Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Evolutionary Psychology

 Brief Overview 

Evolutionary theory provides a powerful framework for understanding the incredible biological diversity we observe in nature. Over the past three decades or so, a growing number of researchers have begun to appreciate that the evolutionary forces that acted on our ancestors have sculpted the human brain, and the psychological and behavioural phenomena it produces.

This course provides an introduction to the field of Evolutionary Psychology. Specifically, it covers fundamental aspects of evolutionary theory and its application to understanding human psychology and behaviour through a variety of methods, including experimental, survey, cross-cultural, and comparative research. This course will also cover topics that have been central to the field of Evolutionary Psychology such as mating, parenting, altruism, and cooperation. In addition, a number of topics will be explored to illustrate unique areas of research that have emerged from the field of Evolutionary Psychology. The impact of Evolutionary Psychology on certain traditional areas of Psychology, including the study of development, cognition, mental illness, personality, and culture, will also be considered. The overall aim of this course is to demonstrate the scientific approaches that can be used to discover how evolutionary processes influence human psychology and behaviour. 

 Course Objectives 

The course is planned to accomplish five distinct learning objectives:

  1. Develop the logic that justifies an evolutionary approach to psychological phenomena.
  2. Resolve misunderstandings that block evolutionary analysis in the social sciences generally and psychology in particular.
  3. Detail the essential elements of modern evolutionary theory and its genetic underpinnings.
  4. Exemplify evolutionary analysis in psychology by exploring a wide range of psychological topics (e.g., cognition, perception, emotion, learning, social, abnormal) from an evolutionary perspective.
  5. Clarify the relationship between traditional and evolutionary psychology.

 Teaching Methodology 

  1. Interactive discussions
  2. Audio-visual
  3. Collaborative Project 



 Course Outline 





Foundations of Evolutionary Psychology

·        The Scientific Movements Leading to Evolutionary Psychology

·        The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology

20 hrs


Problems of Survival

·        Combating the Hostile Forces of Nature:

·        Human Survival Problems



Challenges of Sex and Mating

·        Women's Long-Term Mating Strategies

·        Men's Long-Term Mating Strategies

·        Short-Term Sexual Strategies



Challenges of Parenting and Kinship

·        Problems of Parenting

·        Problems of Kinship



Problems of Group Living

·        Cooperative Alliances

·        Aggression and Warfare

·        Conflict between the Sexes

·        Status, Prestige, and Social Dominance



An Integrated Psychological Science

·        Toward a Unified Evolutionary Psychology