Anthropology 7 - Winter Quarter 2002

Introductory Biosocial Anthropology
Professor John Tooby

Time: Wednesdays 6:00 - 8:50 PM      Lecture Location: Chem 1171
Enrollment Codes: 
by section           Office (Tooby):HSSB 1010           Tooby & Paige Mailboxes:HSSB Second Floor Mail Room (right from elevator)

Date/time of Midterm Examination: Wednesday, Feb 13, class time (with lecture)
Date/time of Final Examination:      Saturday, March 23: 7:30 – 10:30PM in Chem 1171

Tooby office hours: 
After class in Chem 1171 & Thur 5:00-6:00 PM and 8:50-9:20PM in HSSB 1010
Teaching Fellow
Peter Paige   TF Office Hours: Monday 12-3PM in HSSB 2046


1) A Review Session for Anth 7 will be held in HSSB 1021 next Wednesday 3/20 from 4pm-5pm.

2) The Late Final will be held on the first Tuesday of Spring Quarter (4/02) from 6:00pm to 9:00 pm in HSSB 1021. Please contact the TF so he can place you on an official list.

3) Computer Exercise Assignment : A series of three computer exercises are currently installed on PC computers in the Mesa Lab (Phelps 1525) of the Microcomputer Lab (MCL). To use the MCL you will need to go to Phelps 1523 and obtain a MCL sticker (show them either your class schedule or a course syllabus).  The path to get to the program is as follows:

Start Menu-->Programs-->Math & Stats-->Evolsoft

I would suggest completing the programs in the order listed above before the midterm as they will help you understand course material. To get credit for these exercises, you need to complete the problem sets as described in their individual instruction sheets (click the program name below for instructions). Write about a half page for each exercise. The assignment is due the last week of class (5pm, in the TF's mailbox, 2nd floor HSSB).

Evolsoft Program Instructions:     Langur         Bat        Incest

You can download the Tutorial Study Guide here (Right click, Save As): Anth 7 Computer Simulation Tutorial

 4) You can download the final and midterm study guide here (Right click, Save As):

Final Study Guide

Midterm Review

5) If you did not complete one of the questionnaires (incest or decision-making) you need to CLICK HERE for the alternative assignment.

Overview: Anthro 7 is an introduction to an emerging new science called evolutionary psychology (also known as human behavioral ecology, evolutionary ecology, or biosocial anthropology). Evolutionary psychology is the study of our evolved, universal human nature and its organizing impact on human life and culture. This is a course about human nature – its causes, its structure, and its effects on our lives.

Because our species’ architecture (mind, brain, and body) was constructed by the evolutionary process, understanding how our evolutionary past built us can give us new insights into what we are and why we are designed the way we are. In particular, this new scientific approach gives us the opportunity to make new discoveries about the engineering specifications of our various mental programs (instincts, mechanisms, computational adaptations) such as parental love, friendship, sexual attraction, in-group mindedness, status-perception, aggressive threat, and jealousy. These programs were built step by step among our foraging ancestors, as problem-solving circuits that helped them deal with the recurrent problems encountered by hunter-gatherers. These instincts are universal, that is, they reliably develop in all normal members of our species. They shape all human cultures, explain the commonalties found among people everywhere, and provide the logic underlying human affairs.

Scientifically, evolutionary psychology was created by bringing together the study of evolutionary biology, human evolution, information theory, hunter-gatherer studies, cultural anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, and related fields. By using insights and methods gained from integrating these fields, researchers can now systematically map the structure of the programs that make up the human mind (and its physical basis, the brain), just as earlier generations mapped human anatomy.

This new research is revealing that there is a vast, hidden, nonconscious world of human instincts, our common legacy from our distant hunter-gatherer ancestors. These instincts are reasoning and emotional programs that we all carry within us, built into the evolved organization of human brain anatomy. These instincts are adaptations that evolved to solve the adaptive problems faced by our ancestors over two millions of years of a hunting and gathering existence. These instincts not only regulate what we want and the emotions we feel, but much about what we think, how we interpret situations, what kinds of cultures we invent, and what kinds of cultural indoctrination we resist, accept, or attempt to impose on others.

This course is an introduction to the world of human instincts: What they are, how they operate, what their functions are, how they organize our thoughts, feelings, and acts, as well as the social worlds we form as groups. The social lives of people in every culture are patterned by these instincts: they help to create status competition, ties of kinship, standards of beauty, norms of justice, systems of exchange, cycles of revenge, acts of jealousy, pressures for conformity, the complex loves and tensions of family life, and the other recurrent features of the human condition.

This course addresses such questions as: Why and in what ways do the minds of the two sexes differ? Why do our instincts categorize and respond to some members of the opposite sex as more sexually attractive than others? What are the specialized emotions and ways of thinking that build friendships and govern why they break up? Why do people get depressed? What are blame, disgust, love, pride, guilt, and shame, and why do they exist at all? What is status, and why do people care about it? What instincts impel people to form groups of friends and allies, and what are the roots of in-group bias, social exclusivity, ostracism, and intergroup hostility? Was Freud right about the Oedipus Complex?

Discussion Sections: the first sections will be held during the second week of classes.

Enroll# Type  Day   Time        Location
49361   Dis     M        3-3:50      Girvetz 2123
49379   Dis     W        8-8:50      Phelps 1425
49387   Dis      F         9-9:50     Girvetz 2123

Requirements:Course grades are based on three things:(1) A final examination that counts for 50% of the grade; (2) A midterm that counts for 25% of the grade; and (3) Class assignments, which count 25% of the grade. The final examination is cumulative, covering the entire course. The examinations will cover everything: the lectures, the readings, films, problem sets, the computer demonstrations, etc. You will be expected to bring soft lead pencils (#2) and a Par Form (Large Purple Scantron) to the Midterm and Final Examinations, since the examinations will be machine graded. They are available in the UCSB Bookstore. Your Perm Number is crucial for keeping track of your examination grades, so make sure you put this number on every exam and problem set that you take in the course. The midterm is designed so that it can only help: It closely parallels the final in its design, so that once you take the midterm, you know what to expect on the final. Moreover, if you blow the midterm, you can still get an A in the class. If you do better on the final than on the midterm, the midterm will not be counted, and your grade will be computed based on your performance on the final examination (and the rest of your course work). We are interested in how much you have learned by the end of the class, not on whether you learned it by the midterm. Also, the course is not graded on the curve: in principle, everyone could get an A if they master the course materials sufficiently well. Class assignments will consist of a variety of things, including self-paced computer tutorials, problem sets, some team-based assignments, participation in class experiments (or alternatives, as you choose), and so on. Class assignments will be graded as satisfactory or unsatisfactory, based on whether they show a good faith effort to do them.
How to do well and what to study: The most important thing you can do is to come to lecture each week – this is key to doing well. The second most important thing you can do is think about the readings in the light of what is taught in the lectures. Read each chapter for the overview or overall logic of each argument, and important facts. You will not be expected to remember minor details. However, you will not be able to figure out what is minor and what is major unless you come to lecture. Anything that comes up repeatedly in both lectures and readings you should expect to see on the exams. The goal of the course is to teach you how to reason with certain theoretical tools and principles, and to apply them to human affairs—tools involving human nature, natural selection, adaptations, information processing systems and how they regulate behavior, and so on. This material is only mastered by students who regularly attend the lectures (and do the associated exercises). Lecture notes provided by AS Notes can serve as a useful reminder about what was discussed in various lectures for those who went to lecture, but they are no replacement at all for attending lectures. They do not, and cannot distill the tutorials delivered in lecture on how to think in this new way. They do allow the student to concentrate on the lecture without having to worry about taking notes. The AS Notes materials are not reviewed by the professor. The various exercises also help students to learn to apply the course ideas confidently.
Required Texts: Available from the University Bookstore,, and other sources.

(1) Steven Gaulin & Donald McBurney / Psychology: An Evolutionary Approach / Prentice Hall: 2000.
(2) Martin Daly & Margo Wilson / Sex, evolution, and behavior / 2nd edition Prindle Weber & Schmidt: 1983
(3) Barkow, J., Cosmides, L., and Tooby, J. /The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture.New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.(paper text edition)
(4) Marjorie Shostak / Nisa: The life and words of a !Kung woman. Vintage Books pbk edition. New York : c1981.

Sections: You receive and turn in problem sets, instructions for computer demonstrations, and so on, from your TA in section. Activities, films, and assignments in sections count towards your final grade.

Experiments: There will also be some experiments – class projects that, if you participate in them, will help you understand some of the certain ideas of the course. They are a significant part of the class. The experiments will be administered in section starting in the 3rd week of classes, and they will all be anonymous pencil and paper tasks. This allows them to be discussed subsequently in class, without biasing the results. You will be able to see how seemingly trivial activities can, when the patterns are analyzed, show the existence of underlying mental machinery we are unaware of, created by events from our distant evolutionary history. Those students who, for any reason, do not wish to participate may substitute a 2-page paper on a topic to be assigned instead.There is no penalty for choosing the paper option over the experiments, and you are free to withdraw from any experiment at any time. Students will also often be given an option of alternative experiments to participate in.
Teaching Fellow: Direct queries about medical excuses for missing examinations, grades, and so on to the TF, Peter Paige TF
Computer Demonstrations at the MCL: There are a series of computer program demonstrations that you ought to go and use at the MCL. Instruction sheets will be given out in section, and will be available on the course webpage. They will be installed and available by the beginning of the fourth week of class. It shouldn’t take more than 2 hours or so of interacting with them to get the full educational benefit. To get credit, turn in the associated problem sets to the TF, with your perm number on them. They will only be graded as credit/no credit, but will make a large difference in how well you understand the course and perform on the exam.
Assigned Reading & Tentative Schedule notes

Week 1: Gaulin & McBurney ch. 1 & 2; Daly & Wilson, ch. 1 - 3; no section this week, concentrate on readings.

Week 2: Nisa Intro & ch. 1; Daly & Wilson 3 & 4; Adapted Mind Introduction; sections begin with film The Human Quest, take home breast feeding survey

Week 3: Nisa ch. 2; Gaulin & McBurney ch. 3 & 4;Daly & Wilson ch. 5; questionnairesadministered in section 

Week 4: Nisa ch. 3; Gaulin & McBurney ch. 5 & 6;Daly & Wilson ch. 6; last opportunity for questionnaires early in week – otherwise paper requirement; section: episode 2, The Human Quest
MCL computer tutorial programs should be ready – consult TF or website for handouts & instructions

Friday, Feb. 1st: The 3 hour film 7 Samurai is scheduled to be shown today at 6:30 PM. Location: BUCH 1940

Week 5: Nisa chs. 4 - 5; Gaulin & McBurney ch. 7 & 8; Daly & Wilson ch. 7 & 8; 

Week 6: Nisa chs. 6 - 7; Gaulin & McBurney ch. 9 & 10; Daly & Wilson ch. 10 (skip ch. 9);

Midterm:Wednesday, Feb 13, class time (There will also be a lecture); bring purple par form. Midterm covers first 5 weeks of reading, lectures, and sections.Section: Expt. 2

Week 7: Nisa chs. 8 - 9; Gaulin & McBurney ch. 11 & 12; Daly & Wilson ch. 11 & 12; Adapted Mind ch. 5

Grades for Midterms returned in section (with luck); midterm reviewed

Week 8: Nisa chs. 10 - 11; Gaulin & McBurney ch. 13 & 14;Adapted Mind ch. 6, 7 & 14

Week 9: Nisa chs. 12 - 13; Gaulin & McBurney ch. 15 & 16; Adapted Mind ch. 8, 10 & 15

Week 10: Nisa ch. 14 - 15, Adapted Mind ch. 1 & 3; papers due in section for those not participatingin experiments.
Final Examination: Saturday, March 23: 7:30 – 10:30 PM in Chem 1171 bring purple par score form.

Optional, recommended reading for interested students:

* Symons, Donald 1979. The evolution of human sexuality. Oxford University Press.
* Dawkins, Richard 1989. The selfish gene. Oxford University Press.
* Daly, Martin & Margo Wilson Homicide. Aldine de Gruyter, 1988.

Honors: Due to a variety of circumstances, Honors will not be offered with Anthro 7 this quarter.

Required Film: The Seven Samurai (Director: Akira Kurosawa): Students are required to view the film The Seven Samurai because many of the key concepts and principles about universal, evolved psychological machinery will be related to characters, situations, and events in various scenes from the film. One can enter complex social settings in any culture, and dissect the operations of various aspects of human nature. They are always arranged into a unique combination, but the components are universal in design. The events in this film will provide a case study in how to perceive these universals.It is a long film, well over 3 hours, so eat first. If you cannot attend the class where it is shown, the film is widely available on videotape. It is considered by some to be the greatest film ever made. It scheduled to be shown on Friday, Feb. 1st, at 6:30 pm in Buchanan 1940. 

Some principles of evolutionary psychology are:

Principle 1. The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances. 

Principle 2. Our neural circuits were designed by natural selection to solve the adaptive problems that our ancestors faced during our species' evolutionary history. 

Principle 3. Consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg; most of what goes on in your mind is hidden from you. As a result, your conscious experience can mislead you into thinking that our circuitry is simpler that it really is. Most problems that you experience as easy to solve are computationally very difficult to solve – they require very complicated neural circuitry. 

Principle 4. Different neural circuits are specialized for solving different adaptive problems. 

Principle 5. Our modern skulls house a Stone Age mind – that is, a brain designed for the ancestral world.

Principle 6: Culture is learned according to the rules embodied in our evolved mental programs. The evolved rules built into these universal programs impose an organization on culture so that it is also an expression of human nature. This allows us to understand each others' cultures as variants on recognizably human themes.

These principles are tools for thinking about anthropology and psychology, which can be applied to any topic: sex and sexuality, how and why people cooperate, whether people are rational, how babies see the world, conformity, aggression, hearing, vision, sleeping, eating, hypnosis, schizophrenia and so on. The framework they provide links areas of study, and save one from drowning in particularity. Whenever you try to understand some aspect of human behavior, they encourage you to ask the following fundamental questions: 

1.Where in the brain are the relevant circuits and how, physically, do they work? 

2.     What kind of information is being processed by these circuits? 

3.What information-processing programs do these circuits embody? And 

4.What were these circuits designed to accomplish (in a hunter-gatherer context)?

Entries from Darwin’s Notebooks - The M Notebook, 1856:

“Origin of man now proved. — Metaphysics must flourish. — He who understands baboon would do more toward metaphysics than Locke.”

“Plato says...that our “imaginary ideas” arise from the preexistence of the soul, are not derivable from experience—read monkeys for preexistence.”

Bertrand Russell: "A logical theory may be tested by its capacity for dealing with puzzles, and it is a wholesome plan, in thinking about logic, to stock the mind with as many puzzles as possible, since these serve much the same purpose as is served by experiments in physical science." 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"