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PSYC739 – Evolution of Social, Sexual and Emotional Behaviour

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Senior Lecturer
Dr Ian Stephen
Contact via email
C3B 612
Lecturer
Dr Trevor Case
Contact via email
C3B 614
Lecturer
Dr Mem Mahmut
Contact via email
C3B 607
Lecturer
Prof Dick Stevenson
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C3B 609
Lecturer
Timothy Marsh
Contact via email
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
PSYC439
Unit description Unit description
This unit will provide a framework for in-depth study of evolutionary explanations of human and animal behaviour. While evolution is overwhelmingly accepted by biologists as the best explanation for the development of life on Earth, and for the behaviour of non-human animals, the new science of evolution of human behaviour is considered controversial by many. This module will introduce the different evolutionary approaches to human behaviour: evolutionary psychology and human behavioural ecology. We will cover evolutionary explanations of behaviours such as cooperation, altruism, violence, murder, gossip, sexual attraction, relationships, culture and religion.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. 1. Explain evolutionary theory and describe how it can be applied to human behaviour
  2. 2. Critically discuss the different methodological frameworks in evolutionary studies of human behaviour
  3. 3. Articulate the relationship between evolutionary psychology and other branches of the social sciences
  4. 4. Articulate the criticisms that have been leveled at evolutionary psychology, and their basis in fact or misconception
  5. 5. Describe current research questions in evolution of brain and behaviour
  6. 6. Design research projects to address current questions in brain and behaviour
  7. 7. Make oral and written presentations of critiques and syntheses of published work
  8. 8. Respond to critiques from peers

General Assessment Information

All the relevant Macquarie University policies will apply, including the following.

The essay must be submitted to Turnitin (via iLearn)

  • TURNITIN ELECTRONIC COPY: You will be required to submit your assignment to Turnitin plagiarism detection software via the Internet.  Your assignment will be automatically compared to work of other students in this unit, previous students in this unit and at other universities, and material available on the Internet in subscription-based journal format or otherwise freely accessible information.  The results of the analysis will be sent only to the unit chair of PSYC439, who will analyse the results in reference to the University’s standard policy on plagiarism 
  • Marked essays will be returned to students within three weeks of submission.

This unit does not require coversheets with your essays.

A copy of the assignment must be kept as proof that the assignment was completed and submitted.

AFTER AN ASSIGNMENT IS SUBMITTED:

Penalties will be levied for late submission of assignment and for exceeding the word limit:

  • Written work that exceeds the word count will be penalised 5% for every 100 words over. For example, the essay is worth 30% of the overall assessment for the Unit and if the word length is exceeded by 100 words, then 5% x 30 = 1.5% of the final unit grade.
  • Work that is submitted late (and without extension) will receive a 5% penalty for every day late. For example, the essay is worth 30% of the overall assessment for the Unit and if one day late, then 5% x 30 = 1.5% of the final unit grade.

Ordinarily, no extensions of time for submission of written work will be granted since ample time for preparation will have been given.  If an extension is required for medical or other extenuating circumstances, students may request this in writing through ask.mq.edu.au with supporting documentary evidence (such as medical certificate, counsellor note, or similar).   The staff in the Student Centre will make all decisions regarding extensions.  

All requests for extensions must be made prior to the due date for the assignment.

If an extension is granted, the approval email must be included as the first page of the submitted assignment to avoid any late penalty.

PRESENTATION AND CLASS PARTICIPATION

The classes for PSYC439 will include lecture and discussion components. Students will take turns to introduce a new or classic research paper for discussion in the class. You will be graded on your presentation and contributions to the discussions during the classes. Grades will be determined by the unit convenor, who will take into account feedback from other lecturers and anonymous feedback from peers on your presentation. Notes will be kept to support the grading.

The dates for individual students' presentations will be determined at the beginning of the session. You will be required to submit a special consideration request via ask.mq.edu.au with supporting documentation of your unavoidable and serious circumstances if you are going to miss your presentation date. These requests must be made in advance of the presentation date, and you must email the unit chair as soon as possible to ensure that an alternative activity can be prepared.

FINAL EXAMS

The examination will take place in class time in Week 13 (7th June 2017 4pm-6pm).

The only exception to not sitting an examination at the designated time is because of documented illness or unavoidable disruption. In these circumstances you may wish to consider applying for Special Consideration. Information about unavoidable disruption and the special consideration process is available at http://www.psy.mq.edu.au/speccond/scrules.htm

If a Supplementary Examination is granted as a result of the Special Consideration process, the examination will be scheduled after the original exam date.

Supplementary Exams are only offered to students who have satisfactorily completed all other assessments for the unit and were unable to sit the final exam because of documented illness or unavoidable disruption.

Instructions on applying for sitting of a supplementary exam are available from the website.  It is the student’s responsibility to follow the steps outlined in this website. An email will be sent to the student advising them of the outcome of their request for a supplementary exam. Students who are granted to sit for a supplementary exam must make themselves available to sit for the supplementary exam on the specified date. There will only be one time. It is the student’s responsibility to email Student Centre to confirm attendance at the supplementary exam.

You are advised that it is Macquarie University policy not to set early examinations for individuals or groups of students. All students are expected to ensure that they are available until the end of the teaching session, which is the final day of the official examination period.

This unit does not publish previous end-of-semester exam papers due to the assessment format which involves multiple choice questions drawn from a bank of questions which have undergone a process of development and validation to assess a wide range of concepts in this unit. Assessment quality can only be ensured by maintaining the integrity of the question bank rather than creating entirely new questions every year. However a practice exam will be provided via iLearn near the end of semester.

Academic honesty

Academic honesty is an integral part of the core values and principles contained in the Macquarie University Ethics Statement. The Policy covering Academic Honesty is available on the web.

Plagiarism is an example of dishonest academic behaviour and is defined by the Policy on Academic honesty as: “Using the work or ideas of another person and presenting this as your own without clear acknowledgement of the source of the work or ideas”. Plagiarism is a serious breach of the University's rules and carries significant penalties.

This procedure notes the following responsibilities for students:

  • Act in accordance with the principles of the Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Become familiar with what academic dishonesty is, what are appropriate referencing techniques and the consequences of poor practice.
  • Seek assistance from the unit convenor (or their nominee) to remedy any deficits or if you are unsure of discipline specific practice.
  • Submit only work of which you are the author or that properly acknowledges others.
  • Do not lend your original work to any other person for any reason.
  • Keep drafts of your own authored work and notes showing the authorship or source of ideas that are not your own.

The penalties which can be applied for academic dishonesty are outlined in the Academic Dishonesty – Schedule of Penalties.

The penalties range from applying a fail grade for the assessment task or requiring the student to re-submit the assessment task for a mark no greater than 50 to applying a fail grade to the unit of study and referral to the University Discipline committee.

You must read the University's Policy and Procedure on Academic Honesty.

University Policy on Grading

Academic Senate has a set of guidelines for the achievement of grades across the range from fail to high distinction. Your final result will include one of these grades plus a standardised numerical grade (SNG). 

On occasion your raw mark for a unit (i.e., the total of your marks for each assessment item) may not be the same as the SNG which you receive. 

For more information please refer to the Macquarie University Handbook.

Student Support Services

Macquarie University provides a range of Academic Student Support Services. Details of these services can be accessed at http://www.student.mq.edu.au.

On matters pertaining to the regulations, the Registrar’s Office should be consulted or, within the Department of Psychology, Dr Julia Irwin, Director of Undergraduate Studies.  Students with disabilities who have problems within the Department should consult Dr Eugene Chekaluk, the Disability Liaison Officer.  If your difficulties cannot be resolved by these members of staff, you should consult the Head of Department.

APPEALS AGAINST GRADES

Please refer to the Grade Appeal Policy

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Exam 50% Week 13 class time
Presentation 20% During class
Essay 30% 5 May 2017

Exam

Due: Week 13 class time
Weighting: 50%

Consisting of one long answer and MCQs


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • 1. Explain evolutionary theory and describe how it can be applied to human behaviour
  • 2. Critically discuss the different methodological frameworks in evolutionary studies of human behaviour
  • 3. Articulate the relationship between evolutionary psychology and other branches of the social sciences
  • 4. Articulate the criticisms that have been leveled at evolutionary psychology, and their basis in fact or misconception
  • 5. Describe current research questions in evolution of brain and behaviour
  • 6. Design research projects to address current questions in brain and behaviour
  • 7. Make oral and written presentations of critiques and syntheses of published work

Presentation

Due: During class
Weighting: 20%

The classes for PSYC439 will include lecture and discussion components. Students will take turns to introduce a new or classic research paper for discussion in the class. You will be graded on your presentation and contributions to the discussions during the classes. Grades will be determined by the unit convenor, who will take into account feedback from other lecturers and anonymous feedback from peers on your presentation. Notes will be kept to support the grading.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • 1. Explain evolutionary theory and describe how it can be applied to human behaviour
  • 2. Critically discuss the different methodological frameworks in evolutionary studies of human behaviour
  • 3. Articulate the relationship between evolutionary psychology and other branches of the social sciences
  • 5. Describe current research questions in evolution of brain and behaviour
  • 7. Make oral and written presentations of critiques and syntheses of published work
  • 8. Respond to critiques from peers

Essay

Due: 5 May 2017
Weighting: 30%

The essay will be submitted via Turnitin. Late submissions will be penalised at a rate of 5% of the available marks per day.

The questions will be announced in the lecture and on iLearn 1 month before the deadline.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • 1. Explain evolutionary theory and describe how it can be applied to human behaviour
  • 2. Critically discuss the different methodological frameworks in evolutionary studies of human behaviour
  • 3. Articulate the relationship between evolutionary psychology and other branches of the social sciences
  • 5. Describe current research questions in evolution of brain and behaviour
  • 6. Design research projects to address current questions in brain and behaviour
  • 7. Make oral and written presentations of critiques and syntheses of published work

Delivery and Resources

The core textbook for this unit is:

Buss, D.M. (2015) Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind (5th edition). Boston: Pearson.

Further readings will be announced in class and on iLearn.

Unit Schedule

The unit schedule is as follows:

Week

Lecture Topic

1

Introduction to Evolutionary Theory

2

Encephalisation and the evolution of the brain

3

Sex, Sexual Selection and Sexual Strategies

4

Special Topic 1: Personality in Evolutionary Context

5

Special Topic 2: Disgust and Disease Avoidance

6

Special Topic 3: Faces, Bodies and Attraction

7

Special Topic 4: The Evolution of Morality

8

The Evolution of Cooperation

9

Violence and Aggression

10

The Evolution of Culture

11

History, Controversy and Criticisms

12

Special Topic 5: The Evolution of Religion

13

Exam

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • 1. Explain evolutionary theory and describe how it can be applied to human behaviour
  • 2. Critically discuss the different methodological frameworks in evolutionary studies of human behaviour
  • 3. Articulate the relationship between evolutionary psychology and other branches of the social sciences
  • 4. Articulate the criticisms that have been leveled at evolutionary psychology, and their basis in fact or misconception
  • 5. Describe current research questions in evolution of brain and behaviour
  • 6. Design research projects to address current questions in brain and behaviour
  • 7. Make oral and written presentations of critiques and syntheses of published work
  • 8. Respond to critiques from peers

Assessment tasks

  • Exam
  • Presentation
  • Essay

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • 1. Explain evolutionary theory and describe how it can be applied to human behaviour
  • 2. Critically discuss the different methodological frameworks in evolutionary studies of human behaviour
  • 3. Articulate the relationship between evolutionary psychology and other branches of the social sciences
  • 4. Articulate the criticisms that have been leveled at evolutionary psychology, and their basis in fact or misconception
  • 5. Describe current research questions in evolution of brain and behaviour
  • 6. Design research projects to address current questions in brain and behaviour
  • 7. Make oral and written presentations of critiques and syntheses of published work
  • 8. Respond to critiques from peers

Assessment tasks

  • Exam
  • Presentation
  • Essay

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • 5. Describe current research questions in evolution of brain and behaviour
  • 6. Design research projects to address current questions in brain and behaviour

Assessment tasks

  • Exam
  • Presentation
  • Essay

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • 1. Explain evolutionary theory and describe how it can be applied to human behaviour
  • 2. Critically discuss the different methodological frameworks in evolutionary studies of human behaviour
  • 3. Articulate the relationship between evolutionary psychology and other branches of the social sciences
  • 4. Articulate the criticisms that have been leveled at evolutionary psychology, and their basis in fact or misconception
  • 5. Describe current research questions in evolution of brain and behaviour
  • 6. Design research projects to address current questions in brain and behaviour
  • 7. Make oral and written presentations of critiques and syntheses of published work
  • 8. Respond to critiques from peers

Assessment tasks

  • Exam
  • Presentation
  • Essay

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • 4. Articulate the criticisms that have been leveled at evolutionary psychology, and their basis in fact or misconception

Assessment task

  • Exam

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • 7. Make oral and written presentations of critiques and syntheses of published work
  • 8. Respond to critiques from peers

Assessment tasks

  • Exam
  • Presentation
  • Essay

Changes since First Published

Date Description
22/02/2017 Added withheld past exam statement