Psychological Anthropology

Qualification: Undergraduate unit
Study mode: Online
Payment options: HECS-HELP may be available
FEE-HELP may be available
Duration: 13 weeks
Start date: Enquire now for upcoming start dates
Awarded by: Macquarie University
Course Unit A course unit is a single subject offered as part of a program of study, but can be completed individually. You may receive Recognition of Prior Learning for studying this unit.

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About this unit

This online unit from Macquarie University and Open Universities Australia provides you with a broad introduction to psychological anthropology, the study of the relationship between individual psychology, and socio-cultural diversity. As such, the unit explores emotive, developmental, cognitive and perceptual dynamics across cultures, focusing elements of psychological anthropology including psychopathology and social structure, personality development and childrearing, and between perceptual experience and society’s ideologies of the senses.

Different perspectives are examined in this unit, from evolutionary psychology to neuroanthropology, and subjects such as cultural variations in the spectrum of insanity and spirit possession will be explored. Through ethnography, field-based research and comparative techniques, the unit will help you gain an understanding of the sheer variety of humanity, personality, how we understand the self, and traditional social roles, interrogating ideas held about ‘human nature’ and understanding how social roles vary and develop in the first place.


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

Areas of study

In this Psychological Anthropology unit, the topics you will study include:

  • Evolutionary legacy of the human brain
  • Emotions and feelings
  • Sexual variety and reproduction
  • Sensory variety, including senses you don't have
  • Do mirror neurons explain culture?
  • What makes memories?
  • Childhood across cultures
  • Does every society have a 'self'?
  • Cognitive dissonance: explaining contradictory behaviours
  • Modes of religiosity and piousness
  • Pathology and society: dissociation, schizophrenia, Tourettes
  • Exporting anorexia: globalising psychiatry
  • Introduction/conclusion to the topic

Course pathways

This unit is an approved elective in the following course:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Macquarie University

Content may also be relevant to other courses, and could qualify you for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for a course offered by another institution.

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Want more information about this unit? Fill out the enquiry form to the right and a study consultant will contact you with the details you need.

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How will this unit advance my career?

On completion of this unit, you will have gained a broad understanding of a variety of topics related to psychological anthropology, including the evolution of the human brain and its legacy, where emotions and feelings arise, variations in the concept of childhood across different cultures, how sexual variety and reproduction varies and different modes of religiosity.

You will have gained an understanding of how both conception and perception of mental health, including dissociation, schizophrenia and Tourette's, vary between cultures and societies, and examined the existence of the 'self', and how different societies have differing conceptions of it, or indeed, none at all. You will have gained knowledge of contemporary topics, such as the globalisation of psychiatry, for example, through examining the spread of anorexia nervosa and the different social and cultural factors that affect it.

How else will I benefit from this unit?

  • Upon successful completion of this unit you will receive credit for competencies in Psychological Anthropology from Macquarie University.
  • Studying online means you can study where you want, at your own pace.
  • Gain industry-relevant skills and transferrable knowledge.
  • Government financial support through HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP may be available.
  • Studying single units allows you the flexibility to work towards a qualification at your own pace.
  • Receive Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for this unit across a number of OUA’s full degree programs.

Get more information

Want more information about the career benefits of this unit? Fill out the enquiry form to the right and a study consultant will contact you with the details you need.

Financial assistance

If you are an Australian citizen, you may be eligible to receive a government HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loan, meaning you can defer payment of your fees.

Get more information

Want more information about financial and student support? Fill out the enquiry form to the right and a study consultant will contact you with the details you need.

You may be eligible to receive HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP for this course!

This course can be paid for through the HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP government loan schemes. If you are an Australian citizen or hold a permanent humanitarian visa, this means you don’t need to pay upfront.

Instead, the Australian government will pay your course fees on your behalf. You’ll begin repaying your loan through the tax system once you start earning more than the minimum threshold of $54,869 (2016-17 income year).

Find out more about government study loans here.
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Get more information

Want more information about the career benefits of this course?
Fill out the enquiry form to the right and a study consultant will contact you with the details you need.

FREE CALL 1800 063 523

Monday to Friday: 8am - late
Saturday and Sunday: 9am - 5pm

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