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PSY3001 : Evolution & Behaviour

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Caroline Allen
  • Lecturer: Dr Gareth Richards
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To develop students’ knowledge and understanding of: the principles underlying the evolution of behaviour; the types of evidence employed in testing hypotheses based on these principles; and the application of the principles to a broad range of behaviours.

Outline Of Syllabus

Principles of behavioural evolution in historical perspective: natural selection; inclusive fitness; optimality; evolutionary stability.

Theoretical models based on these principles.

Types of evidence in the evolutionary study of behaviour: observations, experiments and the comparative method.

Principles, models and evidence related to a broad range of behavioural areas and species, chosen from: foraging; competition and aggression; anti-predator behaviour; group living; kinship; parental care; social organisation; human social life.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading52:0010:00For small group teaching sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study661:0066:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used to impart information related to learning outcomes in a concise manner, to allow students to seek immediate clarification when necessary, and to allow the lecturer to judge the level of understanding of the class.

In small group teaching sessions students will discuss and seek answers to questions set by the lecturer that address the learning outcomes. In these sessions students will also practise the skills listed in the Interaction section of the Graduate Skills Framework. The directed research and reading prepares students for these sessions.

Independent study is essential for students to achieve the intended knowledge outcomes and be prepared for the examination.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A100Students will answer 2 questions from a choice of 6
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MVoluntary practice at writing exam essay with written feedback. Student decides when set.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The unseen written examination is an efficient means of assessing the students’ success in:
•       achieving the intended knowledge outcomes
•       integrating information from a variety of sources
•       communicating effectively in writing

The formative assessment and feedback gives students the opportunity to evaluate their likely success in the examination.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.

Reading Lists