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PY2108 - Evolution of Behaviour

[Offered in even-numbered years, however not offered in 2012]

Credit points: 3
Year: 2012
Student Contribution Band: Band 1
Administered by: School of Arts & Social Sciences

Evolutionary psychology is concerned with how natural selection has shaped the psychology and behaviour of humans and other animals. Basic concepts in genetics and evolutionary theory, e.g. necessary for applying this approach, are covered. These concepts will be employed in order to understand diverse phenomena such as sex differences in mate selection, the evolution of altruism and cooperation, why many species engage in sexual reproduction rather than asexual reproduction, and the evolution of reasoning and morality. Although many examples will be drawn from the non-human literature, the focus will be on understanding human behaviour and psychological processes.

Learning Outcomes

  • acquire a working knowledge of basic evolutionary concepts so that these may be appropriately applied to our understanding of how natural selection may have shaped behaviour and the mind;
  • demonstrate that an evolutionary or distal perspective complements, rather than necessarily competes with, proximate explanations typical of other subfields within the discipline;
  • discuss the methodological problems and ethical issues that arise when applying an evolutionary or biological approach to behaviour;
  • illustrate how an evolutionary perspective may be applied to diverse topics within the discipline of psychology, as well as to those common in other disciplines.
To undertake this subject, students must have successfully completed 12 credit points (four subjects) of level 1 study at tertiary level
Prerequisites: PY1101 OR PY1102

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.