INTR 371 Evolutionary Psychology (Same as Psychology 348) (Not offered 2004-2005)
Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection forms the backbone of the life sciences, yet its relevance for the behavioral sciences has been appreciated only recently, and remains controversial. In this course, we will explore the burgeoning area of "evolutionary psychology," a field in which evolutionary theory is used as a framework for understanding psychological phenomena. Students will gain an appreciation of contemporary evolutionary theory and consider how (and how well) that theory can lend itself to the study of human behavior and cognition. We will consider comparative evidence from a variety of species (e.g., insects, birds, and non-human primates-as well as humans) and discuss a variety of objections to and critiques of evolutionary psychology. As part of the course, students will have an opportunity to conduct original research in the area. Format: seminar. Evaluation will be based on class participation, daily thought papers, research proposal, and a written/oral report on research. Prerequisites: Psychology 242 and any course in Biology, or permission of instructor. Enrollment limit: 19 (expected: 19). Preference given to Psychology and Biology majors. Satisfies one semester of the Division II requirement.