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PSYC439 – 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
Contact via email
C3B 609
Lecturer
Timothy Marsh
Contact via email
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
PSY490 or PSY495
Co-badged status Co-badged status
PSYC739
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).

 

he 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.

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 Hurdle 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 (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

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

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

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

Assessment tasks

  • Exam
  • Presentation
  • Essay

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

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

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • 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
  • 8. Respond to critiques from peers

Assessment task

  • Exam

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • 6. Design research projects to address current questions in brain and behaviour
  • 8. Respond to critiques from peers

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

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

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • 8. Respond to critiques from peers

Assessment task

  • Presentation

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • 1. Explain evolutionary theory and describe how it can be applied to human behaviour
  • 6. Design research projects to address current questions in brain and behaviour

Changes since First Published

Date Description
22/02/2017 Added the exam exemption statement