First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Psychology
Course unit
PSP7078478, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
PS1088, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
Department of reference Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit


ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines M-PSI/02 Psychobiology and Physiological Psychology 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 42 108.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
2 2019/20 01/10/2019 30/11/2020 CAMPERIO CIANI ANDREA-SIGFRIDO (Presidente)
DADDA MARCO (Membro Effettivo)
SARTORI GIUSEPPE (Membro Effettivo)
1 2018/19 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 CAMPERIO CIANI ANDREA-SIGFRIDO (Presidente)
DADDA MARCO (Membro Effettivo)
SARTORI GIUSEPPE (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Prerequisite
students should know elementary fundaments of genetics and biology that if missing can be acquired studying text suggested in class.
Target skills and knowledge: teaching goals

In the first section this course introduces fundamental concepts regarding evolutionary theory and adaptation applied to animal and human behavior. It follows eco-ethology and behavioral ecology approaches, which deal with behavioral responses of animals to environmental challenges such as : territorial behavior, avoiding predation, feeding behavior, sexual, reproductive and social behavior. In the third section we will explore behavioral strategies using theory of games, we will investigate the adaptive value of emotions, details of sociobiology and sexual selection issues.
Examination methods: Teaching strategy and methods
The exam will be written with multiple choice and will be about 45 minutes. Students must register through UNIWEB.
Assessment criteria: The evaluation mechanism will be "grading on a curve", where all student will be graded comparing their performance to the average performance of the whole class taking the exam.
Course unit contents: classical ethology:Evolutionary theory applied to human behavior, the ethogrqam, observational methods, field data collection and analysis methods, behavior genetics, environment and behavior, evolution of signals and communication, evolution of language.
eco-ethology: Comparative method, multiple hypothesis method, feeding strategies, territory and predation defense, optimization theory, evolutionary stable strategies, social behavior and theory of games.
etology and sociobiology: theory of evolution applied to sociality and adaptive value of sociality, eusociality, comparative perspective of primate sociality.
Reproductive strategies and sexuality: partenogenesis and sexuality, origin of sexual behavior, parental strategies and reproductive investment, reproductive disinvestment, infanticide, and mating strategies such as polygyny, promisquity, monogamy and poliandry.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: During lectures is fundamental student's partecipation to discussion and debates. In the first lectures the teaching pact will be presented and discussed. Whenever possible animal behavior researchers will be invited to share their experiences and methods.Every year in parallel to theoretical lectures we organize field research experience to explore field research methods, environmental monitoring, showing that a psychologist can be efficently employed in programs of sustainable development, including human wildlife interaction. These field experiences both in human ethology, ecology and environmental monitoring will be conducted with GEA NGO (international association for the study and conservation of ecosystems) and the laboratory of Psychology applied to ecology and cooperation (PACE).

THIS COURSE EXPLORES ALSO TOPICS SUCH AS COMPARISON BETWEEN ANIMAL AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR, SEXUAL STRATEGIES, AGONISTIC BEHAVIOR THAT COULD BE SENSITIVE TO INDIVIDUAL MORAL OR ETHICAL BELIEFS. The evolutionary approach explores why certain behaviors have evolved and/or are maintained in the human population and does not discuss the cultural, moral or ethical appropriateness. Moral aspects are extremely important aspects that are focused in other courses not in this one.
This course tests adaptive hypothesis that you may feel threatening to your personal perspective. This can be seen as an intellectual stimulus to students but also as a personal intimate threat to others
If you chose to enroll in this course you must abide by this code and you are invited to express your critical thinking and engage supportively, positively and respectfully in the classroom.
If you are upset in any way, speak privately with me to discuss practical steps to help you.
Additional notes about suggested reading: J ALCOCK Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach, 10th Edition 2012 sinauer,NY.

in alternative only to students attending the course texts will be distributed in class.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • J Alcock, animal behavior an evolutionary approach. N Y: sinauer, 2012. thenth edition Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)
  • Learning contract/agreement

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)