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Evolution and cognition

ECTS credits


Number of hours: Lectures + Seminars + Exercises

15 / 30 / 0

Course objectives

The main aim of the course is to introduce students to the fundamentals of contemporary evolutionary theory as it applies to mind and behavior.

By the end of the course students will be able to discuss evolution and development of emotion and cognition, including cognitive errors, biases and heuristics, human universals and human nature.

Enrolment requirements and/or entry competences required for the course


Learning outcomes at the level of the programme to which the course contributes

  • Explain major historical paradigms and recognize important new trends in cognitive science.
  • Apply specific knowledge and skills from selected disciplines constituting cognitive science.
  • Participate in data-driven innovation projects and apply appropriate data science tools.
  • Initiate and sustain innovation activities in an interdisciplinary team.
  • Apply AI tools in concrete tasks and practical contexts.

Course content (syllabus)

  • History of evolutionary psychology and the most common misconceptions.
  • Adaptationist program
  • The nature of "human nature"
  • Proximal and ultimate mechanisms.
  • Evolutionarily stable strategies.
  • Modularity of mind.
  • Brain size
  • The evolution of language
  • Machiavellian theory of intelligence
  • Evolutionary approach to cognitive psychology
  • Human (i)rationality: cognitive errors and biases (I)
  • Human (i)rationality: cognitive errors and biases (II)
  • Evolution of culture I
  • Evolution of culture II
  • The evolution of morality

Student responsibilities

Class attendance, seminar preparation

Required literature

  • 1. Buss, D. M. (Ed.). (2015). The handbook of evolutionary psychology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Optional literature

  • -