PSYC 358 (Evolutionary Psychology)



Essay Assignment:

Human cognition and behavior is highly “flexible” (as indicated by the fact that people have the capacity to learn from their environment, to respond differently under different circumstances, etc.). Explain how this flexibility may have evolved specifically because it served the “selfish” objectives of genes; and describe how evolved capacities for cognitive and behavioral flexibility manifest in contemporary human environments. Support your answer by referring to relevant psychological research examples.


Rules to follow in preparing your essay:

This essay is due on Tuesday, October 9, at the start of class. (Of course, you may hand it in any time before that.)

Your essay should be typed and double-spaced. 

It cannot be longer than 3 printed double-spaced pages. (And the font size cannot be smaller than 11-point font).

Put both your name and your student number at the top of each page.

This should go with saying, but I'll say it anyway: In completing this essay assignment, you must comply with UBC's policy regarding academic honesty. You must complete this essay assignment independently. Do not use any other student's essay to inform yours. Do not show your essay to any other student. Do not discuss your essay with any other student. This essay must honestly reflect your own work.

(In addition to printing off and handing in a "hard copy" of your essay, please save an electronic copy of the essay as well, and keep it saved until you receive a final grade for this course. If any questions arise regarding the independence of your essay, you will be required to provide the electronic version for further analysis.)


Marking considerations to consider:

This essay assignment is your opportunity to demonstrate the breadth and depth of the knowledge that you have acquired in this course thus far. In other words: It’s your opportunity to “show off”—to show off the extent to which you have attended to, understood, and thought deeply about the material presented in this course. There is lots of course material (presented in the assigned readings and/or in lectures) that is relevant to the assigned essay topic. (There is certainly no need to draw upon additional material beyond that which is part of this course.) When writing your essay, you should strive to draw upon that relevant course material and, as persuasively as you can, demonstrate your knowledge of it. Your essay will be marked according to how thoroughly, how accurately, and how convincingly it uses course material to address the assignment. 

Generally speaking, an essay is likely to get a higher mark to the extent that:


Your performance on this essay assignment will count 10% toward your final course grade.