Psychology 3228A 650 SU24

Evolution and Psychology: The Science of Human Nature

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.


Western University

London                   Canada


Department of Psychology

Summer 2024


Psychology 3228A    Section 650


Evolution and Psychology: The Science of Human Nature


1     Calendar Description


A survey of evolutionary approaches to the study of human behavior, including evolutionary psychology.


Antirequisites: Psychology 3229A/B


A mark of at least 60% in 1.0 credits of Psychology at the 1000 level or Biology 1001A and registration in third or fourth year.


3 lecture hours; Course Weight: 0.5


Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.


2     Course Information


Instructor:                  Krista Macpherson, PhD

Office & Phone:          SSC 7430, ex: 84627

Office Hours:              By Appointment



Time and Location of Classes: Online (Asynchronous); Lecture recordings will be recorded/posted to Brightspace Fridays by 2pm


For courses that include an online component, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements.


3     Course Materials


Macdougall-Shackleton, S.A. (2024).  Evolution and Psychology (1st Ed.). Sage.




4     Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes



Learning Outcome

Learning Activity


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge

·         Identify and describe key concepts in evolutionary theory including natural selection, sexual selection, inclusive fitness theory, life history theory, and parental investment theory

Online lectures, weekly readings


Exams, weekly quizzes


Knowledge of Methodologies

·         Identify major historical milestones in evolutionary thought and its application to understanding human behaviour

Online lectures, weekly readings


Exams, weekly quizzes


Application of Knowledge

·         Detect common fallacies that confuse our understanding of human nature

Online lectures, weekly readings


Exams, weekly quizzes


Communication Skills

·         Critique news articles covering evolutionary psychology

Online lectures, weekly readings


Exams, weekly quizzes


Awareness of Limits of Knowledge

·         Classify explanations for behaviour by their level of analysis

Online lectures, weekly readings


Exams, weekly quizzes, assignments


Autonomy and Professional Capacity

·         Interpret evidence used in support of evolutionary explanations of human behaviour

Online lectures, weekly readings


Exams, weekly quizzes, assignments



5     Evaluation


Evaluation in this course will be based on the following:


Weekly Online Quizzes (Best 10 of 12)                          10% total (1% each)

Short Written Assignments (Best 4 of 5)                       20% total (5% each)

Midterm Exam                                                                30%

Final Exam                                                                        40%


The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4 and are necessary for meeting these learning objectives



Policy on Missing Coursework


This course is exempt from the Senate requirement that students receive assessment of their work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade at least three full days before the date of the deadline for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty.


Weekly quizzes will consist of 5 to 10 questions (multiple choice, fill in the blank, etc.) that are based off of the course readings for that week,  and are to be completed prior to the lecture for that week (starting week 2--there will be no quiz prior to the first lecture). Quizzes will be posted at 9 am on Mondays, and are due by 2pm on Fridays of that lecture week.


There is a strict policy that quizzes are not accepted after the due date and missed quizzes will be given a grade of zero. There are no make-ups for missed quizzes. Only the best 10 of 12 will count towards your final grade. Quizzes are open-book and are submitted through OWL. The quizzes are designed to be completed in 10 minutes, but you will be allowed 30 minutes to complete them.


Assignments will typically revolve around an assigned reading and may be in either a ‘quiz’ format (multiple choice, matching and short answer), a ‘thought paper’ format (700 word max), or an online discussion. Information about the assignments will be posted online and you will submit assignments through Brightspace. There is a strict policy that late assignments will not be accepted and given a grade of zero. There are no make-ups for a missed assignment. Only the best 4 of 5 assignments will count towards your final grade. 

Discussion of quiz and/or assignment material on Brightspace, social media or other online forums, phone or texts prior to the submission deadline is strictly prohibited. 


The midterm and final exam will be based on both lecture material and assigned readings from the textbook. The exams will consist of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and other close-ended question formats.  The final exam will focus primarily on the second half of the course, but approximately one quarter of the questions will be on broad topics and themes that run throughout the entire course.  Exams will be completed on Brightspace.  Exams will not be proctored.  If an exam is missed, students must go through the appropriate procedures for accommodation (see section 9.0), and a makeup exam will be scheduled.


The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines:


The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages:


70%    1000-level to 2099-level courses

72%    2100-2999-level courses

75%    3000-level courses

80%    4000-level courses


In the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components.


Policy on Grade Rounding


Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered.


6     Assessment/Evaluation Schedule


Weekly Quizzes                                Due at 2pm every Friday                                                    

Written Assignments                                 Due one week from date assigned        

Midterm Examination                               Thurs June 13th @ 7pm 

Final Examination                                      TBA (During final exam period)


7     Class Schedule





Readings & Assignments


May 10th

Introduction to Evolution

Chapter 1


May 17th

Natural Selection, Sexual Selection,                            & Human Origins

Chapter 2 & 3 (Assignment 1 Posted)


May 24th

Evolutionary Approaches to Human Behaviour

Chapter 4


May 31st         

Evolution and Development

Chapter 5 (Assignment 2 posted)


June 7th

Reproductive Behaviour

Chapter 6




June 13th


Midterm (7pm EST)

Based on content

from Weeks 1-5



June 21st

Kin Selection and families

Chapter 7 & 8 (Assignment 3 Posted)



June 28th

Perception and Cognition

Chapter 9 & 10


July 5th


Chapter 10


July 12th


Chapter 12



July 19th

Motivation & Emotion

Chapter 13 (Assignment 5 Posted)


July 26th


Chapter 14



8     Academic Integrity


Scholastic offences are taken seriously, and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site:


Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Plagiarism Detection Software


All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism.  All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and


Use of AI


The use of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT to produce written work is not permitted unless permission is granted by the instructor for specific circumstances. Any work submitted must be the work of the student in its entirety unless otherwise disclosed. When used, AI tools should be used ethically and responsibly, and students must cite or credit the tools used in line with the expectation to use AI as a tool to learn, not to produce content.


Multiple Choice Exams


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating.


Exam Proctoring Software


Tests and examinations for online courses may be conducted using a remote proctoring service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote

Proctoring website at:


Personal Response Systems (“Clickers”)


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system, data collected will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed.


9     Academic Accommodations and Accessible Education


View Western’s policy on academic accommodations for student with disabilities at this link.


Accessible Education provides supports and services to students with disabilities at Western.

If you think you may qualify for ongoing accommodation that will be recognized in all your courses, visit Accessible Education for more information.  Email:  Phone: 519 661-2147


10  Absence & Academic Consideration


View Western’s policy on academic consideration for medical illnesses this link


Find your academic counsellor here:


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain academic considerations. Students must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence.


Medical Absences


Submit a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner to Academic Counselling in your Faculty of registration to be eligible for Academic Consideration.


Nonmedical Absences


Submit appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in your Faculty of registration to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate.


Religious Consideration


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term.


11  Other Information



Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness@Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you.


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal in writing to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology (


Copyright Statement


Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent.


Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions


Some or all the learning sessions for this course may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers. The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor.


12  Land Acknowledgement


We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak, and Chonnonton. Nations, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. This land continues to be home to diverse Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) whom we recognize as contemporary stewards of the land and vital contributors of our society.