Psyc 3102: Behavioral Genetics (Carey)

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Psyc 3102: Behavioral Genetics (Carey)
Questions for the final (2000)
Instructions: Below are a series of questions, some of which will appear verbatim on the final
exam. You may prepare for the final in any way you wish (e.g., study with friends, see Denise
and/or me, compose your answers beforehand), but the actual final will be closed book and
closed notes.
Define:
1) set point model of personality stability and change
2) meritocracy
3) heritocracy
4) smorgasbord model of personality development
Essay Questions:
1) Name and define the five forces of human evolution.
2) Consider the following statement: "The United States of America is a vast melting pot.
Among its people are many groups of Native Americans, the original inhabitants of the New
World, as well as immigrants--some willing and some not so willing--from every area of the
world. People of different ethnic backgrounds have been marrying one another even before the
USA even became its own nation, and this process has been accelerating in recent years. In
evolutionary terms, the USA is beginning to develop its own race--the American race."
Critically evaluate this statement in terms of the social definition of race and the genetic
definition of race that we learned in class.
3) Here is a complicated statement: "Empirical evidence suggests that being raised in the same
family does not make siblings similar to one another in personality. However, these same data
cannot be used to say that parents have no influence on their children's behavior." Give a lucid
and common sense explanation of this statement to a layperson who is educated but does not
have much training in psychology. Make certain to include the types of empirical data on which
the above statement rests.
4) The following is a quote from a behavioral geneticist: “If a strong meritocracy evolves in this
country [i.e., USA], it is more likely to be an educationally-driven meritocracy than an IQ-driven
meritocracy.” Give a 2 to 3 sentence, COGENT explanation of this statement.
5) Describe the relationship among genes, intelligence (as measured by intelligence tests), and
social stratification in modern industrialized society.
Psyc 3102, Final
Page 2
6) The phenomenon of personal ornamentation (i.e., fashion in clothes, hair, jewelry, tattoos,
etc.) is found in every human culture. As is readily apparent to anyone who watches National
Geographic and old movies, ornamentation varies tremendously from one culture to another and
also changes over time within a single culture. There are also marked individual differences in
ornamentation within a culture. To my knowledge, no one has ever done a twin or adoption
study of ornamentation, but the results would probably show a moderate degree of heritability.
Using your knowledge of both evolutionary psychology and the genetics of individual
differences in behavior, write a lucid and coherent theoretical account of how genes might relate
to personal ornamentation.
7) An asteroid strikes earth and results in the extinction of all human populations except for two-a group of native South American Indians living in the Andes and a population inhabiting the
mountains of Ethiopia. The two populations grow in size and expand their areas until after
several thousands of years, they eventually meet. Answer the following questions about this
fictitious scenario.
a.) Genetically, how similar and how different would these two populations be?
b.) On what phenotypic traits are they likely to differ the most?
c.) On what phenotypic traits are they likely to be most similar?
d.) Give reasons for your answers to the above three questions.
8) Describe the role that culture has played in human evolution and give two specific examples
of how culture has (probably) influenced the evolution of our species.
9) The following is an actual statement made to your professor by a very high ranking person in
the Department of Justice—“If crime is genetic, then the implications for the penal system and
the concept of rehabilitation are enormous.” Using your knowledge of the major conclusions to
this course and of the concepts of heritability and environmentability, compose a lucid response
to this statement.
10) Assortative mating:
a) Define assortative mating.
b) Give three traits on which we humans assort most strongly.
c) Give two traits on which we humans do not assort, but most people suspect we would assort
on.
d) Give the two mechanisms thought to be most important for assortative mating and what is
known about the relative importance of these two mechanisms for assortment.
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