society (AEPS). Briefly describe the mission of this society along with specific areas of inquiry that it is trying to enhance. In your answer, be sure to describe the distinction between “basic” and “applied” research. Finally, describe one specific example (theoretically or documented) of the kind of applied evolutionary psychology that this society (AEPS) tries to foster.
  11. Briefly describe Kruger and Nesse’s (2007) work on male-to-female mortality ratio. In your answer, describe what this ratio specifically is – and describe patterns of this ratio that have been found across the human lifespan. Finally, describe patterns of this ratio as they relate to changes in economic systems in Europe over the past several decades.

12. Describe David Buller’s (2005) basic critique of evolutionary psychology. In your answer, describe specific comments he makes on research related to cheater-detection, reactions to infidelity, and step-parental aggression. Finally, describe the responses to these criticisms made by Codmides and Tooby, Daly and Wilson, Buss and Haselton, and Richard Dawkins. In your answer, come up with a concluding set of thoughts that summarize your take on this hotly contested issue.