Study Guide for Test 1

Test 1 will be Tuesday, September 26. You will need to bring a Scantron (882-E) and a pencil. You will have 50 minutes to complete the test.

The test will consist of 20 or 25 matching and multiple-choice questions. You should be familiar with the lecture material and the readings. The test covers the material from “Introduction” through “Randall Collins and the Processes of Violence.” It covers the following readings:

“Homicide Trends in the United States.”

Daly and Wilson, “An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective on Homicide.”

Peter Grant, “The Top Dog.”

Elijah Anderson, “Decent Families and Street Families.”

Randall Collins, “The Micro-Sociology of Violence.”

Randall Collins, “The Violent Few.”

Here are a few things you should know:


  • The general characteristics of homicides in the United States. That is, who are the perpetrators, and who are the victims? You should have a general idea of the sex, age, and race characteristics. Also, know the circumstances under which homicides occur, the relationships between offender and victim, and the regional variation.
  • In general, homicide rates of other countries in comparison to the United States. (How the rates compare to other similar countries. Countries with higher rates.)

Violence and Biology

  • Major orienting concepts and ideas of evolutionary psychology.
  • Proximate and ultimate causes. Focus of evolutionary psychology.
  • Natural selection, fitness / reproductive success, adaptations, by-products of adaptations.
  • Inclusive fitness, and how it is used to explain altruism. Relevance for explaining violence.
  • Differential parental investment (or effort), and how it affects sex differences in size, sexual behavior, and violence?
  • Evidence that supports the evolutionary view of violence (1) in general, and (2) within the family.

Violence, Psychology, and Culture

  • The main idea of social learning theory—how learning theorists would explain human behavior generally and crime (including violent crime) specifically. The four elements of Akers’s learning theory.
  • Social bond theory, and how its explanation of crime differs from that of learning theory. The four elements of the social bond.
  • The difference between individualistic and group-level theories.
  • Cultural and subcultural theories. Examples (subculture of the South and Wolfgang and Ferracuti’s subculture of violence theory).
  • Elijah Anderson’s subcultural theory of violence (code-switching, decent and street people, etc. Refer to reading and handout.). Know how Anderson’s theory differs from Wolfgang and Ferracuti’s.
  • Be familiar with the handout.

Randall Collins and the Processes of Violence

  • Two myths about violence, and what violence is actually like.
  • Why violence is difficult, examples that illustrate this.
  • Findings in WWII studies that illustrate the difficulty of engaging in violence.
  • Factors that increase firing ratios among soldiers.
  • Confrontational tension, and why it occurs.
  • Three pathways around confrontational tension.
  • Forward panics, examples and contexts in which they occur.
  • Application of Collins’s Theory to domestic violence and terrorism.
  • Be familiar with the handout on “The Violent Few.”
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