module specification

PC6058 - Evolutionary Psychology (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Evolutionary Psychology
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Powerpoint presentation
Coursework 50%   Essay (max. 2500 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

This module builds on the foundational knowledge of evolutionary psychology acquired in Level 5. Students will delve deeper into the topic through studying a mixture of textbook readings and research papers, and by engaging in class discussions and presentations.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To develop students’ understanding of ultimate explanations of mind and behaviour;
2. To develop students’ ability to read, understand and critically evaluate research in the area;
3. To develop students’ ability and confidence in discussing ideas in evolutionary psychology.


Topics will be drawn from: mating strategies, sexual jealousy, cheater detection, pregnancy sickness, parental nurturance and negligence, spatial memory, landscape preferences, aggression and violence. evolution of cognition (e.g. language, reasoning), evolution of the brain, animal behaviour.

Learning and teaching

The strategy will involve a combination of lectures, discussions and presentations, including both directed and exploratory reading. Online sharing of thoughts and ideas will be encouraged, in addition to some formative online testing.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course students will:

1. Be able to explain the fundamental concepts that distinguish the evolutionary approach to psychology from non-evolutionary approaches;
2. Be able to critically evaluate research relating to evolutionary explanations of mind and behaviour;

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment will be via a coursework component essay of 2500 words (50%), and a Powerpoint presentation of 10 slides (50%)



Barkow, J.H., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (1992). The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Buss, David M. (2011). Evolutionary psychology: The new science of the mind (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Campbell, A. (2013). A mind of her own: The evolutionary psychology of women (2nd edition). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Crawford, C., & Krebs, D. (Eds.) (2008). Foundations of evolutionary psychology. NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Emery, N., Clayton, N., & Frith, C. (2007). Social intellligence: From brain to culture. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Journals (available via library catalogue and/or open access)

Evolution and Human Behavior
Evolutionary Psychology
Human Nature
Journal of Evolutionary Psychology