Evolutionary Cognition, 6 credits

Evolutionär kognition, 6 hp


Main field of study

Cognitive Science

Course level

Second cycle

Course type

Single subject and programme course


Fredrik Stjernberg

Course coordinator

Fredrik Stjernberg

Director of studies or equivalent

Martin Berzell
ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Timetable module Language Campus ECV
F7MKT Master Programme in Cognitive Science 3 (Autumn 2023) 202335-202343 2 Swedish Linköping, Valla E

Main field of study

Cognitive Science

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Master Programme in Cognitive Science

Entry requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Cognitive Science equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen
  • 6 ECTS credits passed in Programming
  • 30 ECTS credits passed in Psychology with at least 6 ECTS credits in Cognitive Psychology or Cognitive Neuroscience and at least 6 ECTS credits in Research methods


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or in Cognitive Psychology equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen
  • 6 ECTS credits passed in Research methods
  • 30 ECTS credits passed in Computer Science with at least 6 ECTS credits in Programming


  • English and Swedish corresponding to the level of English and Swedish in Swedish upper secondary education (Engelska 6 and Svenska 3)

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • give an account of the most important concepts and the perspectives that are used in the study of cognition from an evolutionary perspective
  • portray central research results in the area,
  • explain how these theories are linked to basic conceptions of the human cognition as at least partly a product of evolutionary factors
  • account for how such a perspective may have relevance for other disciplines within the cognitive science field, such as philosophy, linguistics, psychology and neuroscience.
  • critically discuss how alleged natural phenomena concerning race and gender may have been based on evolutionary explanations.

Course content

The course covers cognition from an evolutionary perspective where we assume that the natural cognitive systems (for example human cognition) we see around us today are the result of an evolutionary development. A follow-up question will be what consequences this has for our understanding of cognition.

The course includes a review of the theory of evolution and what relevance an evolutionary perspective may have for the understanding of human cognition. The content includes the cognition of other species as well as questions about the animals' cognitive abilities (and inability). Furthermore, a comparative perspective is taken on human cognition, which means that, for example, anthropological and archaeological results will be covered. The question of whether the evolutionary perspective has any direct relevance to different philosophical theories of consciousness will also be addressed.

Teaching and working methods

The teaching takes the form of lectures and compulsory seminars. Part of the teaching may take place as distance education. The student is also expected to study independently.


The course is examined by:

  • active participation in seminars, grading scale: UG
  • written individual assignments, grading scale: UG
  • written individual exam, grading scale: UV

For Pass final grade, Pass is required in all parts. For Pass with Credit, Pass with Credit is also required for the written individual examination.

Detailed information can be found in the study guide.

If special circumstances prevail, and if it is possible with consideration of the nature of the compulsory component, the examiner may decide to replace the compulsory component with another equivalent component.

If the LiU coordinator for students with disabilities has granted a student the right to an adapted examination for a written examination in an examination hall, the student has the right to it.

If the coordinator has recommended for the student an adapted examination or alternative form of examination, the examiner may grant this if the examiner assesses that it is possible, based on consideration of the course objectives.

An examiner may also decide that an adapted examination or alternative form of examination if the examiner assessed that special circumstances prevail, and the examiner assesses that it is possible while maintaining the objectives of the course.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.


Three-grade scale, U, G, VG

Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus. 

The course is conducted in such a way that there are equal opportunities with regard to sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation and age.

If special circumstances prevail, the vice-chancellor may in a special decision specify the preconditions for temporary deviations from this course syllabus, and delegate the right to take such decisions.


Institutionen för kultur och samhälle
Code Name Scope Grading scale
OBL1 Mandatory seminars 1 credits U, G
UPG1 Individual written assignment 1 credits U, G
HEM1 Individual written exam 4 credits U, G, VG



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