Evolutionary Social Psychology
The aim of the course is to provide an overview of evolutionary theory and its applications within, predominantly, social psychology. Evolutionary psychologists view most human behaviours as the products of evolved psychological adaptations – or solutions – to recurring problems in the ancestral environment.
Evolutionary psychology offers many insightful explanations for social behavior, such as interpersonal attraction, prejudice, and healthy (and unhealthy) behaviors. Moreover, emotions are considered to have evolved in humans because they are functional and ultimately enhance your chances for survival and reproduction – for example, fear makes you avoid certain life-threatening situations, and jealousy makes you protect your relationship. In this course students will study recent developments within the field of evolutionary social psychology. They will investigate what causes the differences between the two sexes (sexual selection), how (pro-)social behaviour can be explained by evolutionary theory, and how we are to some extent still governed by ‘hard-wired’ motives, like a drive for social status and reputation.
Doelstellingen van dit vak
- will have knowledge of the essentials of evolutionary psychological processes and the principles of sexual selection;
- will be able to apply evolutionary psychological reasoning to topics such as prejudice, health behaviour, aggression, or emotions.