Evolution & Universal Motivation - SP608

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR A Wisman checkmark-circle


This module gives you an opportunity to study the literature on universal motivation, inspired by a wide range of psychological perspectives (e.g., Evolutionary Psychology, Social Psychology, and Existential Experimental Psychology). You consider what universally motivates human cognition and behaviour, specifically: (a) general theories of human motivation, (b) evolution and biological perspectives, (c) The self and self-regulation, (d) human mating strategies, (e) relationships, (f) threat management, (g) emotion, (h) religion and illusion, (i) the modern unconscious, (j) curiosity. You will learn about methods and measures applied in the field of research on human motivation, and applications of theory and findings on human motivation to applied settings (e.g., daily life) will be discussed.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

22 hours

Method of assessment

40% research poster, 60% examination.

Indicative reading

The module reading list can be found online at http://resourcelists.kent.ac.uk/index.html

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8. The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of core concepts, theories and findings in the study of experimental existential psychology and human motivation
8.2 Critically evaluate the theoretical and empirical literature on motivation and experimental existential psychology
8.3 Apply theory and existing research on motivation to real life situations/ events
8.4 Demonstrate knowledge of the historical and conceptual issues in the study of motivation
9 The intended generic learning outcomes.

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Demonstrate literacy, writing and communication skills to present, interpret and discuss concepts, theories, and findings based on the use of the relevant literature
9.2 Critically evaluate the quality of theories, methods and findings in published research
9.3 Demonstrate generic research skills which include; the ability to synthesise theories, identify gaps in existing research, identify and locate appropriate resources, and develop novel research hypotheses.
9.4 Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate, work independently and undertake problem solving tasks.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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