Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour >> 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

Courses in animal behaviour (PNB 2XC3), social psychology (PSYCH 2C03), and perception and cognition (PNB 2XA3) provide a foundation for more advanced study of audition (PSYCH 3A03), evolution & human behaviour (PSYCH 3F03), social & emotional development (PSYCH 3JJ3), motivation & emotion (PSYCH 3M03), animal behaviour (PNB 3S03, PSYCH 4R03), behavioural ecology (PSYCH 3T03), and hormones, neurochemistry and behaviour (PSYCH 4Y03).  Students interested in pursuing post-graduate studies should consider completing a course with a strong research component (PNB 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 of 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

  •  Paul Andrews - I primarily study the functional effects of depression on cognition and behaviour, the underlying neurological mechanisms, and the implications for understanding the evolutionary history of depression. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Sigal Balshine - Behavioural ecological studies on cichlid fishes, evolution of parental care, cooperation & sperm competition. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Denys deCatanzaro - Evolutionary and physiological limitations to the biological drives for survival and reproduction. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Reuven Dukas - Ecology and evolution of cognitive abilities and constraints. Insect behaviour. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • David Feinberg - An evolutionary perspective on human mate preferences. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Mel Rutherford - Evolutionary psychological perspectives on social perceptual development, social cognitive development, theory of mind and autism.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Louis Schmidt - Developmental psychophysiology, social emotional development in children, neural basis of human emotion. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact Department

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB)
Psychology Building (PC), Room 102
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1
Canada