Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas




Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas





Weekly hours


Teaching language



The study of animal behaviour is presented as a modern, complete and unified science, which incorporates contributions from several adjacent research areas (Ethology, Comparative Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Neurophysiology and Evolutionary Biology). The introduction to the study of animal behaviour is made in an evolutionary perspective, highlighting its growing importance in the investigation of biological anthropology. Examples of application to human behaviour will be presented whenever possible .



Subject matter

Introduction to the study of animal behaviour.
Four levels of approach to the study of behaviour: causes, development, evolution and function of the behaviour. The nervous system and behaviour. Reflexes.
Fixed action patterns, signa stimulus, Imprinting, Attachment
Motivation and decision processes.
Methodological aspects of the study of behaviour; Planning a research work on behaviour; The ethogram.
Social behaviour: social organization, territoriality, aggression; cooperation and altruism, sexual behaviour, communication.
Cognition, learning and adaptation; The Social Game; Learning in the human species.


Alcock, J., 2005. Animal Behavior. An Evolutionary Approach. 8th Ed. Sunderland, Mass, Sinauer Ass.
Buss, D. M., 2004. Evolutionary Psychology. The new science of the mind. 2nd Ed. Boston, Allyn and Bacon.
Cartwright, J., 2000. Evolution and Human Behavior. Cambridge, The MIT Press.
Cronk, L., Chagnon, N. & Irons, W., 2000. Adaptation and Human Behavior: an anthropological perspective. New York, Aldine de Gruyter.
Dawkins, M. S. 2000. Compreender o comportamento Animal. 2ª Ed. Lisboa, Fim de Século.
Hinde, R. A., 1974. Biological bases of human social behaviour. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Manning, A., 1979. An introduction to animal behaviour. 3rd edition. London, Edward Arnold.
Martin, P. & Bateson, P., 1994. Measuring Behaviour: an introductory guide. 2nd Ed. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Slater, P. J. B., 1999. Essentials of Animal Behaviour. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Teaching method

The course will include phases:
a) lectures that, nevertheless, allow discussion of a few topics with the students.
b) some classes will work as seminar (discussion of themes based on scientific articles).

Evaluation method

The evaluation will be based on a final exam ans some written exercises. The evaluation will be carried out according to the following criteria:
1) written exercises;
2) Participation in discussions during classes;
3) Final exam.