The University of Arizona is rapidly ramping up Coronavirus mitigation efforts to keep our community as safe as possible. Accordingly, we are moving from in-person instruction to online instruction wherever possible. All Humanities Seminars Program courses offered through August 2020 will be held ONLINE ONLY. For complete and up to date information on the UArizona response to COVID-19, please click the University Info Page button.

Course Registration

Evolution of Cognition

Fall 2019
In Session
1 PM - 3 PM
September 24, October 1, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12, December 3, 10, and 17, 2019


Main Campus



This course is now sold out. Click here to join the course wait list.
If space opens up we will contact those on the wait list on a first come, first served basis.

Why are humans such a unique species on earth—or are we? We often think our intelligence (or more scientifically “cognition”) is special. But what does “intelligence” really mean? Why are we so good at solving some problems and yet fail at others? And how can our own brain size matter when insects can use tools, navigate huge areas, maybe even use “language” although their brains are no bigger than a pinhead? Behavioral ecology can explain a lot about why animals act the way they do, and we will examine how this applies to our own lives, particularly with regard to cognitive skills. We will also discuss the pitfalls in trying to understand our own minds, and in understanding other minds, and we’ll review what is known and what is not understood about animal intelligence.

Registration Opens Online: Monday, August 12, 2019 at 8AM (AZ Time)

Watch the video to learn more about this course: 

Required Reading: 

No textbook is required. All readings and class materials will be distributed to students electronically. 

Meet Your Professor

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

ANNA DORNHAUS has been Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology since 2005, with a PhD from the University of Würzburg. Her research centers on complex collective behaviors in social insects, ants and bees—how they communicate or make decisions as a group. She also teaches and does science outreach in elementary schools in Tucson.

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