Advanced Topics in Human Behaviour - SE994

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
7 15 (7.5) DR S Johns







The material presented in this module is drawn from the relatively new academic disciplines of evolutionary anthropology, human behavioural ecology, and evolutionary psychology. The goal of this module is to explore and understand the principles of evolutionary psychology and other complementary paradigms. The module explores human behaviour (primarily human sexual behaviours) from a Darwinian perspective. Topics covered are reproductive and mating strategies, parenting behaviour, kinship, cooperation, survival, jealously, and aggression. The module will provide students with an advanced understanding of the deeply biological nature of human behaviour, and develop skills in critical thinking. Students will be encouraged to bring relevant questions and observations to seminars, and time will be allocated to deal with them.
Seminars will critically examine classic and recent journal articles, considering the quality of research and presentation, and the utility and diversity of using Darwinian approaches to explore and explain human behaviour.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



Autumn Term

Method of assessment

This module will be assessed by 100% coursework: a conference-style poster constructed in MS Powerpoint to international conference standards (80%) and seminar participation (20%)

Indicative reading

Main text
Human Evolutionary Psychology, Barrett, L., Dunbar, R.I.M & Lycett, J.E. 2002. Palgrave:London.
Supplementary texts
Why Is Sex Fun?, Diamond, J. 1997. New York: Basic.
The Red Queen, Ridley, M. 1993. New York: Penguin.
Why Sex Matters, Low, B. 1999. Princeton: Princeton U. Press.
Sperm Wars, Baker, R. 1996. New York: Basic.
Primate Sexuality, Dixson, A. Oxford: Oxford U. Press.
Journals: Evolution and Human Behavior, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature

Learning outcomes

1. An advanced understanding of evolutionary theory as it applies to human behaviour.
2. Knowledge and understanding of theoretical concerns, methods, and findings of current empirical research in the evolution of human
3. A clear understanding of the implications of Darwin's theory of natural selection for human behaviour
4. An advanced knowledge of human reproductive behaviour and biology.
5. The ability to critically evaluate new research in anthropological/evolutionary psychology approaches to the study of human behaviour.
6. An understanding of methods of data collection and analysis common to evolutionary behavioural studies involving human subjects.

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