Anthropology is the study of humans and their behavior. To study anthropology for the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), you’ll need to focus on the terms and important figures listed here. If you’ve ever wondered about why people act the way they do, you might find anthropology fascinating.

Anthropology terms that appear on the MAT test

Brush up on your knowledge of anthropology by studying these terms and their definitions.

  • Anthropocentrism (AKA humanocentrism): Belief that humans are the most important creatures in the world

  • Balanced reciprocity: Exchange of goods in which the value of each good is equal

  • Caste: A system of dividing society into rigid socio-economic classes

  • Clan: A group of people united by a real or imagined kinship

  • Cultural materialism: View that social life is a reaction to the practical problems of a mortal life

  • Diffusion: Exchange of ideas from one culture to another

  • Ethnocentrism: Practice of judging another culture based on your own culture’s ideals

  • Focal vocabulary: Set of words to describe something important to a particular group of people

  • Genealogy: Study of families and their histories

  • Generalized reciprocity: Exchange of goods in which the value of each good is not exactly calculated but a fair balance is expected over time

  • Humanism: Belief that humans are of great value and that science is greater than faith

  • Indigenous: Being native to a specific place

  • Joint family: Two or more related families living together which are all part of the same extended family

  • Kinesics: Interpretation of body language and nonverbal communication

  • Levirate marriage: The brother of a deceased man marrying his widow by obligation

  • Linguistic relativity (AKA Sapir-Whorf hypothesis): The idea that language affects the way its speakers think

  • Matriarchy: Society in which women are the leaders

  • Multiculturalism: Describes communities that contain multiple cultures and the ideologies that promote such communties

  • Negative reciprocity: Exchange of goods in which each party intends to profit

  • Nomad (AKA itinerant): Member of a society that moves around instead of settling in one place

  • Oligarchy: Power in a society resting with only a small number of people

  • Patriarchy: Society in which men are the leaders

  • Redistribution: Altering the distribution of goods and wealth based on specific principles

  • Religious cosmology: A way of explaining the origin of the universe based on mythology

  • Structuralism: View that each part of a culture cannot be understood without understanding the culture in whole

  • Third World: Developing countries, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere

  • Urbanization: Expansion of cities and urban areas

  • Westernization: Societies adopting aspects of Western culture

Important figures in the field of anthropology

The following lists important people in the anthropology field you should become familiar with before taking the MAT.

  • Benedict, Ruth: American anthropologist who wrote The Races of Mankind which uses scientific evidence to challenge racist ideas

  • Boas, Franz: German-American father of modern anthropology

  • Geertz, Clifford: American anthropologist who studied symbols

  • Hurston, Zora Neale: American anthropologist and author during the Harlem Renaissance

  • Korotayev, Andrey: Russian anthropologist known for cross-cultural studies

  • Krantz, Grover: American anthropologist who researched Bigfoot

  • Leach, Edmund: British anthropologist known for ethnographic work

  • Leaf, Murray: American anthropologist known for South Asia studies

  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude: French anthropologist who believed that human traits were the same in all geographic locations

  • Macfarlane, Alan: British anthropologist and expert on the history of England, Nepal, Japan and China

  • Malinowski, Bronislaw: Polish anthropologist and proponent of participant observation

  • Mauss, Marcel: French anthropologist and sociologist who analyzed the significance of gift-giving

  • Mead, Margaret: American anthropologist who promoted a broadening of sexual mores in Western culture

  • Radcliffe-Brown, Alfred: English anthropologist who developed Structural Functionalism, the belief that society is a system whose parts work together to create stability

  • Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo: Austrian anthropologist who studied tropical rainforest cultures

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Vince Kotchian is a full-time standardized test tutor specializing in the MAT, SSAT, ISEE, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. He teaches a GRE prep course at the University of California, San Diego, and has an extensive understanding of analogies and the MAT.

Edwin Kotchian is a MAT tutor and freelance writer who has contributed to a variety of test-prep material.

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