WESTERN UNIVERSITY LONDON CANADA Department of

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WESTERN UNIVERSITY
LONDON
CANADA
Department of Psychology
2014-2015
Psychology 4290G Section 001
Special Topics in Animal Behaviour and Animal Cognition: Animal Cognition
1.0 CALENDAR DESCRIPTION
This course examines current ideas and research in animal cognition including topics in memory,
numerical competence, timing, spatial ability, social learning, tool use, and communication. Contrasting
approaches to animal cognition, including those of learning theory, behavioural ecology, and "animal
mind" research will be examined and critically evaluated.
Prerequisites: Psychology 2220A/B, 2221A/B or Neuroscience 2000, and registration in third or fourth year
Honours Specialization in Psychology, Honours Specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience,
Honours Specialization in Neuroscience, Honours Specialization in Physiology/Psychology or Honours
Specialization in Animal Behaviour.
Other Psychology students and Psychology Special Students who receive 70% in the prerequisite course may
enrol in this course.
3 seminar hours, 0.5 course
Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll
in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be
appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for
failing to have the necessary prerequisites.
2.0 COURSE INFORMATION
Instructor:
Office and Phone Number
Office Hours
Email
David Sherry
Room 201 AFAR 519 661-2111 Ext 84659
By appointment
[email protected]
Time and Location of Class
Tuesdays 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Social Science Building 8440
If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to
assist you. Please visit: http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for more information on these
resources and on mental health.
Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any
other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services
for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an
accommodation.
3.0 TEXTBOOK
Shettleworth, S.J. 2013. Fundamentals of Comparative Cognition. Oxford University Press:
Oxford.
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4.0 COURSE OBJECTIVES
This course provides an introduction to the scientific study of animal cognition, along with more
advanced discussion of selected topics. Psychologists and zoologists, as well as naturalists,
philosophers, and others have always wondered whether animals think, and if so, what do they know
and what do they think about? This course examines the answers that are provided by modern research
in animal cognition. What can animals learn and remember? Is there continuity between our own
cognitive processes and those of our evolutionary ancestors? Do some animals have specialized
cognitive abilities suited to their life history and ecological niche? This course will examine a variety of
areas in which animals appear capable of complex information processing, including spatial orientation,
timing, numerical ability, and social relations. We will also examine logical and methodological issues
involved in examining animal awareness and consciousness. Determining what animals are capable of
doing can be quite straightforward and has led to many unexpected discoveries. Determining what
cognitive processes are responsible for behaviour is a different matter, and an area of challenging and
fascinating current research.
5.0 EVALUATION
Students are expected to attend all classes and to read all assigned material. Each student will select
two weekly topics for which they will prepare and lead class discussion of assigned materials and any
additional material they wish to present. Students will lead class discussion in groups. Each student will
also select four topics on which they will prepare short thought papers. Evaluation will be based on an
essay, thought papers, presentations and participation.
Leading Class Discussion (2)
Thought Papers (4)
Essay
Class Participation
20%
20%
40%
20%
Choose two, from January 20 to March 31, 10% each
Choose four, 5% each
Due April 14 2015. Earlier submission is encouraged.
In Leading Class Discussion, students are expected to introduce and discuss the assigned material, raise
questions about ideas and research findings, and describe any additional research results or topics they
have examined. Each class discussion will be led by a group of students, and each student will
participate in leading two class discussions. It is not necessary or expected that students will use
PowerPoint to lead class discussion except for figures, illustrations, graphs or tables that are most easily
shown as PowerPoint slides.
Thought Papers are short (500 word maximum) reports on an assigned reading or readings for a class,
selected by the student. Each student will submit four thought papers. Thought papers on an assigned
reading are due the day that reading is discussed in class. Thought papers are intended to be brief
discussions of assigned articles and can include critiques, commentary, questions, comparisons to other
research results, proposals for further research, relevant ideas discussed in other courses, or similar
material.
The Essay is a discussion of a topic presented in class. Students will usually wish to write on a topic for
which they led discussion, but the essay can also have a broader coverage if desired or can combine
topics. Maximum length is 10 double spaced pages. Style should follow the American Psychological
Association (APA) Publication Manual 6th Edition. All essays are due on April 15, one week following the
last day of class, but earlier submission is strongly encouraged.
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Class Participation is marked on the basis of participation in discussion.
“There are no bad questions, except the ones not asked”
Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to
conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the
following averages:
70% 1000-level and 2000-level courses
72% 2100-2990 level courses
75% 3000-level courses
80% 4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as
follows (see http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/handbook/general/grades_undergrad.pdf):
A+
A
B
C
D
F
90-100
80-89
70-79
60-69
50-59
below 50
One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
Superior work that is clearly above average
Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
Competent work, meeting requirements
Fair work, minimally acceptable
Fail
6.0 TEST AND EXAMINATION SCHEDULE
There are no tests or examinations in this course. Evaluation is based on the components
described in Section 5.0, above.
7.0 CLASS SCHEDULE
Course materials consist of the text book listed in Section 3.0. above, and assigned research articles and
review papers. Topics for each week are:
January
February
March
April
6
13
20
27
3
10
17
24
3
10
17
24
31
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Introduction and Organization
Learning, Cognition and Animal Thinking
No Class – Winter Animal Behaviour Conference
Navigation
Timing
Numerosity
Episodic-like Memory
- Reading Week, No Class Metacognition
Communication
Future Planning
Tool Use
Social Learning
Theory of Mind and Animal Consciousness
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8.0 STATEMENT ON ACADEMIC OFFENCES
Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the
definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following web site:
http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/appealsundergrad.pdf
All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism
detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted for such
checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism
of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement,
currently between Western and Turnitin.com (http://www.turnitin.com).
Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams may be subject to submission for similarity review by
software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating.
9.0 OTHER INFORMATION
Office of the Registrar web site: http://registrar.uwo.ca
Student Development Services web site: http://www.sdc.uwo.ca
Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:
http://psychology.uwo.ca/undergradresponsibilities.htm
- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2013 Calendar References
No electronic devices, including cell phones, will be allowed during exams.
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