Possible Midterm Exam Questions (for in-class portion of exam)
Unless specifically noted in a question below, you do not have to make reference to specific research in your answers. But your answers need to be consistent with the research we have read and discussed. I will ask you to answer five of the following questions on the in-class portion of the exam.
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. Explain how selective (rather than indiscriminate) helping could be consistent with the group selection of traits in humans.
4. 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.
5. 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?
6. 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?
7. a) Batson proposed that seeing someone suffer triggers empathic concern which triggers altruistic motivation which may or may not lead to helping behavior. Create your own model of how a clean scent might lead to helping behavior.
b) Given the research presented in the Clean Scents article, why does it make sense that there might be at least one distal cause for this relationship between clean scents and helping?
8. 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?
9. a) Describe an example of a situation at the place you volunteer 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 College in which emotional empathy is present but cogntive empathy likely is not. Briefly explain how the one is present and the other is not.
10. Use the concepts of empathy and familiarity to briefly describe the relationship of mirror neurons to helping behavior.
Take-home Midterm Exam Questions
Answer four of the following five questions.
1. Thank you for setting up and returning the desks to their original positions in our classroom. Why did you do that? Why did some students do more than others?
a) Use at least three course concepts to answer these two questions at the distal level (above the level of the individual).
b) Use at least three course concepts to answer these two questions at the 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:
3. Identify how concern for reputation is relevant to three different topics we have discussed this term. For two of those topics, explain how observability and similarity are critical in affecting your concern for reputation and your likelihood to help.
4. a) For two of the motives of Self-Determination Theory, explain why it would or would not make sense that each motive would be selected for at the group level.
b) Explain how each of those two motives you chose could affect a person's willingness to volunteer.
5. a) I mentioned that everyone driving on the same roads is an example of a Public Goods Game. Describe another real life situation (not mentioned in any of the articles) that could also be described as a Public Goods Game.
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.