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James W. Pennebaker, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

Spring 2006

PSY 341K • Animal Cognition-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43010 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
SEA 3.250

Course Description

This course will cover a range of issues involving animal intelligence and evolution of mind. We will look at what is known about intelligence in other animals, how intelligence is revealed in social and problem solving behavior, and the ways in which human intelligence is structured by its evolutionary past. This is a seminar course. Each class will be organized around the presentation of an article or chapter from the literature. Sometimes students will present the material, other times there will be a more formal lecture.

Grading Policy

Students will write one short paper (2-3 pages) per week on some aspect of the current reading. The topics of these papers will be chosen by the students and are intended essentially to generate informed class discussion. Each paper will be graded on content, style, and creativity. In addition, there will be three 1 hour exams and no final Percentage contribution to final grade: Papers: 40% Examinations: each 20%


The readings will be drawn from a number of sources including: Cognitive ecology: the evolutionary ecology of information processing and decision making (Dukas), Species of mind: the philosophy and biology of cognitive ethology (Allen, Bekoff), The Alex studies: cognitive and communicative abilities of grey parrots (Pepperberg), The evolution of mind (Cummins), Cognition, evolution, and behavior (Shettleworth), Primate cognition (Tomasello), Inside the animal mind (Page).


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