BSc in biology or related disciplines.
The study of Animal cognition is a young but fast growing discipline in the cognitive sciences. With the increased attention and improved experimental designs, previously overlooked and unexpected cognitive abilities of animals are discovered, some leading to spectacular headlines and claims in the media. The aims of this seminar are to provide students with sufficient knowledge on both to the information processing abilities of animals as well as experimental approaches in contemporary animal cognition research to enable them to critically evaluate primary, secondary and popular literature in animal cognition research. We will cover controversial issues of recent years, like whether animals can count, are able of mental time travelling (‘planning for the future’) or whether they have a theory of mind.
After completion of this course, students can:
recall and explain the content of the course book and of selected contemporary primary literature in the field of animal cognition (as indicated by the topics in the reading list).
summarise, present and discuss primary research articles in animal cognition.
critically evaluate experimental designs in animal cognition research.
evaluate and integrate contemporary findings and theories concerning animal cognition.
appraise and reason different viewpoints of key debates within the study of animal cognition.
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Mode of instruction
For each meeting, participants will be asked to read and prepare one chapter from the book or review article so that they can actively participate during discussions and also chair these general discussions. In addition, per session there will be two student presentations on selected primary literature pertaining to the theme of the week. Each participant is expected to prepare one oral presentation plus a written summary, and to act once as a chairperson during a presentation and ensuing discussion of another person.
Participants will be evaluated based on the quality of their presentation and the summary, their performance as a chairperson, and the quality and quantity of their contribution to discussion sessions.
The final grade consists of the following partical grades:
Presentation + summary 40%
Chairing student presentation + session plan 15%
Chairing session 15%
Discussion contributions 30%
Animal Cognition –Evolution, Behavior & Cognition. 3rd edition. Clive D.L. Wynne, Monique A. R. Udell. Bloomsbury Publishing 2020. ISBN 9781137611260
Selected articles from the primary literature (to be announced on Brightspace)
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Coordinator: dr. K. Riebel
This course is designed for a maximum of 24 participants. Upon over-registration biology master students will be given priority. Participation in the pre-meeting is obligatory. Failure to appear and commit to a date for a presentation during the pre-meeting will vacate the participant’s place for students from the waiting list.