Michael D Beecher
Selected research topics of contemporary interest. Quarterly listings of specific offerings are available at departmental advising office.
How similar are animal minds to ours? Can we ever really know animal minds? Do animals have conscious experience and feelings like we do? How smart are animals? These kinds of questions have fascinated and bedeviled scientists back at least to Aristotle. Throughout the history of psychology and related fields, the questions have resurfaced repeatedly, and we are now in the midst of the latest revival of hopes that we may actually be able to find answers to them.
The course will encourage a critical, skeptical examination of research and theory in study of animal thinking. For background, a prior course in animal behavior (e.g., 200 or 300) is recommended but not required
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
About half of the classes will be lecture/discussion format (hopefully mostly discussion). The other half will be "seminar" format in which the student selects a topic that interests him or her, selects a reading for that topic (which will be posted on the class website) and leads a discussion of the topic in class.
For background, a prior course in animal behavior (e.g., 200, 300 or 409) is recommended but not required.
Class assignments and grading
A midterm, final and an optional paper. Exams will include material from the student-led seminars.
Equal weight will be given to (1) midterm, (2) final, and (3)class participation (including the student-led seminar).
There will be a paper option for those needing a 'W' course.