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Psychology 269

<div class="MsoNormal">Syllabus for Psychology 269:</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">Dr. John A. Johnson</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">Evolutionary Psychology</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">Office 172 Smeal</div> 375-4774

<div class="MsoNormal">Spring Semester, 2011</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">Hours MWF 10-10:50</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">MWF 2:30-3:20 148 Smeal Building</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">Email: j5j@psu.edu</div>

Required Textbook:

Gaulin, S. J. C., & McBurney, D. H. (2004). Evolutionary psychology (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Recommended Internet Lecture:

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University. http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/23/ . View on your own during the first week of classes. Total time, 1:50.
(RealPlayer required. All computers on campus already have RealPlayer installed. Click on logo if you wish to download a free version for your computer.

<span style='font-size:18.0pt'><span style='mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt'>Cancellations due to Weather:</span></span>

<span style='font-size:12.0pt'><span style='mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt'>Please read the campus procedures concerning delay or cancellation of classes due to weather conditions at: http://www2.ds.psu.edu/Home/WeatherCampusClosings.html .
<span style="mso-spacerun: yes"></span><span style='mso-tab-count:1'></span>If the campus announces a delay due to weather, this will not affect our class because the shortened class periods occur only before noon. Obviously, if the campus announces cancellation due to weather, we will not be meeting. If the weather is bad but the campus does not announce a cancellation, and you believe that driving conditions are too dangerous for you, please do not risk your life for the sake of class. This is a valuable class, but your life is more important! </span></span>
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Course Description:

Evolutionary psychology strives to understand how human thinking, motivation, behavior, and social relationships evolved over evolutionary time. Evolutionary psychology differs from other subject matter fields in psychology such as learning, motivation, perception, or social psychology. Instead of focusing on one subject matter, it represents an approach to all aspects of psychology. Evolutionary psychology assumes that the brain has evolved particular mechanisms to deal with problems such as deciding what foods to eat, determining whether someone is lying, dividing time and attention among different relatives, and choosing a mate. Evolutionary psychology is all about proposing and testing theories about the way these mechanisms work.

This course demonstrates how knowledge and principles from evolutionary biology are used to conduct research on the design of the human mind. The course explains how evolutionary psychologists identify adaptive problems faced by our ancestors and test hypotheses about psychological mechanisms designed by natural selection to solve these adaptive problems. The psychological mechanisms discussed are involved in phenomena such as perception and the control of activity, learning and cognition, mate selection and courting, development and parenting, altruism, aggression, and social structure.


Hopefully, by the end of the course all <div class="MsoNormal">ssssstudents will have learned to think like evolutionary psychologists. They will be able to explain how evolutionary psychologists frame research questions and be able to frame evolutionary hypotheses themselves. They will understand how natural selection has designed adaptive mechanisms that serve a purpose or function that ultimately affects survival and reproductive success. They can describe the adaptive mechanisms identified so far by evolutionary psychologists in perception, consciousness, emotion, cognition, learning, mating, parenting, and social behavior. In addition to being able to explain universal adaptive mechanisms, they will be able to explain individual differences, including differences in physical and psychological health. Each student's success in achieving these objectives will be evaluated with four examinations and class participation.</div>

Structure of Classes:

The course outline (see below) calls for covering one chapter from the Gaulin and McBurney textbook each week. Material will be presented, primarily through PowerPoint slides, on Mondays and Wednesdays. The PowerPoint presentations are available for downloading through ANGEL: https://angel.psu.edu .

Fridays are flex days in the course. Portions of some Fridays may be used to review and discuss material presented on Monday and Wednesday or to catch up if we get behind. If a Monday or Wednesday class is cancelled due to bad weather, it will be made up Friday. Each of the four exams is scheduled on a Friday.

But, most importantly, we will often have time for class discussions on Fridays (see section below). So come prepared to engage actively in our discussions.

Participation in Class Discussions

Class discussions can occur both in the physical classroom during regular meeting times and on the course Discussion Forum that can be accessed through ANGEL. Students may of course ask questions and start discussions during any class, but Fridays are being reserved specifically for special activities, including class discussion. Discussion can be about specific points we cover in class, course-relevant questions and ideas that simply occur to you, and course-relevant material that you see or hear about elsewhere, including ideas you find on the Internet.

Consider browsing the links on the following site for material you would like to discuss in class.
Great Ideas in Personality—Evolutionary Psychology: http://www.personalityresearch.org/evolutionary.html.

You might also consider joining the Yahoo Evolutionary Psychology Group, http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/evolutionary-psychology/ . This online discussion group is the longest-standing and largest of evolutionary psychology discussion groups on the Internet. This requires obtaining a free Yahoo account http://groups.yahoo.com . This discussion group became so popular that the group began requiring permission to join. I do not know if that requirement is still in effect. If you find that you cannot join the group through the usual method at Yahoo, you can send an email to the group moderator, Dr. Robert Karl Stonjek, at stonjek@ozemail.com.au requesting membership into the group. In the Subject line of your email header, use the following exact phrase: [Evol-Psych] Join
In the body of your email, explain to Dr. Stonjek that you are a Penn State student in an evolutionary psychology course who would like to be added to the group. Once you have been added, you can read the posts there and even post messages yourself if you like.

You can also simply Google the phrase "evolutionary psychology" (with other key words if you like) to find sites with information that is of interest to you.

Finally, all students are to read one of the books on the recommended book list at the end of the syllabus (or a similar book based on evolutionary psychology, approved by Dr. Johnson) and share what they learned with the rest of the class in the form of an informal report during one of the final three Fridays of the semester. Students need to let Dr. Johnson know by March 4th at the latest which book they are reading and on which Friday they will report to the class. First choice of book and report date goes to the student who indicates first which book he or she is reading.

By participating in discussions, students can earn up to 40 points, added to their test point total. I do not have a specific formula for points based on how many times a student says or posts something. But, rest assured, if you raise questions and get involved in discussions on a weekly basis, especially on Fridays, you will earn a fair number of discussion points.


<div class="MsoNormal">Grades will be based on students' performances on four 40-point, short answer/essay examinations and from participation in class discussions (see above). Each exam focuses on the material immediately preceding it, although principles introduced in one section may be applied in later sections of the course. Thus, one cannot simply learn about genes for the first test and then forget about them. All exams are open-book, open notes. The fourth exam is a take-home exam whose answers you will email to the instructor.

Grades will be based on the total points earned:</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">Points</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">Grade</div>

<div class="MsoNormal"> </div>

<div class="MsoNormal">Points</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">Grade</div>


<div class="MsoNormal">186-200</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">A</div>

<div class="MsoNormal"> </div>

<div class="MsoNormal">154-159</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">C+</div>


<div class="MsoNormal">180-185</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">A-</div>

<div class="MsoNormal"> </div>

<div class="MsoNormal">140-153</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">C</div>


<div class="MsoNormal">174-179</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">B+</div>

<div class="MsoNormal"> </div>

120<div class="MsoNormal">1201-139</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">D</div>


<div class="MsoNormal">166-173</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">B</div>

<div class="MsoNormal"> </div>

<div class="MsoNormal">0- 119</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">F</div>


<div class="MsoNormal">160-165</div>

<div class="MsoNormal">B-</div>

<div class="MsoNormal"> </div>

<div class="MsoNormal"> </div>

<div class="MsoNormal"> </div>

<div class="MsoNormal"> </div>


<span style='font-size:18.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US; mso-bidi-language:AR-SA'></span>Course Outline:

Read the preface to the textbook immediately. Whenever possible, r<div class="MsoNormal">eading assignments should be completed before class to facilitate discussion and then reviewed after class to prepare for exams. Pay particular attention in the textbook to words in boldface, to their "trail markers," and to the summaries at the end of each chapter.</div>

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<div class="MsoNormal">WhaJWhat is Evolutionary Psychology?

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Sensation and Perception

Chapter 4

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Cognition<div class="MsoNormal">Cog

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<div class="MsoNormal">llLearning

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<div class="MsoNormal"></div>Abnormal Psychology

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Finals Week


* * * * EXAM 4 * * * *

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Code of Conduct and </span>Statement of Academic Integrity:

Penn State Students are expected to abide by the University’s Code of Conduct. A Web site maintained by the Division of Judicial Affairs describes appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and the consequences of misconduct.

One of the essential values of every university is academic integrity. <div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top:5.0pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:5.0pt; margin-left:0in;mso-pagination:none;layout-grid-mode:char"><span style='mso-bidi-font-size:7.5pt'>

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts.  Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of information or citations, facilitation of acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, and tampering with the academic work of other students (also see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20 ).

<span style='mso-bidi-font-size:7.5pt'>Violating academic integrity is considered a serious offense by the University and is treated accordingly. Procedures for dealing with students suspected of violating academic integrity are described in Faculty Senate Academic Integrity Procedure G9.

Note to Students with Disabilities:

Penn State DuBois welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs.  If you have a disability-related need for modifications and/or reasonable accommodations in this course, please contact Diana Kreydt at The Office for Disability Services, 110G DEF Building, at 372-3037 or dlk34@psu.edu.

For further information regarding the Office of Disability Services, visit their web site at www.equity.psu.edu/ods/ .  Instructors should be notified as early in the semester as possible regarding the need for modification and/or reasonable accommodations.

Recommended Books

A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love by Richard Dawkins (2004).

A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion by Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer (2001).

Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality by Kingsley Browne (2002)

Darwinian Psychiatry  by Michael T. McGuire, Alfredo Troisi, Alfonso Troisi (1998)

Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion and the Nature of Society by David
Sloan Wilson (2002)

Evolution for Everyone by David Sloan Wilson (2007)

Evolutionary Aesthetics by Eckart Voland and Karl Grammer (2003)

Evolutionary Psychology, Public Policy, and Personal Decisions
by Charles B. Crawford (editor), Catherine A. Salmon (Editors) (2004)

Genes on the Couch: Explorations in Evolutionary Psychology by Paul Gilbert, Kent G. Bailey (Editors) (2000)

Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language by Robin Dunbar (1998)

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (1998)

Homicide by Martin Daly, Margo Wilson (1988)

In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion by Scott Atran (2002) 

Literary Darwinism: Evolution, Human Nature, and Literature by Joseph Caroll (2004)

Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human
by Matt Ridley (2003)

The Ant and the Peacock: Altrusim and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today by Helena Cronin (1992)

The Blank Slate, by Steven Pinker (2002)

The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating, 2nd Edition.
by David M. Buss (2003)

The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption by Gad Saad (2007).

The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature by Geoffrey F. Miller (2000)

The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics, by Michael Shermer (2008).

The Moral Animal: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, by Robert Wright (1995)

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley (1995)

The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule by Michael Shermer (2004)

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (1976)

The Third Chimpanzee by Jared M. Diamond (1993)

Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine by George C. Williams,
Randolph M. Nesse (1996)

Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception and the Unconscious Mind,
by David Livingstone Smith (2004)

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