Psychology | Animal Behavior
P417 | 10378 | Timberlake, W


Course Description for P417:  Fall 2004

MEETING TIME:  Tu 11:00 to 12:15; R 11:00 to 12:55 (Film included)

THE COURSE: Animal behavior is a broad, integrative, field of study,
combining elements of evolution and genetics, development, learning,
behavioral ecology, ethology, sensory psychology and neuroscience,
and a little anthropology and evolutionary psychology. The course
will survey broad elements of animal behavior, including methods,
models, and theories. A paper by each student will help integrate
these topic areas by focusing on how they relate to a particular
chosen species or animal.

OFFICE HOURS:  I am available by appointment or drop in most
afternoons, and during Office hours posted at the beginning of the
course.

GRADES:  Your grade in the course will be based on a cumulative score
from three tests (25% each), and a paper (25%).  Grades will be
assigned initially on an absolute scale with cut points of 90-A, 80-
B, 70-C, 60-D. The cut points typically will be lowered slightly for
the final grade.  I expect you to work hard and I intend to reward
you for your work.  I strongly recommend that you attend class and do
the readings.  Lectures and readings will cover similar but not
identical material.

TESTS:  Each test will emphasize the material covered in the
immediately preceding part of the course.  The first test will be a
take home to acquaint you with the format and grading.  If you score
below 78 on the first test, you can retake it for partial additional
credit (an additional 1/2 point for each corrected point).  The tests
include both definitions and short answer.  They require production of
what you know rather than merely recognition of the best answer in
multiple choice.  The tests are straightforward, and I provide
choices among alternative questions.  However, it is not possible to
get a good grade by good guesses. Thus, it is important to review
your notes and the book as we go along, and to begin studying well
before the test.  I strongly recommend you make lists of important
words and review their definitions as we go through class.  I also
recommend that you outline the chapters and the lectures.   I ask
that you sign your tests as a statement that the answers are your
own.  Using others answers or memory aids is not acceptable.

FILMS:  Films on Animal behaior are shown as part of the class from
12:00-1:00 on Thurdays, so the class runs 45 minutes longer on this
day.  The films provide exposure to the behavior of animals and
information about it that I feel are important to appreciating and
understanding animal behavior.  Some aspects of the films will help
with tests and I expect you to be present for most films. It is often
possible to see the films at the audio visual department.

PAPER:  The species/genus paper provides an opportunity for students
to take an animal-centered view of the"life space" of a species or
genus of animals and integrate it with the scientific study of animal
behavior.    The easiest way to organize the paper is to cover the
categories laid out in the syllabus (evolution, genetics,
development, learning, sensory processing, etc.  It is possible with
the instructors permission to write a paper on a particular topic so
long as it deals with the four aspects of causation (mechanism,
ontogeny, function, and evolution).