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Social behavior: Insights from evolutionary psychology

  • 7.5 credits

This is a master and postgraduate course in evolutionary psychology with a focus on social behavior.

Information for admitted students Autumn 2020

Congratulations! You have been admitted at Stockholm University and we hope that you will enjoy your studies with us.

In order to ensure that your studies begin as smoothly as possible we have compiled a short checklist for the beginning of the semester.

Follow the instructions on wether you have to reply to your offer or not.


Checklist for admitted students

  1. Activate your university account

    The first step in being able to register and gain access to all the university's IT services.

  2. Register at your department

    Registration can be done in different ways. Read the instructions from your department below.

  3. Read all the information on this page

    Here you will find what you need to know before your course or programme starts.


Your seat may be withdrawn if you do not register according to the instructions provided by your department.

Welcome activities

Stockholm University organises a series of welcome activities that stretch over a few weeks at the beginning of each semester. The programme is voluntary (attendance is optional) and includes Arrival Service at the airport and an Orientation Day, see more details about these events below.
Your department may also organise activities for welcoming international students. More information will be provided by your specific department. 

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Both human and animal literatures will be surveyed, and relevant areas covered will include:

  • Central issues and controversies
  • Prosocial behavior and cooperation
  • Parenting and kinship
  • Social influence and group dynamics
  • Aggression
  • Intergroup prejudice and conflicts
  • The evolution of language.
  • Course structure

    As a registered student on this course you will find detailed course information and communication in the learning platform Athena. Login with your university account.

    This course will be given in the last quarter of the semester.

    Cours syllabus: Social behavior, 7,5 credits. Autumn 2019. (PDF)

    Teaching format

    The course consists of lectures and seminars. Each week, students will read and discuss empirical and review articles germane to understanding basic human social behavior from an evolutionary psychology viewpoint.

    Mandatory parts are

    (a) Submission of three to five questions based on the literature for each seminar

    (b) Active participation in all seminars

    (c) Leadership of at least one seminar during the course

    (d) Review paper

    Expected study results

    Upon completing the course students are expected to:

    • understand, describe and critically reflect on aspects of evolutionary theory as applied in the context of social psychology
    • describe, analyze and critically reflect on theoretical and empirical issues in evolutionary psychology with a focus on areas that relate to human social behaviour
    • demonstrate skills required to participate in research, such as an ability to clearly present and discuss their conclusions and the knowledge and arguments behind them, orally in dialogue with others and in writing.


    To reach the course goals, students need to submit discussion questions to, and actively participate in every seminar, lead 1-2 seminars and receive a grade of E or higher on the review paper.

    See course syllabus for detailed information.


    Course leader: Professor Torun Lindholm,

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Articles and other information for this course will be made available on the learning platform Athena.

    The textbook below will be used, and this is bought by the student.

    Laland, K. N., & Brown, G. R. (2011). Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary perspectives on human behavior. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199586967.

  • More information

    This course is offered as an elective course in the International two-year master’s program in psychology, 120 credits.

  • Contact

    To contact the course leader, see Programme overview => Examiner.

    Student administration

    Study advisor