CQUE: Evolution for Everyone – Syllabus (Summer 2018)

CQUE: Evolution for Everyone

Professor Glenn Geher of the State University of New York at New Paltz

Office Hours:

12010-1350, May 21-May 24 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday)

E-mail: geherg@newpaltz.edu

Web address: http://www.glenngeher.com

 

Schedule for In-Person Component of Class:

Schedule for Online Component of Class:

5/15, 7:30-7:50pm EST

6/5, 730-940pm EST

6/12, 730-940pm EST

 

Reading:

Not required but encouraged:

Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer (ENTIRE BOOK) (available via amazon.com)

Required:

Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer (CHAPTER 1). Free and available here.

Geher, G. (2018). Darwin’s Definitions. Blog post for Psychology Today.

Geher, G. (2015). What is evolutionary psychology? Blog post for Psychology Today.

Geher, G. (2018). Evolutionary Psychology Permeates Everyday Life. Blog post for Psychology Today.

Geher, G. (2017). 10 Evolutionary Psychological Concepts that People Don’t Get. Blog post for Psychology Today.

Geher, G. (2015). There is grandeur in this view of life. Blog post for Psychology Today.

The dates for each of these readings are demarcated in the Calendar section of this syllabus.

FINAL EXAM REVIEW SLIDES:

PowerPoint

PDF

Welcome: Welcome to Evolution for Everyone! I am Glenn Geher, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz), and am thrilled to be teaching about evolution in China!

This course will focus on the following:

  • What is evolution?
  • What are the main processes of evolution?
  • How does evolution relate to human behavior?
  • Evolution and human relationships.
  • Evolution and altruism.
  • Evolution and social behaviors.
  • Evolution and religion.
  • Controversies regarding evolution.

The optional-but-required reading, a brief (and inexpensive) textbook titled Evolutionary Psychology 101, is designed to give a strong and clear introduction to this field of science.

The other readings, which are all required, summarize several of the basic concepts in the modern field of evolutionary psychology.

Students should walk away with a strong understanding of the basic ideas of evolution as well as how these ideas relate to all aspects of human behavior.

Note that all required readings are to be read, in full, prior to the class periods for which they are assigned.

Assignments/Exam:

Exam (50% of grade). There will be one exam given during the final hour of the final class period on Thursday, May 25. This exam will be comprised of multiple-choice items that relate to the readings and the lectures. This article, Darwin’s Definitions, is the study guide for the exam.

The multiple-choice items will be created based largely on the concepts included in this article. So if you understand the concepts in this article well, you should do well on the exam.

GROUP Creative Assignment (25% of grade). GROUP ASSIGNMENT! DUE PRIOR TO CLASS ON JUNE 7 (730am – China Time (June 6, 1930, Eastern Standard (New York) Time). This assignment is designed to allow you to be creative. The basic assignment is for you to create some product related to the course content. The one rule is this: You must use at least 10 of the concepts included in the Darwin’s Definitions article (included in the required reading for this class). The ten you use are up to you.

Note that this assignment is a group assignment. Students are to form groups of between 6-7 students from the class. As part of the process, they need to determine a “team leader” who will be the person who represents the group to the professor (Glenn). Each member of the group is required to participate fully in the process. The grade given for the project will be assigned to each individual student. Importantly, if there are concerns about the group process (e.g., if one student is not contributing as much as he or she should), please notify Glenn to help.

The product that you come up with needs to show a strong and deep understanding of the 10 concepts that you choose to incorporate. With this said, the kind of product that you create is really up to you. Examples might include:

  • A short story
  • A poem
  • A song
  • A video
  • A play
  • A research proposal
  • A summary of research in the field of evolutionary psychology

Feel free to meet with me ahead of time about this project. And make sure to clearly demarcate each of the technical terms that you use so I can see that you have used at least 10 of them. You can underline, boldface, etc.

HERE is an example – A short story I wrote called Chaska’s Story

NOTE: To get your work to me ahead of the deadline, please send the relevant file via WeChat. If your file is too big (e.g., a video), please send via WeTransfer – via the below process.

NOTE: Whatever your project is, make sure to hand it in prior to the deadline (which is demarcated on the syllabus. If you are not sure what to hand in, contact me on WeChat, let me know what your project is, and I will help you.

Sharing large files between the US and China (e.g., video files).

Due to the Great Firewall associated with internet connections between the USA and China, sharing information with folks in China from the US can be a bit difficult. Sharing relatively large files can be particularly difficult. Here are two systems that should work (one or the other should work, anyway):

A. qq – send a file (either a “very large attachment” or a link to a cloud file) to my qq account: 3445531517@qq.com

B. WeTransfer

  1. Use wetransfer.com
  2. Email me (at geherg@newpaltz.edu) a link to the file of interest.
  3. Note that files on this (free) software last only one week.

 

 

What to Hand in Prior to Presentation

In terms of what to hand in prior to your presentation and what to do during your presentation, that depends on the nature of your product. If you are making a video, then you should send me the video ahead of time (via the instructions above) and show 10 minutes of the video during the class period. Then take questions/comments for about 5 minutes. If you wrote a paper, then you should prepare a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation to give during the class (with 5 minutes of questions/comments). If you wrote songs or stories, you should read or sing these during the 10 minutes (and leave five minutes for questions.

GROUP Oral presentation (25% of grade). This part of the required assignments will be pass/fail. You will get full credit for doing it! During the final two class periods, we will meet remotely using online software. During these periods, students will give presentations on their creative products. Each group will have about 15 minutes to present. Every student in the group must be included in the presentation. The presentation should take whatever form the group thinks is best. That could be giving a PowerPoint presentation, acting out a play, showing a video, etc. Note that every member of the group will get 100% for this component of the grade simply for participating.

I cannot wait to hear these presentations!

Grading:

Exam (.5)

Creative Product (.25)

Presentation (.25)

(NOTE: 50% of your total course grade will come from me, based on the grading rubric described here. The other 50% will come from my co-teacher, Xichuan Guo.)

Schedule:

We will have eight total meetings. Five in-person and three online. The below schedule relates to the content and structure of these meetings:

 

GROUP 1:

Date/Time Content and Reading Assignment/Exam
MEETING 1

Monday, 5/21 1400-1540

Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer (CHAPTER 1). Free and available here.

 

MEETING 2

Monday, 5/21 1600-1740

Geher, G. (2018). Darwin’s Definitions. Blog post for Psychology Today.

Geher, G. (2015). What is evolutionary psychology? Blog post for Psychology Today.

 

MEETING 3

Tuesday, 5/22 1600-1740

Geher, G. (2018). Evolutionary Psychology Permeates Everyday Life. Blog post for Psychology Today.

Geher, G. (2017). 10 Evolutionary Psychological Concepts that People Don’t Get. Blog post for Psychology Today.

MEETING 4

Wednesday, 5/23 830-1010

Geher, G. (2015). There is grandeur in this view of life. Blog post for Psychology Today.
MEETING 5

Thursday, 5/24 830-1010

Review and exam EXAM
MEETING 6

Tuesday 6/5 (EASTERN STANDARD TIME!!!), 1930-2140

Paper/Creative Product is due before start of class;

In-Class Presentations (fifteen minutes each)

MEETING 7

Tuesday 6/12 (EASTERN STANDARD TIME!!!), 1930-2140

In-Class Presentations (fifteen minutes each)

 

 

GROUP 2:

Date/Time Content and Reading Assignment/Exam
MEETING 1

Monday, 5/21 1030-1210

Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer (CHAPTER 1). Free and available here.

 

MEETING 2

Tuesday, 5/22 830-1010

Geher, G. (2015). What is evolutionary psychology? Blog post for Psychology Today.

Geher, G. (2018). Darwin’s Definitions. Blog post for Psychology Today.

MEETING 3

Tuesday, 5/22 1400-1540

Geher, G. (2018). Evolutionary Psychology Permeates Everyday Life. Blog post for Psychology Today.

Geher, G. (2017). 10 Evolutionary Psychological Concepts that People Don’t Get. Blog post for Psychology Today.

MEETING 4

Wednesday, 5/23 1400-1540

Geher, G. (2015). There is grandeur in this view of life. Blog post for Psychology Today.
MEETING 5

Thursday, 5/24 1030-1210

 Review and exam EXAM
MEETING 6

Wednesday, 6/6 CHINA TIME (730-940)

same as: Tuesday 6/5 (EASTERN STANDARD TIME!!!), 1930-2140

Paper/Creative Product is due before start of class;

In-Class Presentations (fifteen minutes each)

MEETING 7

Wednesday, 6/13 CHINA TIME (730-940)

same as:

Tuesday 6/12 (EASTERN STANDARD TIME!!!), 1930-2140

In-Class Presentations (fifteen minutes each)

Course policies:

  1.  Cheating.  DO NOT CHEAT.  Any student caught cheating on an exam will automatically fail that exam and, perhaps, the course.  Possible penalties include failing said examination and/or having an academic dishonesty complaint filed against the student in question. Failure of the entire class is also possible.

2A.  Plagiarism.  Plagiarism occurs when material is taken from a source without proper citation.  If you quote something directly (i.e., if you use another author’s EXACT WORDS), you must use quotation marks.  If you borrow an idea and reword it, you must report your source. Possible penalties include failing said assignment and/or having an academic dishonesty complaint filed against the student in question. Failure of the entire class is also possible. DO NOT PLAGIARIZE.

Elaborated plagiarism policy is here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/darwins-subterranean-world/201512/how-not-plagiarize

2B. AVOID turn-of-phrase plagiarism! Paraphrasing ideas of others is not the same as rewriting all of their sentences with substituted words or structural changes. For instance, suppose that you find an article that says the following: “The stimulus in this study was very large and the environment was highly controlled.” It would be totally plagiarizing if you changed this to either:

  • “The stimulus in this research was enormous and the context was highly stabilized.” or
  • “In this study, the environment was highly controlled and the stimulus in this study was very large.”

In paraphrasing, you need to look AWAY from what you have read when you write your summary – and describe the ideas as you would as if you were describing them to a lay person. That’s best writing – and will help you avoid getting called out on plagiarism.

  1.  Missing exams.  A Make-up exam may be given if there are extenuating circumstances AND it (the make-up exam) is (ideally) officially scheduled before the scheduled examination.  If such circumstances are shown to exist, you may be able to take a make-up exam.  Special arrangements will be made as to the time and place of any make-up exams. If a student requests a make-up exam after the scheduled examination, and especially extenuating circumstances (e.g., a serious illness) are demonstrated to exist, scheduling of a make-up exam might be considered.

3A. If you fail the final exam and want an opportunity to retake the exam, you will be given an all-essay exam based on similar content.

  1.  Feedback on paper/creative product.

You are encouraged to meet with me (GG) feedback on ideas or a draft of your paper before it is due. For me, it would be best if you could bring me a hard copy of your work directly to my office hours.

  1. LATE PAPERS. ABSOLUTELY NO PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE DUE DATE.
  2.  Course conflicts.  If you have a regular scheduling conflict with this course (e.g., you will have to leave every class before the end of class because of work, you have another course scheduled that overlaps with this course, or you will be going to Rome for 2 weeks during the term) you should not take this course.
  3.  Your paper for this class may NOT be based on a paper you have written for another class.
  4. NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES (including, but not limited to: cell phones, text-messaging devices, Sony Playstations, etc.) may be turned on during class or during examinations. Possible penalties include failing an examination and/or having an academic dishonesty complaint filed against the student in question. Further, such items are NOT to be USED during class (notetaking with a laptop is only acceptable with my expressed written permission – and note that surfing the web during class is just all wrong!).
  5.  Attendance policy. You are encouraged to attend this class. Doing so can only help your grade. Attendance is not mandatory. This said, note that attending classes is perhaps the single-best predictor of academic success in college.

 

As a teacher I feel that my role is to help you learn, not to grade you, so please feel free to come see me or call me throughout the term if you have any concerns or questions.  I mean it. Have a great semester.

 

Glenn’s Writing Tips

No papers with an abundance of the following errors will receive a grade of an A.

  1. USUALLY affect is a verb and effect is a noun.

e.g., This variable affects several things.

e.g., That other variable produced a very large effect.

  1. If the subject of your sentence is singular, the verb and subsequent pronouns referring to the subject must be also.

e.g., The participant then provided his or her (not their) background information.

e.g.,  The point of these studies was (not were) to find if blah, blah, blah … (point is singular).

  1. Never use the word prove in a psychology paper.  While psychologists do many things, proving is virtually never one of them.

INCORRECT: These results prove that Schmedley’s hypothesis was correct.

BETTER: These results support Schmedley’s hypothesis.

BETTER STILL: These results support the hypothesis that Schmedley should change his name … just kidding.

  1. Be succinct. Do not use a lot of words to make a point if you can make the same point with fewer words.  If two papers make the same points, the one with fewer words is, to my mind, better.

BAD: Asch’s research on conformity is very interesting because it includes interesting research and has important ideas that are very meaningful.

BETTER: Asch’s research on conformity is interesting for several reasons.

  1. AVOID 1st person (when possible) and, especially, opinions (unless they are asked for).

BAD: I am writing a paper on conformity.  In this paper, I will talk about how social psychologists have studied conformity and why I am so interested in this interesting topic.

BETTER: This paper will address conformity as it has been studied in social psychology.

  1. Do not use contractions.

BAD: Subjects were asked if they’d administer an electric shock.

BETTER: Subjects were asked if they would administer an electric shock.

  1. Its vs. It’s. It’s means it is (but you should not be using contractions anyway). Its is a possessive pronoun referring to a noun that possesses something.

e.g., The frog grabbed the fly with its tongue.   (here its means the frog’s)

  1. Punctuation marks go inside quotation marks.

BAD:  Then the experimenter said, “Oh Boy”.

BETTER:  Then the experimenter said, “Oh Boy.”

BETTER STILL:  Then the experimenter said, “Golly!”

  1. Always follow the word this with a specific noun.  Otherwise, your writing will be unclear.

BAD: Changes will be made at all levels of management. The impact of this will be enormous.

BETTER: Changes will be made at all levels of management. The impact of this restructuring will be enormous.

  1. i.e., means “in other words.”  e.g., means “for example.”

e.g., These people are thought to be cerebral in nature (i.e., they tend to think a lot).

e.g., Their diet includes several kinds of flowers (e.g., roses).

  1. Some helpful word substitutions:

Change

looked at                                 to         examined

got                                           to         obtained

did                                           to         conducted

  1. Only use the word “correlation” if you are referring to a specific relationship between two different continuous variables.  Do not just throw this word around because it sounds good.

GOOD: A positive correlation was observed between number of hamburgers eaten and the size of one’s bellyache.

BAD: A correlation between these different ideas can be found. (This sentence simply does not mean anything).

  1. AVOID turn-of-phrase plagiarism! Paraphrasing ideas of others is not the same as rewriting all of their sentences with substituted words or structural changes. For instance, suppose that you find an article that says the following: “The stimulus in this study was very large and the environment was highly controlled.” It would be totally plagiarizing if you changed this to either:

“The stimulus in this research was enormous and the context was highly stabilized.” or: “In this study, the environment was highly controlled and the stimulus in this study was very large.”

In paraphrasing, you need to look AWAY from what you have read when you write your summary — and describe the ideas as you would as if you were describing them to a lay person. That’s best writing — and will help you avoid getting called out on plagiarism.

  1. Compound adjectives are clusters of words that, in combination, describe some noun. Unless the first word in the cluster is an adverb ending in “ly” (random rule), the words in the cluster need to be hyphenated to make it clear that they act as a unit. For instance:

Change: The student was well read to: The student was well-read. (here, well and read work together to make a single adjective)

Change: The tip of the tongue phenomenon is really cool to The tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon is really cool (here tip and of and the and tongue work together to make a single adjective).

  1. Technical terms should be demarcated by italics and defined on first use.

Change: Evolutionary mismatch may play a role in terms of why people now overeat unhealthy foods.

To: Evolutionary mismatch, which corresponds to situations in which modern environments do not match ancestral conditions that were common during evolution, may play a role in terms of why people now overeat unhealthy foods.

  1. “Data,” meaning pieces of information, is plural for “datum,” meaning a single piece of information. Thus, data is a plural word – and it needs to be used in writing as such!

Incorrect: This data has an interesting implication.

Correct: These data have an interesting implication.

 

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