syllabus - Behavioral Biology Laboratory

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Evolution and Economics of Human Behavior - 2015 Winter Quarter
Course Number: BIOS29265, CHDV27950, CHDV37950, PSYC27950, PSYC37950
Course Hours: 9:00-10:20
Room: KCBD 1103
Instructor: Dr. Dario Maestripieri
Office: Rosenwald 318D
Phone: 834-4104
Office Hours: by appointment
Email: [email protected]
TA: Andrea Henry ([email protected])
TA: Christine Fleener ([email protected])
Lecture#
Date
Lecture Topic
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Tuesday Jan 6
Thursday Jan 8
Tuesday Jan 13
Thursday Jan 15
Tuesday Jan 20
Thursday Jan 22
Tuesday Jan 27
Thursday Jan 29
Tuesday Feb 3
Thursday Feb 5
Tuesday Feb 10
Thursday Feb 12
Tuesday Feb 17
Thursday Feb 19
Tuesday Feb 24
Thursday Feb 26
Tuesday Mar 3
Thursday Mar 5
Tuesday Mar 10
Thursday Mar 12
Tuesday Mar 17
Course Introduction
Evolution and economics: concepts and definitions
Psychological/behavioral adaptations for survival
Aggression and violence
Dominance, status, and leadership
Kinship and nepotism
Altruism and cooperation
How to choose a business or a romantic partner
Signaling theory and advertising
Mid-Term Exam
Mating strategies
Love, marriage, and children: theories and facts
The truth about why beautiful people are more successful
Cognitive biases in perception and decision-making
Life history, stress, and risk-taking
Neuroendocrine mechanisms
Evolution of individual differences I: Personality
Evolution of individual differences II: Psychopathology
Review session
Reading Period – no class
Final exam
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course explores how evolutionary biology, psychology, and behavioral economics
explain many different aspects of human behavior. Specific topics include evolutionary
theory, game theory, cost-benefit analyses of behavior from an evolutionary and a
behavioral economics perspective, aggression, power and dominance, experimental
economic games of cooperation and competition, biological markets, parental
investment, life history and risk-taking, love and mating, physical attractiveness and the
labor market, emotion and motivation, sex and consumer behavior, cognitive biases in
decision-making, personality, and psychopathology.
EXAMS and GRADING
It is strongly advised that the assigned material be read in advance of each class meeting.
Course grades are based upon one mid-term exam, one final exam, and weekly
contributions in the form of comments to be submitted to Chalk. The exams will require
you to answer one of several essay questions. The essay will be written in class without
the aid of any reading materials. The grading scale will vary from A to F.
TEXT
Required textbook:
Games Primates Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of
Human Relationships. By Dario Maestripieri. New York: Basic Books, 2012.
Readings for lectures:
Lecture #0: Course introduction
no readings
Lecture #1: evolution and economics: concepts and definitions
Required readings:
 Games Primates Play: chapter 9
 Almenberg J, Dreber A. (2013). Economics and evolution. In: Evolution,
Games, and God: The Principle of Cooperation. Ed. By M. Nowak and S.
Coakley, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 132-149.
Optional readings:
 Pinker, S. (1997). How the Mind Works. New York: Norton.
 Pinker, S. (2002). The Blank State. The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New
York: Viking.
 Buss, D. (2013). Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind (5th
edition). New York: Pearson.

Camerer, C. (2003). Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic
Interaction. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Lecture #2: psychological/behavioral adaptations for survival
Required readings:
 Games Primates Play: chapter 1
 Buss, D. (2013). Chapter 3. In: Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of
the Mind. New York: Pearson.
 Tybur, JM, Lieberman D, Kurzban R, DeScioli, P (2013). Disgust: evolved
function and structure. Psychological Review, 120, 65-84.
Optional readings:
 Thornhill R, Fincher CL. (2014). The Parasite-Stress Theory of Values and
Sociality. Berlin: Springer.
Lecture #3: Aggression and violence
Required readings:
 Georgiev A., Klimczuk, A., Traficonte, D., & Maestripieri, D. (2103). When
violence pays: A cost-benefit analysis of aggressive behavior in animals
and humans. Evolutionary Psychology, 11, 678-699.
Optional readings:
 Pinker, S. (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature. Why Violence Has
Declined. New York: Viking.
Lecture #4: Dominance, status, and leadership
Required readings:
 Games Primates Play: chapter 2, chapter 4
 Henrich J, Gil-White F. (2001). The evolution of prestige. Freely conferred
deference as a mechanism for enhancing the benefits of cultural
transmission. Evolution and Human Behavior 22, 165-196.
Optional readings:
 Van Vugt, M., & Ahuja, A. (2011). Naturally selected: the evolutionary science
of leadership. New York: Harper Business
Lecture #5: Kinship and nepotism
Required readings:
 Games Primates Play: chapter 3
 DeBruine LM, Jones BC, Little AC, Perrett DI (2008). Social perception of
facial resemblance in humans. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 64-77.
Optional readings:
 Bellow, A. (2003). In Praise of Nepotism: A Natural History. New York:
Doubleday.
 Hruschka DJ, Henrich J (2013). Economic and evolutionary hypotheses for
cross- population variation in parochialism. Frontiers in Human
Neuroscience, doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00559.
Lecture #6: Cooperation and reciprocity
Required readings:
 Games Primates Play: chapter 5
 West SA, El Mouden C, Gardner A. (2011). Sixteen common
misconceptions about the evolution of cooperation in humans. Evolution
and Human Behavior, 32, 231-262.
 Nowak, M. (2013). Five rules for the evolution of cooperation. In:
Evolution, Games, and God: The Principle of Cooperation. Ed. By M. Nowak
and S. Coakley, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 99-114.
Optional readings:
 Nowak M, Highfield R (2011). SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and
Why We Need Each Other to Succeed. New York: Free Press.
Lecture #7: Partner choice
Required readings:
 Games Primates Play: chapter 8
 Barclay, P. (2013). Strategies for cooperation in biological markets,
especially for humans. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34, 164-175.
Optional readings:
 Oyer, P. (2014). Everything I ever needed to know about economics I learned
from online dating. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Lecture #8: Signaling theory and advertising
Required readings:
 Dunham, B. (2011). The role for signaling theory and receiver psychology
in marketing. In: Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences, ed. by G.
Saad. Berlin: Springer, pp. 225-256.
 Nelissen RMA, Meijers MHC (2011). Social benefits of luxury brands as
costly signals of wealth and status. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32, 343355.
Optional readings:
 Zahavi A, Zahavi, A. (1997). The Handicap Principle: A Missing Piece of
Darwin’s Puzzle. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
 Miller, G. (2009). Spent. Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior. New York:
Viking.
 DeFraja F. (2009). The origin of utility: sexual selection and conspicuous
consumption. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 72, 51-69.
 Saad G (2011). Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences, ed. By G.
Saad. Berlin: Springer (the whole book).
Lecture #9: Mating strategies
Required readings:
 Buss, D. (2013). Chapters 4, 5, 6. In: Evolutionary Psychology: The New
Science of the Mind. New York: Pearson.
Optional readings:
 Buss, D. (2003, 4th edition). The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human
Mating. New York: Basic Books.
Lecture #10: love, marriage, and children
Required readings:
 Games Primates Play: chapters 6 and 7
 Frank, R. (1988). Chapters 3 and 10 in: Passions Within Reason. The Strategic
Role of the Emotions. New York: Norton.
Optional readings:
 Frank, R. (1988). Passions Within Reason. The Strategic Role of the Emotions.
New York: Norton (the whole book).
Lecture #11: The truth about why beautiful people are more successful
Required readings:
 Explaining financial and prosocial biases in favor of attractive people:
Interdisciplinary perspectives from economics, social psychology, and
evolutionary biology. Manuscript in preparation.
Optional readings:
 Hamermesh, D. (2011). Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More
Successful. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Lecture #12: cognitive biases
Required readings:

Haselton, M. G., & Nettle, D. (2006). The paranoid optimist: an integrative
evolutionary model of cognitive biases. Personality and Social Psychology
Review, 10, 47-66.
Optional readings:
 Kenrick, D, Griskevicious V. (2013). The Rational Animal. How Evolution
Made Us Smarter Than You Think. New York: Basic Books.
Lecture #13: Life history, stress, and risk-taking
Required readings:
 Del Giudice, M., Gangestad SW, Kaplan HS (2015). Life history theory and
evolutionary psychology. In The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (2nd
edition), ed. By D. Buss. New York: Wiley.
 Del Giudice, M. (2011). The adaptive calibration model of stress
responsivity. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 35, 1562-1592.

Mishra S. (2014). Decision-making under risk: integrating perspectives
from biology, economics, and psychology. Personality and Social Psychology
Review, 18, 280-307.
Optional readings:
 None
Lecture #14: neuroendocrine mechanisms
Required readings:
 TBA
Optional readings:
 TBA
Lecture #15: personality
Required readings:

Nettle, D. (2006). The evolution of personality variation in humans and
other animals. American Psychologist, 61, 622-631.

Gutierrez F, et al. (2013). Fitness costs and benefits of personality disorder
traits. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34, 41-48.
Optional readings:
 Ferguson E, Heckman, JJ, Corr P. (2011). Personality and economics:
overview and proposed framework. Personality and Individual Differences,
51, 201-209.
Lecture #16: psychopathology
Required readings:

Del Giudice, M. (2014). An evolutionary life history framework for
psychopathology. Psychological Inquiry, 25, 261-300.
Optional readings:
 None
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