Psychology 369 - EVOLUTION & HUMAN BEHAVIOR - Winter, 2016
Tuesday/Thursday, Period 5s, Room A-107 SMC


Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind (5th Ed., David Buss, 2015) ISBN: 978-0-205-99212-6

How Humans Evolved (7th Ed. Boyd & Silk, 2015) ISBN: 978-0-393-93677-3

Multiple Outside Readings (OR) listed below are downloadable from this web page.


Frank McAndrew, E-131 SMC, Ext. 7525


Psychology Department Web Page

Evolution and Human Behavior: An Introduction to the Course

This course will be about "Human Nature." The primary assumption of the course is that the human mind and human behavior have been shaped by the process of natural selection throughout our evolutionary past. Thus, we will be making some different assumptions about human nature than you may have encountered in most of the other courses in the social sciences that you have taken at Knox. We will explicitly be taking the position that people do NOT come into the world as blank slates waiting to be shaped by their environment and experiences, but rather that we are born with a relatively well developed arsenal of strategies, preferences, and passions that enabled our ancestors to survive in our ancestral environments. This is not to say that experience and environment are not important, but only that we come into the world more prepared to deal with some types of experiences and environments than others. This field has been a strong research interest of mine for quite some time, and I hope that this course entices you to want to learn more about it as well. Click on the link to find out more about my research interests in evolutionary psychology and to see links to other evolutionary psychology web sites. Also follow the links to get more background on human evolution and to see a Timeline of Human Evolution.  For some fun and interesting books to read to ease you into this topic, I recommend the following: The Murderer Next Door, How the Mind Works, The Rational Animal, & Mother Nature.

As an advanced 300 level course in psychology, Evolution & Human Behavior will expect you to work at a very advanced level relative to courses that you may have taken with me before.  This means that there will be a LOT of reading, and much of the reading will be from primary sources (i.e., journal articles).  You will also be given the opportunity to integrate, practice, and display the research skills you have been working on in smaller chunks in earlier courses. .   Every course that you take is designed to help you acquire knowledge and skills.  This course will help you achieve the following departmental learning goals:
1) Apply the scientific method to studying the mind, the brain, and behavior.
2) Successfully search the scientific psychological literature to find existing work that can inform the
    specific claims they are making.
3) Understand the basic theoretical approaches and classic empirical findings of psychology.
4) Select and conduct appropriate statistical tests in order to empirically test a claim.
5) Effectively communicate with clear, grammatically-correct writing that conforms to APA style.
6) Make effective oral presentations that are clear, well-organized, and interesting.

The group project addresses ALL of the goals listed above. The textbook, outside readings and lectures address goals #1 & #3; the exams and quizzes assess how well you have achieved these two learning goals.


In this course, you will take a Mid-term exam, a final exam, complete a group research project, and take a series of short quizzes based upon the outside readings you will be doing in the course.   Each test will be an essay test, and each test will be worth 30% of your final grade.   The Group research project will be worth 25% of your final grade, and the quizzes (collectively) will also be worth 15% of your final grade.  No makeup tests will be given without prior permission and a very good excuse.

93% - 100% = A
90% - 92% = A-
88% - 89% = B+
83% - 87% = B
80% - 82% = B-
78% - 79% = C+
73% - 77% = C
70% - 72% = C-
68% - 69% = D+
63% - 67% = D
60% - 62% = D-
<60% = F


In this course, you will be assigned to a research team that will complete an evolutionary psychology study from start to finish.  The research problem will be assigned to you with more details in class, and the problems will be different from year to year.  Your team will be responsible for the following aspects of the project:

  1.  Going through the process to gain approval from the Institutional Research Board
  2.  Finding relevant literature and writing a literature review
  3.  Generating plausible hypotheses based upon the literature you have found
  4.  Collecting data
  5.  Analyzing & displaying data with appropriate statistical tests and procedures
  6.  Writing a scientific paper in proper APA format
  7.  Preparing a professional quality poster
  8. Making an oral presentation of your project to the class and to the departmental faculy
  9. If the project is of sufficient quality, one of you will present it at the annual ILLOWA Psychology Conference to be held at Knox in April.
Please note that the Psychology Department Writing Policy will be enforced in the grading of the research papers resulting from the group project.

Some thoughts on group work:
You will be assigned to research teams, and you will not have any input in choosing your colleagues.  In real life work and research teams, you do not get to choose to work with your friends, but rather you have to work with the people you end up with; this will also be true this term.  Everyone in your group will get exactly the same grade on the assignment even though you will undoubtedly find that there is a range of talent and motivation among the team members just as there is in any other work group.  While this is very much a team effort, many of you may perceive unfairness in that it is inevitable that some of you will think that you have worked a lot harder than some of your colleagues or that your efforts were of higher quality.  This is an issue for you to work out for yourselves.  Discover what the strengths and weaknesses of your colleagues are and divide the labor in a way that plays to an individual’s strengths.  By pooling your efforts efficiently, you should end up with a project of higher quality than any one of you could have produced by yourself within the confines of a term. My primary concern is with the quality of the finished product, just as it would be if you were a group doing a study in a laboratory sponsored by my grant or if you were a work group reporting to me in a corporation or a government agency.  Working in teams is the way things get done in the real world of work, and I hope that this experience prepares you in at least a small way for your professional life after Knox.

[Major Sub-topics are Listed in Brackets Under Each Unit Heading]

Tuesday, January 5:  Introduction to the Course

[The EEA (Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness) - Buss, Chap. 1; Boyd & Silk, pp. 397-401]
[Ethology & the link between evolution & behavior]

Thursday, January 7: Basic Principles of Evolution & Intro to Evolutionary Psychology

[Adaptation by Natural Selection - Buss, Chaps. 2 & 3,  
[Sexual Selection - Boyd & Silk, Chap. 1; pp. 159-165
[Speciation - Boyd & Silk, pp. 81-93] 

Tuesday, January 12: Basic Principles of Evolution & Intro to Evolutionary Psychology (cont'd)

[Evolutionary Psych vs. the SSSM]
[Primate Ecology & Behavior - Boyd & Silk, Chaps. 5 & 6]

Thursday, January 14: Human Prehistory and Modern Human Behavior

[Bipedalism & History of the Human Lineage - Boyd & Silk, Chaps. 10, 11, 12, 13]
QUIZ - OR #1, 2, & 3

Tuesday, January 19: Evolution of the Human Mind

[Evolution of Emotion - Buss, pp. 395-397; OR#4]                              
[The Modular Mind: Evolved Psychological Mechanisms and Domain-Specific Cognition - Buss, pp. 379-383; 390-393]
[The Development of Cognition in Children: The Importance of a “Theory of Mind - Buss, pp. 398-399]

Thursday, January 21: Evolution & Language     
[Why Did Language Evolve?  Language as an Adaptation - Buss, pp. 388-390]
[Patterns of Language Development in Children]

Tuesday, January 26: QUIZ: [Sex Differences in Cognition - OR #5, 6, & 7]

Thursday, January 28: Video - "THE SCIENCE OF SEX APPEAL"

Tuesday, February 3: MID-TERM EXAM

Thursday, February 4:  Evolution & Human Development:  Children, Parents, & Families 
[Life History Theory - Boyd & Silk, Chap. 8; Buss, pp. 400-402]
[Human Development Across the Life Span]
[Sex Differences in Development - OR #8]

Tuesday, February 9: Evolution & Human Development (cont'd)


[Parental Investment - Buss, Chap. 7; OR#9]
[Sibling Relationships & Birth Order - OR#10 & 11]
[Parent-Offspring Conflict]
[The Trivers-Willard Effect]
Thursday, February 11: Human Mate Choice
[Buss, Chaps. 4, 5, 6]
[Sexual Selection Revisited - Boyd & Silk, pp. 159-165]
[Short-term vs. Long-term Mating Strategies - Boyd & Silk, pp. 405-414; OR #12]
[The Aesthetics of Sexual Attractiveness - OR #13 & 14]
[Human Pheromones - OR #15, 16, 17, & 18]

Tuesday February 16: Human Mating Strategies (cont'd)

Buss, Chap 11
[Inbreeding Avoidance - Boyd & Silk, pp. 401-404]
[Jealousy, Mate Guarding, & Sexual Violence - OR #19]

Thursday, February 19: CATCH-UP DAY


Tuesday, February 23: Inclusive Fitness & Kin Selection

[Hamilton’s Rule - Boyd & Silk, Chap. 7; Buss, Chap. 8]

Thursday, February 25: Evolutionary Social Psychology   

Buss, Chap. 9
[Social Cognition, Person Perception, & Prejudice - Buss, pp. 383-388]
[Altruism & Morality - Buss, pp. 233-236; 266-272; OR #20, 21, & 22]

Thursday, February 26:                                                      

Tuesday, March 1: Evolutionary Social Psychology             


[Aggression - Buss, Chap. 10]
[Remote Killing & Human Nature - OR #23]
[Status, Prestige, & Social Dominance - Buss, Chap. 12]
[Gender, Culture, & Violence - OR #24 & 25]

Thursday, March 3: CATCH-UP DAY


FINAL EXAM: At scheduled time during the Final Exam Period                            


1. The People Time Forgot (Morwood, Sutikna, & Roberts, 2005)

2. New Neanderthal demise date and Neanderthal genes in modern human DNA (Bower, 2014)

3. Before Europe, Humans Went to Asia (Bower, 2015)

4. Don't go there: The evolution of disgust (Curtis, 2013)

5. Preschool Children Recognize the Utility of Differently Shaped Trees: A Cross-Cultural Evaluation of Aesthetics and Risk Perception. (Coss & Moore, 1994)

6. Sex Differences in Spatial Abilities: Evolutionary Theory and Data. (Silverman & Eals, 1992)

7. Threat is in the sex of the beholder:  Men find weapons faster than do women (Sulikowski, 2014)

8. Sex Differences in response to Children's Toys in Nonhuman Primates (Alexander & Hines, 2002)

9. Sex Differences in Visual Attention Toward Infant Faces (Cardenas, Harris, & Becker, 2013)

10. Differential Parental Investement in Families with Both Adopted and Natural Children (Gibson, 2009)

11. Playing Favorites (Kluger, 2011)

12. A reexamination of sex differences in sexuality: New studies reveal old truths. (Schmitt, et al, 2012)

13. The sound of female shape: A redundant signal of vocal and facial attractiveness (Abend, et al, 2015)

14. Masculine men articulate less clearly (Kempe, Puts, & Cardenas, 2013)

15. Menstrual Cycle Phases and Female Receptivity to a Courtship Solicitation: An Evauation in a Nightclub (Gueguen, 2009)

16. Scent of a Woman: Men's Testosterone Responses to Olfactory Ovulation Cues (Miller & Maner, 2010)

17. The Relationship Between Oral Contraceptive Use and Sensitivity to Olfactory Stimuli (Renfro & Hoffmann, 2013)

18. Kin Affiliation across the Ovulatory Cycle: Females Avoid Fathers when Fertile (Lieberman, Pillsworth, & Haselton, 2010)

19. Male Sexual Proprietariness and Violence Against Wives (Wilson & Daly, 1996)

20. "Women and Children First" Holds Only if a Ship is Sinking Slowly (Sanders, 2010)

21. New Evolutionary Perspectives on Altruism: Multilevel-Selection and Costly-Signaling Theories. (McAndrew, 2002)

22. Historical and experimental evidence of sexual selection for war heroism (Rusch, et al, 2015)

23. Human Evolution and Human History: A Complete Theory (Bingham, 2000)

24. Foundations of the Crazy Bastard Hypothesis: Nonviolent physical risk taking enhances conceptualized  formidability (Fessler, Tiokhin, Holbrook, Gervais, & Snyder, (2014)

25. The Interacting Roles of Testosterone and Challenges to Satus in Human male Aggression (McAndrew, 2009)

To see the powerpoint slides for this course, click on the picture of the gorilla below