Psychological Anthropology - 2016

This unit contains mature content including Adult Themes, Nudity, Sex / Sexual References and Violence and may not be suitable for some students.
Any student under the age of 16 who would like to enrol in this unit must first complete a Parental Consent Form.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP3
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Non-Invigilated Mid Term Exam - Multiple choice (35%) , Online Discussion - Forum participation (15%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

The unit introduces psychological anthropology, including emotional, cognitive, developmental, and perceptual dynamics across cultures. Psychological anthropology studies the relation between individual psychology and sociocultural diversity, for example, between psychopathology and social structure, between personality differences and childrearing practices, or between perceptual experience and a society's ideologies about the senses. A wide range of perspectives will be explored, from evolutionary psychology to neuroanthropology, and address such topics as consciousness including spirit possession, and cultural variation in insanity and impairment.

 During this unit students will:

  1. discover and appreciate the variety of humanity, including the peculiarity of familiar Western personality traits, ways we understand ourselves, and common social roles
  2. interrogate the concept of ‘human nature’ to better understand the relationship between the universal traits of our species and the degree of variability found in these traits, including the evolutionary implications
  3. explore the role of social setting and norms in shaping human development through comparative research
  4. actively participate in discussion and debate about a range of topics in psychological anthropology, some of which have everyday applications (such as gender roles, emotional variation, sex and gender across cultures, and child rearing)
  5. gain a greater understanding of diverse techniques for investigating individual experience, including especially anthropological techniques such as ethnography, field-based techniques, and comparative approaches
  6. investigate in greater depth one area of special interest to the student in the study of human diversity through a research paper
  7. improve writing and critical reading skills through online participation forums.
  • Non-Invigilated Mid Term Exam — Multiple choice (35%)
  • Online Discussion — Forum participation (15%)
  • Quiz — Online quiz (10%)
  • Research Paper (40%)

Students must have completed some units at level 1 before enrolling in this unit.

  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Evolutionary legacy of the human brain
2Emotions and feelings
3Sexual variety and reproduction
4Sensory variety, including senses you don't have
5Do mirror neurons explain culture?
6What makes memories?
7Childhood across cultures
8Does every society have a 'self'?
9Cognitive Dissonance: explaining contradictory behaviors
10Modes of religiosity and piousness
11Pathology and society: dissociation, schizophrenia, Tourette
12Exporting anorexia: globalising psychiatry
13Introduction/Conclusion to the topic

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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