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Social behavior: Insights from evolutionary psychology

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

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 not be given in the autumn semester 2023.

    Course syllabus:  Social behavior, 7,5 credits. Autumn 2022 (285 Kb)

    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.

    A complete list of course readings is found in the course syllabus.

    The list is subject to change until two months prior to the start of the course. In case the new course syllabus is missing on this page by then, please check with the course leader before you buy any expensive books etc.

  • Course reports

  • More information

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

  • Contact

    Registered students should primarily use Athena for teacher communication.

    To contact the Student office or a Student Councellor, see below.

    More contacts in Education

    Student office - Master's level
    Study councellor - Master's level