PSYK3500 Evolution and Behavior Course description

Course name in Norwegian
Evolusjon og atferd
Study programme
Bachelorstudium i psykologi med vekt på atferdsanalyse
Year of study
FALL 2021
Course history


The course is an introduction to how theories on evolution and behaviour analysis can explain the behaviour of animals and humans. The course covers key topics in modern evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology and selection in relation to consequences. This includes an introduction to topics from biology, evolutionary psychology, anthropology and behaviour analysis views on selection and culture

Required preliminary courses

Admission to the programme.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student is expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competence:


The student can

  • discuss similarities and differences between selection in evolutionary biology and behaviour analysis
  • explain interactions between selection principles at the different levels
  • describe basic principles and theories in modern evolution biology
  • describe key topics in behavioural ecology
  • describe heredity and key topics in modern genetics
  • describe the significance of natural selection to the nervous system’s structure and function  
  • describe basic research areas in evolutionary psychology


The student can

  • use principles of cultural selection in relation to changes in organisations and groups
  • illustrate how specific behaviour can be explained from an evolutionary perspective
  • reflect on topics and theories in evolution and behaviour

General competence 

The student

  • has insight into the biological basis of behaviour in animals, including humans
  • can describe selection as an explanatory model both orally and in writing
  • is familiar with new ideas and innovation processes in behaviour analysis as a holistic discipline based on selection sciences

Teaching and learning methods

Work and teaching methods used in the course are lectures, self-study, presentation of texts and group work. Seminars will also be held where the students present academic texts. Students will present texts from the syllabus, encourage discussion and receive guidance on further reading.

During the course, the students must submit three assignments

Course requirements

The following required coursework must be approved before the students can take the supervised written examination:

  • minimum 80 % participation at compulsory teaching activities
  • presentation of academic texts
  • submission of three, individual, written assignments (max. 900 words)


Supervised individual written examination, 4 hours.

Permitted exam materials and equipment


Grading scale

Grade scale A-F


One internal and one external examiner