This course provides an introduction to human cognition and behaviour, addressing foundational topics in psychological science. These foundational topics include key concepts such as evolution, genetics, neuroscience, and culture, and specific topics, such as perception, memory, cognition, decision-making, child development, psychopathology, personality, intelligence, emotion, attraction, cross-cultural differences, prejudice, norms, attitudes, social learning, social influence, and group processes.
Uniquely, the course will offer an integrated perspective on these topics, investigating the evolution and variation in human psychology over time, across cultures, and over the lifespan. The course will introduce the history of the study of humans and human psychology, offering students the historical context to trends in research.
The course begins with some historical context, some philosophy of science, links to other fields, and events in history that help students contextualize their learning. With this context in place, students are introduced to a theoretical framework grounded in evolutionary biology for organizing their knowledge, so that what they learn is less a series of disconnected topics and more a natural expansion from the individual brain, to individuals in society, to societal level processes. The course then brings it back together, with links to real world issues throughout.
Dates: 29 July – 16 August 2019
Lecturers: Dr Michael Muthukrishna and Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington