20 Expository Essay Topics: Meet Great Ideas on Evolution of Human Behavior

Topics and ideas
Posted on March 2, 2016

If you are in need of a good topic to use for your expository essay on the evolution of human behavior, then consider the list of twenty topics below. Remember that each of these topics is quite wide which means that in most cases you will need to revise the content, narrowing it down until you have a topic on which you can adequately write for the number of pages required from you. This means that almost any of the twenty topics listed below can be refined using a specific theory, researcher, time period, location, gender, age, study, book, or any other demographic. You can also use the same demographics to expand any topic listed below so as to fit a larger expository essay assignment, such as an assignment which spans more than ten to twenty pages in length:

  1. The Role Reason Plays in Human Behavior
  2. Evolution of Priming in Human Behavior
  3. First Impressions Recorded in Human Behavior
  4. Thucydides Views on Human Behavior
  5. Human Behavior and Genetics
  6. Human Behavior and Psychology
  7. Medical Care for Victims of Human Trafficking
  8. Human Behavior in Various Situations
  9. Zodiac Signs and their Relation to Human Behavior
  10. Human Behavior and Emulation
  11. Human Behavior in Fires: Historically to Now
  12. Human Behavior and Determinism
  13. Psychoanalysis to Explain Human Behavior
  14. Human Nature versus Nurture: The Real Impact
  15. Misconceptions about Human Nature
  16. Cognitive-Behavioral Theory and Human Nature
  17. Human Behavior and Literature: How it is Perceived
  18. Motivation and Human Behavior
  19. How the Color Red Impacts Human Behavior
  20. The Impact of Society on Human Behavior

Aren’t those interesting topics? Feel free to also check our 10 facts on evolution of human behavior along with our guide on writing an expository essay on this topic. And there is more where that came from. Check an essay example written on one of the topics from the list above:

Sample Expository Essay on the Evolution of Priming in Human Behavior

In modern behavioral psychology, evolutionary questions can be asked about subconscious factors that may influence a person’s decisions and what precisely priming influences; is it personal experience, memories, emotions, stereotypes, social constructs, cultural background, group affiliations, or religious affiliations. Priming is a valuable tool for psychologists as it allows researchers to determine what influences a person’s decisions, thoughts, and perceptions using pictures, words, games, movies, and real life scenarios. These studies have found that exposure to certain priming materials can influence what a person thinks, such as stereotyping and decision-making processes. Priming was initially defined by Jacoby as sensitivity to certain stimuli based on a prior experience. Prior experience has been expounded upon to include prior photographic memories, written words, personal experiences, group thought, social constructs, and cultural upbringing. Thus, it is generally conceded that priming does not rely on explicit memory, but rather implicit memory.

Understanding how names and faces affect a person’s cognitive processing for decision making is imperative to the study of priming. Banse (2001) used names and faces of people liked and disliked by the subjects as primes. Research focused on three hypotheses; stimuli which are related to the liked and disliked people would extract congruency priming effects; both the masked and the unmasked procedures would have similar effects; and individual difference would be related to relationship quality. The first hypothesis measured those primes which were clearly visible. The second trial removed priming with significant others or familiar friends and family by only showing unfamiliar faces. This allowed for a reserve priming effects to be demonstrated under the conditions of familiar and unfamiliar faces. As a group, priming effects consisting of names and faces provided strong evidence that these effects were caused by the activation of each person’s “schemata” or their mental structure which represents pre-conceived ideas, their representation of the self, and a framework for organizing social information and aspects of the world. However, Banse’s study lacked consistent, explicit measures to support the correlational findings.

Warren (2009) conducted further priming research using photos. He presented different pictures of people but kept the name the same for each. He found that the presentation of a word, which the researcher read aloud, had no effect on subsequent recognition of the picture. Ultimately, the study provided a categorization model which enables a more consistent analysis of data for the verbal system, much different than that categorization stage for pictures. It gave researchers the ability to interpret data which might otherwise have appeared contradictory.

Rudman and Eugene (2002) are credited with research attributing to the theory that either temporary or chronic effects hold the ability to influence cognitive and behavioral reactions. Using a lexical decision task, they randomly assigned male subjects who were blocked on Pryor’s “Likelihood to Sexually Harass (LSH) scale” to a priming condition. Nonsexist and sexist words were incorporated as they pertained to women during their initial interview as well as the research setting, where the male participants interviewed female job applicants under high or low power conditions. Their study measured the priming manipulation as well as the stereotyped information acquiesced during the participant’s initial interview and their sexual behavior during the interview. Support was shown for the theory that the means of priming were sufficient enough to produce sex discriminatory behavior. Their work supported the conclusion that more than mere pictures could be used as primes. Specifically, words, and how those words are incorporated subconsciously within specifically altered settings has a significant effect on decision making.

Embedded in their results is the theory that priming as a principal concept leads to subconscious activation of other concepts associated with the memory of the first. Their results allowed further opportunity to study whether or not the effects associated with one society can occur in another society if primed. Examining differences in the respective society’s judgments and behaviors would be a first step. More room for further study is necessary as in this literature the influences of cultural aspects such as honor, power, status and other variables greatly affected the consistency of the results. To date only supportive, not conclusive data exists regarding casual reasoning, another field with room for investigation.

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Cool, V., Yarbrough, D. B., Patton, J. E., & Runde, R. Experimental effects of radio and
television distractors on children’s performance on mathematics and reading assignments. Journal of Experimental Education, (1994) 62, 181-194.
Laland, Kevin N., and Gillian R. Brown. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on
Human Behaviour. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Lewens, Tim. Cultural Evolution: Conceptual Challenges. OUP Oxford, 2015.
Patton, J. E., Stinard, T. A., & Routh, D. K. Where do children study? Journal of Educational
Research, (1983). 76, 280-286.
Pool, M. M., Koolstra, C. M., & Van Der Voort, T. H. A. Distraction effects of background soap
operas on homework performance: An experimental study enriched with observational data. Educational Psychology, (2003). 23, 361-380.
Washburn, Sherwood Larned, and Elizabeth R. McCown. “Evolution of human behavior.” Social
Biology 19.2 (1972): 163-170.

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