Module PY0505 - Evolutionary Psychology
SYNOPSIS OF MODULE
The aim is to introduce the student to evolutionary theory and its argued relationship with the development of psychological mechanisms that generate human behaviour and culture. The lecture series will demonstrate how this field connects evolutionary biology to social behaviour using a series of recent experimental and theoretical examples. The workshop element will focus on practical demonstrations of evolutionary psychology research techniques. The module will be formally assessed by an assignment.
INDICATIVE READING LIST OR OTHER LEARNING RESOURCES
Badcock, C. (2000). Evolutionary Psychology A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Barrett, L., Dunbar, R., & Lycett, J. (2002). Human Evolutionary Psychology.Houndmills: Palgrave
Buss, D.M. (2012). Evolutionary Psychology, 4th Edition. Mass: Allyn & Bacon.
Cartwright, J. (2008). Evolution and Human Behaviour. London: Macmillan Press
Workman, L., & Reader, W. (2004). Evolutionary Psychology. Cambridge University Press.
The 11 lecture and workshop series will consist of the following topics: Human brain evolution; Theoretical framework of evolutionary psychology; Altruism and kin selection; Animal reproductive strategies; Adaptive benefits of short-term mating; Female long-term mate preferences; Male long-term mate preferences; Sex differences in jealousy and mate retention; Aggression; Sex differences in spatial ability; Darwinian medicine.
AIMS OF MODULE
1. To provide an evaluation of evolutionary theory as applied to human and animal social systems, and behaviour.
2. To critically evaluate theoretical predictions generated by evolutionary psychology.
3. To provide the student with practical experience in evaluating evolutionary psychology research.
4. To further develop subject and generic core skills
Students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of the topic by critically evaluating theoretical and methodological approaches in evolutionary psychology.
2. Discuss ethical issues.
3. Communicate ideas effectively (written and oral).
4. Use computers to input data and word-process written documents and to navigate and synthesise information on the WWW.
5. Demonstrate problem solving skills.
6. Engage in group tasks and group discussions and show sensitivity to interpersonal factors.
7. Undertake self-directed study.
8. Independently read and understand journal articles
DISTANCE LEARNING DELIVERY
LEARNING AND TEACHING STRATEGY
Summative assessment and rationale for tasks: Lectures will provide the basic framework for syllabus topics. Independent study will be encouraged through the provision of reading lists, study questions and topics to read in preparation for laboratory work. Together, the learning strategies of lectures and independent study aim to develop conceptual knowledge of the topic area and illustrate the range of paradigms and methods that can be used to investigate it. Skills in critical analysis will be developed through independent study. The aim of the practical work is to consolidate information learnt through lectures and independent reading by providing students with experience of different research techniques for studying this area. Ethical issues will be discussed in these sessions and students will be expected to communicate their ideas in a group setting, showing sensitivity to the perspectives of others. Practical work will not be assessed.
Assessment will be in the form of one piece of written work which will give students the opportunity to:
a) Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of the topic by evaluating theoretical and methodological approaches in evolutionary psychology (Learning Outcome 1).
b) Communicate their ideas effectively in writing (Learning Outcome 3).
c) Use computers for word-processing and WWW searches (Learning Outcome 4).
d Demonstrate problem-solving skills through interpreting evidence and writing the assignment (Learning Outcome 5).
e) Undertake self-directed study (Learning Outcome 7).
f) Independently read, understand, and evaluate published articles on a specific topic (Learning Outcome 8).
Additional formative assessment: The following learning outcomes will be met through experiential learning (lectures, practical work, and independent study) and will not be formally assessed:
a) Discussion of ethical issues in evolutionary psychology (Learning Outcome 2);
b) Oral communication of ideas (Learning Outcome 3)
c) Engagement in group tasks and group discussions, showing sensitivity to interpersonal factors (Learning Outcome 6)
Indication of how students will get feedback and how this will support their learning: Written feedback will be provided within 2 weeks of assignment submission. The feedback will outline key areas of weakness, and suggest ways in which to improve the assignment
IMPLICATIONS FOR CHOICE
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