Life Sciences

Conflict & Cooperation in Social Groups

Module code: C1114
Level 6
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Seminar, Lecture
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

Conflict and cooperation cuts across the whole of biology and can be studied among genes or among organisms, in societies of micro-organisms, animals and humans, and also in multi-species mutualisms. It is relevant both in the origin of life and in modern-day organisms and societies. The module focuses on factors affecting the balance between conflict and cooperation in human society, vertebrate societies including primates and cooperative breeders, mutualism partners, and genes within organisms. There are eight lectures followed by six two-hour seminars covering research papers in a single area. In the first of these seminars the research papers are presented by the faculty, and in the others by you and your coursemates.

Module learning outcomes

  • Recall, explain and synthesize acquired knowledge about empirical evidence, scientific procedures, theoretical concepts and principles.
  • Write a summary/synthesis of a scientific paper or pair of papers that would be of interest to scientists, including both specialists and non-specialists, and which follows the format of a News & Views article in Nature magazine, or equivalent.
  • Give a seminar presentation, including slides, in order to present a particular scientific paper.
  • Read the primary scientific literature and participate in seminar discussions that critically discuss and compare scientific papers in relation to broader questions in evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology and socio-biology.