Not available in 2020/21
MG228      Half Unit
Managing the Stone-Age Brain

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Satoshi Kanazawa NAB 5.33


This course is available on the BSc in Management, International Exchange (1 Term) and International Exchange (Full Year). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course will introduce second- and third-year Management students to the new science of evolutionary psychology and explore the biological and evolutionary foundations of human behaviour. In the first few weeks, various critiques of and competing perspectives on evolutionary psychology, with regard especially to the relative importance of biological/evolutionary vs. social/cultural determinants of human behaviour and its sex differences will be discussed and debated. In later weeks, an evolutionary perspective will be applied to various topics in management such as organizational behaviour, occupational choice, productivity, and status hierarchy. The study of business and management is currently dominated by economic perspectives, supplemented by sociological and social psychological perspectives, in American business schools. The course will provide a necessary corrective to the dominance of economics perspectives in the study of business and management by providing biological and evolutionary perspectives and thereby throwing a new light on the old problems (and finding potential solutions for them) in organizations and organizational behaviour. The course will provide evolutionary and biological perspectives on management and organizational behaviour. It will introduce the students to the following topics: Principles of evolution; Principles of evolutionary psychology; Sex differences in preferences, values, cognition, emotions, and behaviour; Physical attractiveness; General intelligence; Evolutionary constraints on human behaviour and their relevance to organizational behaviour.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Each student will give a class presentation on the week’s readings and their presentation will be evaluated by the course instructor and the feedback will be given to the student within one week. During the first few years of the course, mock examinations will be given to the students in order to familiarize them with the anticipated exam contents and format.

Indicative reading

Buller, David J. 2005. Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature. Cambridge: MIT Press. [The most comprehensive book-length critique of modern evolutionary psychology to date]

Saad, Gad. (Editor.) 2011. Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences. New York: Springer.

Nicholson, Nigel. 2000. Managing the Human Animal. New York: Thompson Texere.

Miller, Geoffrey. 2009. Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior. New York: Viking.

Miller, Alan S. and Satoshi Kanazawa. 2007. Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters. New York: Penguin.

Kanazawa, Satoshi. 2012. The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn't Always the Smart One. New York: Wiley.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills