Possible Midterm Exam Questions

 

For all of the questions below, unless specifically noted in a question, you do not have to cite specific research in your answers. But your answers need to be consistent with the research and theory we have read and discussed.

 

I will give you five of the following 10 point questions on the exam, and ask you to answer 4 of them.

1. a) Explain how similarity acts as a proximal mechanism for inclusive fitness.

b) Finding babies cute probably also serves as a proximal mechanism for inclusive fitness. Explain how.

2. Identify two markers of helping behavior that indicate that our helping behavior is often intuitive or implicit. Explain how those two markers also often indicate that a behavior is genetically influenced.

3. a) Describe two of the explanations mentioned in the article for why the bystander effect is more inhibited in dangerous situations.

b) The bystander effect is inhibited when the situation is dangerous for whom? Why?

4. a) Describe the different levels of explanation in Multilevel Selection Theory.

b) Why are kin selection and reciprocal altruism inadequate in explaining all forms of human helping?

c) How does group selection possibly address the inadequacy of kin selection and reciprocal altruism?

5. a) Does the tit-for-tat strategy in the prisoner's dilemma game better address direct or indirect reciprocity? Explain.

b) How does the tit-for-tat strategy help address the problem of cheating?

6. a) Describe an example of a situation outside of North Central College where you have experienced in which cogntive empathy is present but emotional empathy likely is not. Briefly explain how the one is present and the other is not.

b) Describe an example of a situation at North Central in which emotional empathy is present but cogntive empathy likely is not. Briefly explain how the one is present and the other is not.

7. Use the concepts of empathy and familiarity to briefly describe the relationship of mirror neurons to helping behavior.

 

I will give you five of the following 15 point questions on the exam, and ask you to answer 4 of them.

1. Why do most people agree to wear masks during the pandemic, even though it is not natural or comfortable?

a) Use at least two course concepts to answer the above question at a more distal level.

b) Use at least two course concepts to answer the above question at a more proximate level.

2. "It depends!" It's psychology's favorite wishy-washy phrase! Explain how "it depends" applies to the research in one of the following areas:

  • children's helping behavior
  • the effect of oxytocin on prosocial behavior
  • spending money and happiness

3. Identify how concern for reputation is relevant to two different topics we have discussed this term. For each of those topics, explain how observability OR similarity are critical in affecting your concern for reputation and your likelihood to help.

4. a) I mentioned that everyone driving on the same roads is an example of a Public Goods Game (PGG). Describe another real life situation (not mentioned in any of the articles) that could also be described as a Public Goods Game. Explain how it is an example of a PGG.

b) Describe how two of the methods we identified to encourage altruistic behavior could also be used in the Public Goods Game example you described above.

c) Describe how two of the methods we identified to discourage non-altruistic behavior could also be used in the Public Goods Game example you described above.

5. a) Explain whether Batson believes empathic concern is a sufficient cause for helping, a necessary cause, neither, or both.

b. Select one of the egoistic alternatives to empathic concern that Batson describes and explain why you believe it is a sufficient cause, a necessary cause, neither, or both.

c. Select a different egoistic alternative that Batson describes and explain why you believe it is a sufficient cause, a necessary cause, neither, or both.

6. Describe the role that mentalizing and experience sharing play in a person's willingness to help.

7. Using at least three course concepts, explain why one might find more helping/cooperation in one society than another.