This course will introduce students to the theory of evolution by natural selection and identify how it applies to behavior and cognition. We will begin by outlining evolutionary theory and identify its implications for all life on earth. Afterward, we will discuss the ways in which evolution has shaped behavior across species with a special focus on humans. This will include themes such as inclusive fitness, reciprocal altruism, and environments of evolutionary adaptiveness. Next, we will focus on a few of the many areas in which evolution has led to novel insights into human behavior. These will include environmental navigation and human mating, as well as topics such as homicide, parenting, and social interaction. Our class will integrate evolutionary theory with modern cognitive science in order to understand the origin of the human mind.
Field WorkCountry: Vietnam
Date: November 18, 2018
Students will investigate warfare behavior in modern contexts and identify aspects of it that may stem from our evolutionary heritage. We will start by visiting a system of tunnels and equipment used in war by the Viet Cong in the Củ Chi district. We will then visit the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City and witness detailed accounts of wars in Vietnam. Prior to our Field Class, we will explore literature on the evolution of warfare and apply this knowledge throughout our visit. Grades for this assignment derive from participation in pre-port activities, all activities throughout the day in Vietnam, and completion of a guided field book. Learning Objectives:
- Apply evolutionary theory to understanding human behavior across behaviors, people, space, and time.
- Investigate warfare behavior in humans and its components that may derive from our evolutionary history.
- Identify differences between modern and prehistoric warfare and how evolved psychology functions in both of these setting.