Stephanie’s Human Ethology Assignment


  • Place: Icon, Tuscaloosa
  • Time: Arrived at around 12 am. Left at 3:00 am.
  • People: There was a mix of early 20-somethings and middle-aged gay men. Not to mention a healthy dose of drag queens (Bambi was my favorite).
  • Ambience: The bar was very inviting. I noted how friendly the bouncer was at the door when he had to attach a band to my wrist to denote my age: “No! I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that. Alcohol is gooood!” as he leaned backwards in an excited motion.

Focal Sampling:

By this point, Icon was pretty packed, so I hopped aboard the dancing stage to increase my chances of honing in on a subject. As I was standing there, half-heartedly swaying, I noticed a gorgeous fellow appear on stage, seemingly out of nowhere (Criss Angel, I’m onto your tricks). What made him stand out so was his apparent affinity for tweed jackets and his beard (mainly his beard; it was so uniform).

Trying not to be ousted as the true beard-lover that I am, I spent a few moments taking note of his actions. Although completely confident to mingle and mouth the lyrics to M.I.A. alone, he seemed to be scanning the stage for a receptive dance partner to share in the gyrating glory. Quickly enough, he found such a partner. She appeared to be in her early 20’s, pixie-cut, and very androgynous. As soon as GS Boyz’s “Stanky Leg” blasted, all bets were off. The attraction was there.

The song eventually ended and another began playing. After “Stanky Leg” having had ignited the flame, the pair engaged in sensual kissing. It beared a likeness to the mating of Gartner snakes, with their production of male and female pheromones. With the pair still intertwined, I honestly began wondering how long this odd pair could last. Her denim button-up became untucked, his pinstripe shirt ruffled… and as quickly as it began, it ended by the female subject’s stern: “I’ll be right back. I’ve gotta go to the bathroom.” She never came back.

Scan Sampling:

First Scan- The bar is comparable to a sardine can, people in every direction. I do notice a heavy influx of people at the bar, filing every seat. While looking in that direction, I notice a fellow go to the bar in an attempt to order a drink, however, his attempt is met with failure when the bartender does not notice him. He waits patiently for the remainder of the minutes to receive his drink,

Second Scan- By this point, I noticed everyone in the room seemed to be dancing. I tried to narrow my target to a group of girls who seemed to be lesbians. Of the four, there seemed to be two couples. Of said couples, one pair couldn’t seem to keep their eyes off one another. The wavy-haired woman kept a firm grasp over her lady as they swayed to the music. As for the other couple (right  next to them) they seemed a bit less entranced.

Third Scan- My next scan leads me to a sparkly drag queen talking to a gentleman off to the side, in front of the mirror. Flirtation is abound as smirks and tender touches run high. The drag queen gently rests her hand on the gentleman’s shoulder and whispers something into his ear. They both seem to be having an engaging conversation.

Fourth Scan- Two men dressed in suits (appearing to have arrived there separately) begin hugging. A third party pops up, waving a camera and makes a motion for the duo to kiss. The pair obliged and engage in a fairly long make-out sesh. The photog is pleased by this and flashes a big smile. Meanwhile, the pair end their passion in turn for some casual conversation. They likely were discussing their snazzy suits, because that’s what I would have done.

Analysis of Notes: 

I did observe the 5 stages of courtship in relation to the study. The beard-wielding fellow and his pixie-cut comrade both followed the five stages fairly exact. He began by getting her attention with his suave moves, her acknowledging him, them exchanging words, slight touch, and then completely to full body synchrony.

With that being said, not all couples or groups on the dance floor followed these steps. Some couple opted to skip stages two and three altogether. 15 minutes certainly makes it difficult to adequately observes all of these stages without missing steps. 

Jennifer’s Human Ethology Assignment

Innisfree Irish Pub

1925 University blvd

Tuscaloosa, AL, 35401

February 9, 2013. 10:45 PM

Mostly dark.Sorority and Fraternity hangout. The noise is extremely loud between the music and talking.


While observing a young man at a local bar and grill I was able to realize his emotions without actually talking to him. He spent much of his time smiling and laughing while conversing with others. He likes physically touching the people he is in conversation with, whether it be hugging or patting. He constantly held a drink in his right hand.

He used the Attention Getting stage: He smiled when he would look around the room for either people he knew or were interested in meeting. He rubbed his hands through his hair about every minute.

He used Recognition: He gazed at certain girls while he talked to them. He usually never broke eye contact with them unless someone came up to him. He would lean towards girls.

He talked to a variety of people, mostly friends as far as I could tell. He whispered in girls ears.

He definitely used touch to his advantage. He hugged girls and patted guys on the back. He also shook hands with other guys.

Total body synchrony: I didn’t really notice him aligning his body up with anyone, 15 minutes was probably too short.

Attention getting was used first, then talking and recognition together, then touch. But touch was used first sometimes when he knew the person to get their attention.

I will definitely not observe someone again unless I’m on higher ground looking down on them. The constant “awkward turtle” look I received was embarrassing.


I watched a different group with every 15 minute scan and realized not much is different from the focal watching. Girls were playing with their hair. Girls scream when they see someone they really like. One couple was fighting while others stared at them. Girls like straws in their drinks, boys throw them on the floor or bend them out of the way.

Attention Getting Stage: a group of boys were looking around for girls (I would think but could be wrong). Both girls and boys were smiling. Girls were brushing their hair while searching or talking.

Recognition: This was harder to notice while watching a group of people. There was eye contact.

Talking was a major impact on groups/couples. Lack of talking and turning their back on someone explained how they felt about a person.

Touch was used by the couple fighting, he was trying to calm her down by stroking her arms up and down. Hugging was an immediate impact for conversation.

Total Body Synchrony: The couple fighting was facing each other. Many that were in a group did not synchronize.

This scan was not as awkward to watch as the Focal.

Ayana’s Human Ethology Assignment

Location: Starbucks, 9:10pm

The service area of the Starbucks in fairly well lit but the sitting areas have more sparse lighting. Students of all types seem to be here, most on computers, some people are in groups and some solitary. It is definitely a college atmosphere, but it is located on campus so that is to be expected. There is soft music playing in the background and most people who are not studying alone are chatting, but it isn’t loud by any means.

Focal Sampling: A young looking guy with very curly hair and a sort of gangly build arrived and got into line with a dark haired hipster looking girl who smiled at him often.  They boy bought a sandwich and a drink (grandehot chocolate), placed them on a table and proceeded to take off the heavy jacket he was wearing. Then he showed the girl who was seated next to him something on the side of his torso that I could not observe from my location. I would have assumed it was a tattoo if he had lifted his shirt a bit, but as very little skin was showing I really do not know what he could have been showing her.  He took out his computer and put it on an adjacent chair and had a large notebook on his lap but opened neither. His sandwich was out of its bag but he never took a bite, just took sips of his drink and spoke quietly to the girl beside him.  While they talked at a close proximity I never saw them actually touch each other. After some time he gets up collects his things, puts back on his jacket and exits with the girl, taking his uneaten sandwich with him.

Scan Sampling: The shape of this location with its pillars and seating arrangement coupled with my location makes it difficult to scan the room without being awkward and drawing attention to myself. Most people here have computers, Ipads or books with them. People at the taller tables study alone, people at the lower tables are alone or in a small group. An employee mops up the store around the people. A group of three people near the windows of the store laugh often. Another group of boys get up to disband while discussing final details of the financial aspect of the project they are working on. A girl in rain boots who had previously been sitting alone on her phone gets up when a girlfriend of hers arrives and they get in line to order drinks.

Analysis: This observation of the Starbucks would suggest that it is not really a place for romantic endeavors, more so a place for studying and spending time with friends. My focal sample displayed the first three stages (1. Attention getting, 2. Recognition, 3. Talk) but even if giving more time I doubt it would have progressed as their interest in each other seemed mostly friendly in my opinion. The girls constant smiling could be seen as flirty but there weren’t many other cues for that other than their proximity, which still could be just a factor of a close, comfortable, friendly, relationship. Friendship was also seen in most of the groups in the scan sample who were in groups.

Cecilia’s Human Ethology Assignment

Date. 2/9/13

Time. 11:40PM-1AM

Location. Bo’s Bar, Tuscaloosa

Environment. The place was dimly lit and very smoky. The majority of people there were fraternity/sorority types, it had a fairly college student atmosphere, and there were clearly more men than woman. Loud music was playing and people were talking, though they were hard to hear even when they yelled. There was a bar with alcohol being served, and an area by the speakers where people were dancing, though it couldn’t be called a dance floor. For my observations I positioned myself near a second bar towards the back of the room by a pool table and some game machines.

Focal Sample. I observed a man who was probably 21-22 since he appeared college age but had a wrist band for purchasing alcohol. He was wearing a green striped shirt, jeans, and tan work boots. He was shorter and a bit plumper than the other men around him, and maintained a fairly blank facial expression which made me wonder if he was intoxicated, though he did not have a drink. For most of the time I watched him, he simply played pool with some male friends of his. He would yell at his friends and circle the pool table occasionally, but he hardly turned his attention away from the game unless someone interacted with him directly, and no females approached him. Despite this apparent focus, he only made one shot the whole game and, like his many failed shots, seemed indifferent about it, making me again wonder if he was somewhat inebriated. After 12 minutes of this, he and his friends abandoned the game and moved towards the dance area, but he stopped short of it to talk to another male friend who was not playing pool with them. He then spoke with a young woman who he seemed to know, moving himself close to her so she could hear him. He then took a sip of beer from someone. A second female came over and put her arm around him, though he appeared to know her as well, and they talked briefly. After scanning the room, he mockingly takes the hat of his friend who is even shorter than he is, but soon returns it and makes his way to the bar.

Scan Sample. In the first scan, most people were standing idly or talking casually with friends. Some people were playing pool, some were at the bar, and a few were sitting on the benches lining the wall. The second scan revealed a group of girls standing in front of me by the edge of the bar, a crowd of men at the bar next to them and several men standing on their other side by the pool tables. People were smoking and drinking, and there was little interaction between the sexes. By the third scan, the room had become significantly more crowded. The group of girls was still concentrated in from of me but some of them were talking to guys from the bar. Several people arrived from across the room, greeting friends with hugs and hellos, and there was a lot of male traffic going from the bar to the dance floor between me and the girls. However, people were still generally standing or sitting idly. In the last scan, the group of girls had moved towards the dance floor, leaving one at the bar among the group of men. The area was more integrated and people were interacting more with one another, though there were still far more males than females.

Analysis. I observed 4 out of the 5 stages in my studies; however, I did not observe these stages in sequence or with the same people. Attention getting was exhibited by the focal subject when he took his friend’s hat and by the group of girls when they positioned themselves in an area of high traffic. Recognition occurred when the group of girls began interacting with the men, and talk happened several times during the study. Touch was observed when a girl put her arm around the focal subject. For most of the focal study, my subject did not seem interested in interacting with the opposite sex and his lack of expression made him very boring.

Harley’s Human Ethology Assignment

It’s the WorkPlay theatre. The tables are lit with battery operated candles. Girls are dressed in skinny jeans and cowboy boots. A group of girls come rushing in screaming, each of them is wearing a shorter dress than the girl next to them. The last girl in the group is not wearing a bra. Her boobs are freely hanging out and making it known that she is available. Quickly the girl takes the center of the dance floor and lets it all hang out. She starts dancing and fluffing her hair. She looks intently at a guy and motions him to come over. At this point she is dipping her hips further down and pulling the bottom of her dress up each time she sways. The girl’s stilettos almost cause her trouble as the alcohol she has been drinking finally kicks in. The music goes silent and the girl screams “21 baby”. Immediately I notice that the girl is trying to get as drunk as possible since it is her twenty-first birthday. The dark mysterious man she was eyeing earlier finally walks over to her and introduces himself. Next thing I know they are grinding all over each other. The guy is feeling her and up and down. He asks her if she would like a drink, she quickly replies yes and he sets off to find her a drink. The girl then begins to dance with another man the same way she danced with Mr. Dark Handsome Man. The girl throws her hands up in the air and screams. Her boobs are flapping all around making the men all stare. Her friends tap her on the shoulder to let her know her original dance partner was on his way back with her drink. She stops dancing with the second man and quickly chugs the drink the dark handsome man brings her. The song changes and the girl fondles with her hair while pressing against the man, halfway into the song the man is sticking his tongue down the girl’s throat. This too disgusting to watch. They seriously need to get a room. This is for a paper I remind myself. The guy then spanks the girl’s ass and they walk out of the building…I think I know what happened there…


Madelyn’s Human Ethology Assignment

How to Pick-up Someone at a Starbucks

            Focal Sampling: On Sunday February 10th at 2pm I arrived at Starbucks in the Ferguson Center. I sat down in a central location and started to scope out the person I was going to observe. A man, in his late-twenties or early thirties, walked into the Starbucks and got a Grande Latte. After his name was called he got his drink and sat down at a round table. A few minutes later a woman sat down at the table with him and he began talking to her. He pauses what he is doing to look at her and listen to what she is saying then motions her to sit down next to him. She sits down and begins to talk to him. When she is talking the man looks up from his computer and leans in towards her. He also places his index and middle finger on his lips and his palm under his chin. Whenever she pauses he begins to nod his head in agreement. She finishes talking and then they continue to do work for the rest of the time period. During this time of observation I noticed that the man was leaning in towards the woman.  This indicated his general interest in her and his body language shows that he is attracted to her. Because his fingers are near his mouth that draws attention to his lips.

Scan Sampling: The first group I observed was a group of young women who were getting drinks and pastries. They talked loudly and eventually sat down and did a bit of homework. The second group I observed was a group of men who were speaking a different language. One man ordered all the drinks for the people he was with and they continued to speak in a different language. On my third sampling two people got their coffee and sat down and had a discussion until my observation time was over.

Jessica’s Human Ethology Assignment

This weekend I attended a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition in Atlanta, GA. While not a bar or a typical place you would think of for a ethnography study on human mating behavior, the tournament presents such a unique opportunity to study mating systems in the sub-culture of fighters. While we always see the fighter in the spotlight, as a female fighter myself, its always been interesting to me the dynamic between the male fighters and their female companions. What I ended up observing at this tournament was quite similar to what I have observed in similar situations throughout the time I’ve been involved in the sport.

I started off my focal sample with a particular female who looked about my size, mainly I started with her because I thought she looked like I might be fighting her and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to size up my competition while completing my assignment. She wore track pants and a t-shirt, quite different from the girly, dressed up females simply there to hold their boyfriends shoes while they were on the mat, but throughout the day I came to find out that she was NOT a fighter, and I’m not really sure if she was with any particular guy either. However, she was obviously with a group of men (what I had first presumed was her gym but because she didn’t compete I’m not sure). I don’t believe she was gay but I could be wrong. However, it seemed to me she was using her athletic appearance to attract the males in her group because at times I believe she was obviously flirting which was evident by her body language.  In my opinion, her apperance was being used as an attention getting mechanism to set her apart from the “glove chasers” and convey to potentional mates of her compatability and similar interests.

My scan sampling at this point became a little patchy. Since both me and my teammates were competing, consecutive 15 minute intervals of only observation became a tad bit difficult. However, some very interesting things happened. I started to notice that there were little categories couples fit into. Firstly, you would obviously see the girls in the bleachers and on the sidelines handleling cameras and keeping an eye on flip-flops and t-shirts while in full makeup. The most outstanding thing to me with these women is that even though they were obviously there for their boyfriends, I saw not one hugged up to anyone THE ENTIRE TIME. You rarely saw the guys with one of these girls and if you did it was only in them passing by after their match to pick up their clothing items. It was kind of as if dating the fighter was suplication for any actual affection there might be floating around. It was very obvious that there was to be no affections shown by the fighter to the female while it was time to compete. I believe this was probably because the men would not want to be seen by their peers as weak in anyway when in an enviroment fueled by male on male competition.

Directly opposite of this was the dynamic I observed between two fighter couples (a rarity but still observable none the less). While you still saw the girls holding cameras and shoes, you saw their boyfriends doing exactly the same! You were also a lot more likely to see these couples hug or kiss (mostly the PDA acceptible verstions) off the mats than the previous. I don’t know if that was maybe because there was not any power embalance there like there was with the male fighter couples but there was a clear difference in this aspect. They also seemed more inclined to introduce their partners to their competitors and comrads.

Lastly, one of my most notable observations was that of a lesbian couple, the one being a fighter and the other not. Although you would expect the one fighter dynamic to be there, it wasn’t. You saw them equally like you saw the two fighter couples. I found this extremely interesting but I couldn’t, and still can’t really put my finger on how or why it was like that.

Sydney’s Human Ethology Assignment

Focal Sample

Young male, sitting at the bar with another male he appears to know on his right. The individual is carrying on a conversation with his companion. He is leaning with his elbows on the bar and is facing forward. He is holding a beer that is rested on the bar. He laughs and looks towards the door. He continues to talk with his companion. He looks up as the door opens and then back down. He scans the bar. He looks at the door as it opens. He checks his phone which is lying to his left on the bar. He speaks with his companion. He looks up as the door opens and back down. He looks at his phone. He looks at the door as it opens. He waves to two females that walk in. He sits up and takes his elbows off the bar. He looks at his phone. He turns around on his chair and hugs both of the females. The females sit on either side of the individual and his companion. The individual begins talking to the female and smiles. He speaks to her and points to his drink. Then he appears to order a drink for her. He scans the room. He turns his head to his male companion and speaks to him. His body remains oriented to the female. He then speaks to the female. All four get up and walk toward a booth. The individual lets the female walk in from of him. He puts his hand on her back. They sit down in a booth. Both females slide in, and the males sit next to them. The individual sits by the female he was sitting next to at the bar. The individual and his companion both take turns speaking. The individual waves his hands and gestures as he speaks. Both females laugh as the males are speaking. The individual turns and looks at the female as she laughs and then looks at the other female, then his male companion.

Scan Sample

First scan: People are standing along a wall and sitting at tables and are for the most part in small groups of 3-6. Some are playing pool. People are smoking. Many people have a drink in their hand. Others appear to be drinking but have placed their beverage down. Every person is speaking with at least one other person. Most people, even those who are conversing with one another, look to the pool tables frequently.

Second scan: People are standing along a wall and sitting at tables and are for the most part in small groups of 3-6. Some are playing pool. People are smoking. Many people have a drink in their hand. Others appear to be drinking but have placed their beverage down. Most people, even those who are conversing with one another, look to the pool tables frequently. Two males from different groups are standing alone. They both are holding pool cues and are smoking. They are staring at the pool table and scanning the room.

Third scan: People are standing along a wall and sitting at tables and are for the most part in small groups of 3-6. Some are playing pool. People are smoking. Many people have a drink in their hand. Others appear to be drinking but have placed their beverage down. One of the lone males is now standing by a group. The other remains by himself as his two companions play pool. One female is dancing.

Fourth scan: People are standing along a wall and sitting at tables and are for the most part in small groups of 3-6. Some are playing pool. People are smoking. Many people have a drink in their hand. Others appear to be drinking but have placed their beverage down. A female is dancing with a male; she is moving his arms for him. A different male is now standing alone. The previous individual that was alone is now setting up a new game with the female companion who was playing the last.

Katie’s Human Ethology Assignment

I am conducting my observation on February 8, 2013 at Innisfree Irish Pub at 1925 University Blvd Tuscaloosa, Al at 11:45 p.m. It is pretty dimly lit and pretty crowded. There are many people sitting at the bar and at tables in groups. This bar is 21 and over, and most of the people here seem to be in fraternities or sororities. It is very loud with people talking and loud music playing.

Focal Sample:

I am studying a female individual who looks to be 21 or 22 years old. She is sitting at a booth with four other females and two males. She is wearing jeans, boots, and a fur vest. She is drinking a clear drink with a lime. She is talking with her friends and drinking her drink. Around minute 3 she stands up to greet a male whom she seems to already know, then he leaves. She sit back down and continues to talk with her friends. Around minute 6 she smokes a cigarette. She frequently looks at her phone, and she is slouching. Around minute 10 she stands up and walks towards the door and stands talking and laughing with another girl. After a few minutes, they walk back to the booth and sit down.

Scan Sample: 

There are two rooms with separate bars and two separate social areas outside. I will do my scan on the front room inside.

Scan 1: There is a huge crowd of people around the bar trying to get a drink. There is a group of people socializing and drinking at one of the tables by the window. On the left side of the room near the stage there is one couple dancing very provocatively and drawing a lot of attention to themselves. Other people are scattered around the tables in the room socializing.

Scan 2: The crowd around the bar has not seemed to thin out. People are pushing to try to get to the bar. There is no one dancing in the room at the moment. There is a crowd around the door. It seems that a large group of people have just arrived. The group near the window is still socializing, and two individuals are smoking.

Scan 3: Again, there are still a lot of people at the bar. Three of the girls who were sitting by the window are now dancing. They seem to be pretty drunk and are stumbling a lot. However, they look like they are trying to be provocative. The group that was crowded around the door seems to have made its way outside. Most of the tables are empty now, aside from one table with two males sitting there, talking to each other and smoking.

Scan 4: There are still a lot of people around the bar. Some are sitting and talking; others are trying to get a drink. The majority of the people who were sitting by the window have left the room. The only people left are the three girls who were dancing earlier. Now they are talking and drinking. No one is dancing. There is a couple making out by the door. There are groups of people at tables around the room.


In my focal sample, the individual went through all 5 steps when she saw a guy she knew. As he was walking by she called out his name, he recognized her, they both said “hey” to each other then they hugged. Then, as he walked away, she sat down.

In my scan sampling I observed all 5 stages throughout my observation. People would flash their money at the bartenders to try to get their attention. People would frequently shout out to get someone’s attention. Some people got recognition by others who seemed to strike up a conversation with someone they didn’t know. Recognition also occurred when people who already knew each other got together. There was a lot of talking in the room. It was hard to hear anything in the room above the talking. Many groups were talking and laughing, and some were shouting. Touch happened frequently. Many people hugged, and others shook hands. The couple that was dancing was touching a lot. The girl’s entire backside was touching the guy’s entire front side. They were also moving in synchronization.

Karl’s Human Ethology Assignment


I observed a college aged female. She was not dressed in any particularly defining way (eg. No greek letters, or thick framed glasses). She was reading and talking to her friends, all of which were female. She seemed to be discussing some paper which her entire group was reading. She appeared to be happy in the company of her group. She smiled frequently. She did not interact with anyone outside her group for the entirety of my observations.


My vantage point was fairly good so it was easy to see the entire room. There were mostly groups of college age people interacting amongst themselves. The groups seemed to keep to themselves though, and it did not appear that any of the individuals in any of the groups were interacting with anyone outside of their group. The groups were almost all same-sex. The girls stuck with the girls, and  the guys stuck with the guys.