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MA Course Descriptions

(ANT7018) Theory and Methods in Cognition and Culture

Content: The module focuses on fundamental theoretical issues and specific methodologies in cross-cultural research, as related to the field of cognition and culture. It discusses basic epistemological matters such as how to understand psychological and anthropological approaches as complementary in cross-cultural research, and how to understand culture as a variable that can be studied using rigorous empirical means. It also introduces the main quantitative and qualitative methodologies that have been utilized for data collection and data analysis in the field of cognition and culture.

Teaching methods: One seminar per week for twelve weeks throughout the first semester. 
Assessment methods: One extended essay of 4000-4500 words (80%); Practical exercises (20%).

(ANT7019) Evolution and Human Behaviour

Content: As with any other living organisms, human beings are an outcome of evolution by natural selection, and an evolutionary perspective has become one of the core elements of the field of cognition and culture in recent years. The module gives a general introduction to evolutionary thinking and its broad theoretical implications to the field of cognition and culture. It discusses in detail how the logic of natural selection can be applied to the human mind and behaviour without entailing biological reductionism. It also shows how this logic can be utilized as a meta-theoretical framework to generate hypotheses about the human mind and behaviour that are worth testing cross-culturally. 

Teaching methods: One seminar per week for twelve weeks throughout the first semester.
Assessment methods: One extended essay of 4000-4500 words.

(ANT7020) Social Cognition

Content: Being the most complex social species, humans possess many competencies to deal with social interaction. The module is an introduction to current research in developmental and cognitive psychology on basic social competencies such as folk psychology (the understanding of minds in order to explain and predict behaviour), and folk morality (the usage of norms in the evaluation and regulation of behaviour). It also introduces the anthropological literature that speaks to the topics such as the relevant literature in legal anthropology. By dealing with psychological and anthropological approaches, the module discusses the extent to which cultural influences can shape basic social competencies by the development of different folk conceptions of mind and morality, for example.

Teaching methods: One seminar per week for twelve weeks throughout the second semester.
Assessment methods: One extended essay of 4000-4500 words (80%). Seminar presentations (20%).

(ANT7021) Cognitive Science of Religion

Content: The topic of religion and ritual has been one of the most important topics in the development of the field of cognition and culture. The module focuses on the various cognitive theories of religion and ritual developed by cognitive anthropologists and psychologists over the last twenty years, which have challenged more traditional approaches in anthropology, and on their contribution to a new understanding of religious phenomena. It addresses core issues in the cognitive science of religion that are related to the field of cognition and culture such as the nature of the psychological and socio-institutional mechanisms that support religious representations and behaviour.

Teaching methods: One seminar per week for twelve weeks throughout the second semester.
Assessment methods: One extended essay of 4000-4500 words.

(SAN7025) Dissertation

Content: The topic of the dissertation has to be relevant to the field of cognition and culture and has to be agreed by the student’s supervisor. The dissertation should involve a critical review of the literature related to the topic, and a research proposal specifying ways to develop empirical, cross-cultural research related to the topic, including the design of experiments or quasi-experiments.

Teaching methods: Supervision.
Assessment methods: One essay of 12,000-12,500 words.

Contact Information

General Office Location: 
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Mon - Friday, 8.30 - 4.30pm
Tel:  +44 (0) 28 9097 3701
Fax: +44 (0) 28 9097 3700
Email:  icc@qub.ac.uk

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