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Welcome to the OERu micro-course, Evolution, Learning & Perception. This is the second of three micro-courses that jointly constitute the OERu Introduction to Psychology I course. In this micro-course you will learn about the influence of genetics and evolution on our behavior, review the basics of learning and behaviorism, and explore a general framework for sensation and perception in the context of vision.

This micro-course is intended for students who are interested in gaining foundational knowledge about basic psychological processes, including those who wish to pursue a Baccalaureate degree in Psychology. It can also be useful to anyone interested in the Social Sciences and can contribute to a Bachelor of General Studies.

What will I learn

By the end of this micro-course you will be able to:

  • Summarize the basic components of genetics, including chromosomes and genes
  • explain the nature vs. nurture debate
  • explain epigenetics
  • distinguish the concept of genotype from phenotype
  • define behavioral genetics and recognize novel examples
  • compare and contrast behavioral genetics and molecular genetics
  • explain how experience influences with neural development
  • Summarize the field of evolutionary psychology and describe the major criticisms.
  • Compare and contrast physiological and psychological adaptations, survival and reproductive adaptations
  • Describe some of the theories from evolutionary psychology, including sexual selection theory and sexual strategies theory
  • Identify the core premises of error management theory and provide empirical examples of adaptive cognitive biases that the theory explains.
  • Explain what ‘learning’ means to psychologists
  • Identify & explain how learned behaviours are different from instincts & reflexes
  • Define classical conditioning, operant conditioning & observational learning
  • Summarize how classical conditioning occurs
  • Analyze examples of classical conditioning to identify the conditioned & unconditioned stimuli & responses
  • Distinguish the processes of acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization & discrimination
  • Explain the difference between reinforcement and punishment
  • Distinguish between reinforcement schedules
  • Define observational learning
  • Discuss the modeling process
  • define sensation & perception and explain how they relate to the concepts of top-down & bottom-up processing
  • define psychophysics and recognize new examples
  • compare & contrast absolute thresholds and difference thresholds
  • describe the elements of the perceptual process framework

What’s involved

  • Completing readings
  • Watch videos
  • Completing elearning activities
  • Writing an exam (for learners taking the course for academic credit)

What prequisites should I have, if any?

Anyone is free to participate in this course; however, it is designed for those who meet Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s English Language Proficiency Requirement. In addition, an internet connection and basic web browsing skills are recommended with the ability to create a blog and microblog account (instructions and self-study tutorials provided.)

What micro-courses are required for course credit?

At some point in the future, OERu-affiliated institutions may choose to offer this OERu micro-course for credit towards an undergraduate credential. Learners may also request prior-learning assessment from their institution based on completing this OERu micro-course. Learners will likely be required to complete three micro-courses to gain credit for Introduction to Psychology 1:

  1. Foundations of Psychological Science
  2. Evolution, Learning, & Sensation and Perception
  3. Consciousness, Thinking & Memory