If behaviour has been shaped by natural selection, then those behaviours must have some biological basis. This module explores the extent to which hormonal mechanisms provide such a biological explanation of behaviour in humans and our primate cousins. Students will learn the basics of the endocrine system, and consider both how hormones affect behaviour and how behaviour may affect hormones. This module will examine the role that hormones play in the differentiation of behaviours between females and males, as well as the evidence that sexual, parental, aggressive, and affiliative behaviours are influenced by hormones. Students will thus complete this module with a greater appreciation of the hormonal underpinnings of the complex sociality that characterizes humans and other primates.
Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 126
Total study hours: 150
Optional to the following courses:
• BSc Anthropology
• BSc Biological Anthropology
• BSc Human Biology and Behaviour
• BSc Wildlife Conservation
• BSc Psychology
Method of assessment
Study Design (2000 words) (40%)
Seminar Readings Summaries (20%)
Essay (2000 words) (40%)
Reassessment: Like for Like
The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Evaluate the basic workings of the endocrine system in order to critically evaluate the methods used to study human and nonhuman primate behavioural endocrinology in field, lab, and other captive conditions;
2 Recognise the hormonal basis of sex differentiation and sex differences in behaviour;
3. Critically evaluate the link between hormones and social systems in humans and other primates, including wide-ranging knowledge of how hormones influence mating behaviour, parenting behaviour, social behaviour, and cognition;
4. Understand the causes of physiological stress in humans and other primates in order to explain in depth the link between the short-term adaptive benefits of acute stress responses and the long-term detrimental consequences of chronic stress;
5. Describe and comment upon how to differentiate between correlation and causation in behavioural endocrinology, and how to establish the direction of causality.
6. Understand how to scientifically investigate the link between hormones and behaviour in humans or non-human primates.
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