I’ve been teaching courses related to evolutionary psychology since 1999. I’ve had nearly 1, 000 students take my courses related to evolution and behavior over the years. And I’ve recently authored Evolutionary Psychology 101, a brief textbook on the topic. Based on this experience, I thought it’d be useful to create a brief test of how well people know their evolutionary psychology. Here you go – good luck!
1. In the Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals (1872), Darwin made the case that ___________.
A. human emotional expression is unique and shares no overlap with that of other animals
B. human males are better able to read emotional expressions of others than are females
C. Invertebrates actually are more emotionally expressive, on average, than are vertebrates
D. emotional expressivity evolved in humans along with members of several other species to solve adaptive problems
2. Cosmides and Tooby’s (1992) work on “cheater-detection” ultimately supported the idea that ____________.
A. kin-selected altruism is more prominent than is reciprocal altruism
B. humans are particularly adept at detecting others who have cheated on social contracts
C. humans are particularly adept at detecting others who have cheated on academic tests
D. altruism is strongly connected to infidelity reactions
3. According to Niko Tinbergen, “ultimate causation” pertains to ________ of some behavior.
A. the physiological causes
B. the socially constructed causes
C. the developmental underpinnings
D. the evolutionarily adaptive function
4. Parental investment theory (Trivers, 1972) suggests that species with relatively altricial (helpless) young should be more likely to demonstrate __________.
A. long-term mating patterns
B. short-term mating patterns
C. inductive parenting tactics
D. deductive parenting tactics
5. The concept of “evolutionary mismatch” speaks to instances in which ____________.
A. the morphology of an animal does not match the behavioral patterns of the animal
B. the emotional processes of an animal do not match the cognitive processes of an animal
C. an organism’s modern environment does not match the environment of the organism’s upbringing
D. an organism’s modern environment does not match the ancestral environment of the organism
A. Females are biologically required to invest more than are males in effectively reproducing.
B. Males are biologically required to invest more than are females in effectively reproducing.
C. All male and female behavioral differences are fully explicable in terms of social constructionist processes.
D. While some male/female differences have been documented in non-mating-relevant areas, there have been no reliable differences between the sexes documented in areas of human mating.
7. According to Geoffrey Miller’s (2000) fitness-indicator perspective on art, art in humans __________.
A. has no actual evolutionary function
B. evolved exclusively for survival-based purposes
C. primarily evolved to serve the purpose of improving warfare
D. primarily evolved as a courtship device
8. Per classic research on the topic of kin-selected altruism, ground squirrels are most likely to emit distress calls when _________.
A. a high proportion of potential mates are in the area
B. a high proportion of genetic relatives are in the area
C. they experience physical, but not psychological distress
D. they experience psychological, but not physical distress
9. From the perspective of evolutionary psychologists, the tendency for males to become sexually jealous (angry when their partners cheat sexually) provides evidence that ___________.
A. psychological adaptations primarily benefit the species of humans as a whole
B. psychological adaptations primarily benefit the individual's particular genetic lineage
C. nearly all psychological processes are best explained as social constructions
D. nearly all physiological processes are best explained as social constructions
10. From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, two males getting into an altercation at a bar would be considered an example of _________.
A. intrasexual competition
B. intersexual selection
C. reaction formation
D. the concrete-operations stage of development
1. D. According to Darwin, emotional expressions are highly similar across species – a clue into the adaptive roots of emotions (and yes, perhaps we should call Darwin the first evolutionary psychologist!).
2. B. Cosmides and Tooby documented, across several studies, that humans seem particularly adept at detecting when others cheat in social-contract situations (or when people break social agreements).
3. D. Tinbergen is famous for talking about multiple levels of evolutionary explanation. The “ultimate” causes of a naturally selected behavior speak to the evolutionary history of the behavior and how that behavior was adaptive for one’s ancestors.
4. A. Trivers famously documented that species with high levels of required parental investment are more likely than other species to demonstrate long-term mating patterns (such as monogamous pairbonds).
5. D. A basic aspect of evolutionary psychology focuses on conditions in which there is a mismatch between modern conditions and ancestral conditions that were typical during the evolution of the species.
6. A. Based on research by David Buss and others, many male/female differences in the domain of mating can be explained by the fact that females have much higher required parental costs than do males. This fact can explain, for instance, why females often require more in the way of courtship than do males.
7. D. Miller (2000) famously made the case that facets of human art likely evolved as fitness indicators and likely serve evolutionary functions associated with mate-acquisition.
8. B. Work on ground squirrels paved the way for our understanding of how kin-selected altruism works. Kin-selected altruism is essentially when one helps his or her genes as these genes exist in the bodies of others (genetic relatives).