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Fall, 2023; Tuesday/Thursday, Period 5s, Room A-203 SMC



Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind (6th., David Buss, 2019) ISBN: 978-1-138-08861-0

How Humans Evolved (9th Ed. Boyd & Silk, 2021) ISBN: 978-0-393-427967

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


I will be available in my office on Tuesdays & Thursdays during 6th period and MWF during 5th Period. I will also be glad to schedule one-on-one meetings or video conferences with you if my office hours do not line up with your schedule - just send me an email and we will set something up.


Frank McAndrew, E-131 SMC, Ext. 7525


Psychology Department Web Page


Psychology Department Writing Policy

Evolution & 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 in 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 unimportant, 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.

                               GOALS OF THE COURSE
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, discussions, 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 several short quizzes on and engage in a discussion of several of the outside readings you will be doing in the course.   Each test will be an essay test, and each test will be worth 25% of your final grade.   The Group research project will also be worth 25% of your final grade, as will the quizzes (collectively).


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 faculty


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, September 12:  Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology
[The EEA (Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness) - Buss, Chap. 1; Boyd & Silk, pp. 404-409]
[Ethology & the link between evolution & behavior]
[Evolutionary Psych vs. the SSSM]

Thursday, September 14: Basic Principles of Evolution
[Adaptation by Natural Selection - Buss, Chaps. 3 & pp. 32-43, 52-63]
[Sexual Selection - Boyd & Silk, Chap. 1 & pp. 155-164]
[Speciation - Boyd & Silk, pp. 82 - 91] 

Tuesday, September 19: Primate Ecology & Behavior
[Primate Ecology & Behavior - Boyd & Silk, Chaps. 5 & 6]

Thursday, September 21: Human Evolution & Prehistory
[Bipedalism & History of the Human Lineage - Boyd & Silk, Chaps. 10, 11, 12, 13] [OR #1 & 2]

Tuesday, September 26: Evolution of the Human Mind
[Evolution of Emotion - 
QUIZ/DISCUSSION - OR#3 & 4]                    
[The Modular Mind: Evolved Psychological Mechanisms and Domain-Specific Cognition - Buss, pp. 44-51; 372-375]
[The Development of Cognition in Children: The Importance of a “Theory of Mind" - Buss, pp. 380-381]

Thursday, September 28: Evolution & Language     
[Why Did Language Evolve?  Language as an Adaptation - Buss, pp. 370-373
; Boyd & Silk, pp. 318-319]
[Patterns of Language Development in Children]

Tuesday, October 3:
Sex Differences in Cognition - QUIZ/DISCUSSION OR #5, 6, & 7]

Thursday, October 5 : CATCH-UP DAY

Tuesday October 10: MID-TERM EXAM

Thursday, October 12: Evolution & Human Development:  Children, Parents, & Families 
[Life History Theory - Boyd & Silk, Chap. 8]
[Human Development Across the Life Span]
[Attachment Theory - Buss, pp. 381-383]
[Sex Differences in Development - OR #8]

Tuesday, October 17: 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, October 19: Human Mate Choice
[Buss, Chaps. 4, 5, 6]
[Short-term vs. Long-term Mating Strategies - Boyd & Silk, pp. 412-417; OR #12]

Tuesday, October 24: Human Mating Strategies (cont'd)

Buss, Chap 11
[The Aesthetics of Sexual Attractiveness - OR #13 & 14]
[Human Pheromones - OR #15, 16, & 17]
[Inbreeding Avoidance - Boyd & Silk, pp. 409-412]
[Jealousy, Mate Guarding, & Sexual Violence - OR #18 & 19]

Thursday, October 26: Inclusive Fitness & Kin Selection
[Hamilton's Rule - Boyd & Silk, Chap. 7; Buss, Chap. 8]


Tuesday, October 31: Altruism, Cooperation, & Morality              
[Buss, Chap. 9 & pp. 383-388]
[OR #20, 21, & 22]

Thursday, November 2: Aggression          
[Aggression - Buss, Chap. 10]

[OR #23, 24, & 25]


Tuesday, November 7: Aggression (continued)


Thursday, November 9: CATCH-UP DAY

Tuesday November 14:



FINAL EXAM: At scheduled time during the Final Exam Period                            


1. One Africa Exodus Populated Globe (Saey, 2016)

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

3. My baby doesn't smell as bad as yours: The plasticity of disgust

    (Case, Repacholi, & Stevenson, 2006)

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 Pupils are the Windows to Sexuality: Pupil Dilation as a Visual Cue to Others' Sexual

      Interest (Lick, Cortland, & Johnson, 2016)

14. The sound of female shape: A redundant signal of vocal and facial attractiveness

      (Abend, et al, 2015)

15. Fertile and selectively flirty: Women's behavior toward men changes across the ovulatory cycle

      (Cantu, et al, 2014)

16.  Scent of a Woman: Men's Testosterone Responses to Olfactory Ovulation Cues

       (Miller & Maner, 2010)

17. Kin Affiliation across the Ovulatory Cycle: Females Avoid Fathers when Fertile

      (Lieberman, Pillsworth, & Haselton, 2010)

18. Competitive reputation manipulation: Women strategically transmit social information about

       romantic rivals (Reynolds, Baumeister, & Maner, 2018)

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. Human Perception of Fighting Ability: Facial Cues Predict Winners and Losers in Mixed Martial

      Arts Fights (Little, Trebicky, Havlicek, Roberts, & Kleisner, 2015)

To see the PPT slides from the first part of the course, click on the picture of the bushbaby. To see PPT slides for the second part of the course, click on the picture of the gorilla.
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