Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of this course is to give a student the biological knwlledge to analyse human behaviour in terms of evolutionary principles.
Basic knowledge of general biology and genetic.
Course contents summary
1. Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology: an evolutionary approach to animal and human behavior. Basic concepts in Ethology: the debate “Nature vs Nurture”: Fixed action patterns and releasers; learning; development and maturation.
2. Evolution and consequences of sexual reproduction. Parental Investment and sexual selection: male and female reproductive strategies. A comparative analysis of mating systems.
3. Parental cares: cooperation and conflicts. Why do mostly females care for the offspring? Sociecology of parental cares in Primates. Neurobiology of maternal behavior. The Mother-offspring conflict during pregnancy, nursing and weaning. 4.
4. Maternal functions and psycho-social development of the offspring. Imprinting and the concepte of critical periods in development. The Biological theory of Attachment by Bowlby. Analysis of mother-offspring relationships: maternal style, emotionality and social competence.
S. Hrdy. Istinto materno. Sperling&Krupfer ("Mother Nature")
- Palanza P. & Parmigiani S. Biologia del comportamento riproduttivo e materno. Edizioni Libreria Santa Croce (Parma 2005).
- J. Diamond. Il terzo scimpanzè. Boringhieri-M. Ridley. La regina Rossa. Instar
classes with analysis of films and images.
written and oral exam.