McMaster University



Evolution & Social Behaviour

Social behaviour and social cognition are major foci in psychology. The social sciences are often pursued in isolation from biology, but these disciplines meet in psychology, and this is especially the case at McMaster, where the study of social cognition, development, and behaviour are integrated with the study of animal behaviour, physiology, and the evolution of behaviour.

For Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students take courses in animal behaviour (2TT3), social psychology (2C03), and sensory processes (2E03). These courses provide a foundation for more advanced study of audition (3A03), evolution & human behaviour (3F03), social & emotional development (3JJ3), motivation & emotion (3M03), evolution of communication (3YY3), animal behaviour (3S03, 4R03), behavioural ecology (3T03), and behavioural endocrinology (4Y03). Students interested in pursuing post-graduate studies should consider completing a course with a strong research component (4D06, 4DD6, 4D09). This research area provides valuable preparation for further training in these areas or for careers in the health sciences and helping professions.

For Graduate Students

We offer state-of-the-art facilities in laboratories that study evolution and social behaviour from different perspectives. Our faculty do epidemiological studies of homicide and analyses of patterns of risk of lethal and nonlethal violence, as well as the development of aggression and bulling in children. We study social emotional development with a focus on extremely shy children. We study evolution of parental care, evolution of cognitive abilities, social perceptual and social cognitive development, as well as biological drives for survival and reproduction.

There are opportunities for students to hear and present research throughout the year. Browse through the web pages our associated faculty members to learn more about the Evolution and Social Behaviour research laboratories, and visit our graduate web page for details on applying to our graduate programme.

Evolution and Social Behaviour Faculty


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