- Code BIAN6124
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Biological Anthropology
- Areas of interest Biological Anthropology, Psychology, Evolution and Ecology
This course examines the application of evolutionary theory to understand human behaviour.
It provides a primer on the basic principles related to the evolution of behaviour, and surveys the various frameworks that have been employed by anthropologists, psychologists, biologists, and others in this pursuit. The strengths and weaknesses of these frameworks—which include human behavioural ecology, evolutionary psychology, and various cultural evolutionary approaches—are addressed in a critical manner with the aim of establishing an integrated approach that borrows the best from each. A wide range of case studies will be used to illustrate the application of these principles. Topics include conflict and cooperation, foraging and resource use, mating and parenting, life history and fertility, and the individual in society. Some attention will be paid to the history of the evolutionary study of human behaviour, including the nature-nurture debate and the “sociobiology controversy.”
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Master basic principles at an advanced level related to
the evolution of behavior, the various frameworks used to study the evolution
of human behavior.
- Discuss the history and controversies in the development
of an evolutionary approach to the study of human behavior.
- Prepare and develop a critical perspective on an
independent study topic related to the evolution of human behavior.
- Explain a topic or argument in the field orally using a
selective case study approach.
- Synthesize material from a range of cutting-edge and classic scholarly sources relevant to a topic or argument in the field balancing general argument and evidence.
One 4,000 word essay (55% in total) [Learning Outcomes 3 & 5] with an assessed development cycle including:
- One-page problem statement, 200 words (5%)
- Tentative bibliography (10%)
- Rough draft, 1500 words (5%)
- Final draft, 4000 words (35%)
Three quizzes, each worth 10% (30%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2].
One 6-minute tutorial presentation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 2 & 4].
Participation (5%) [Learning Outcome 3].
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; and b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsLaland K, Brown G, 2011. Sense and nonsense: Evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour (Second Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.