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The University of Southampton

PSYC3045 Perspectives in Human Animal Interactions

Module Overview

The module will draw on the student’s prior learning with regard to various psychological areas; including but not restricted to, learning , attitude, attachment, Clinical and behaviour change. An introduction to animal behaviour and welfare will be provided using example from various groups of species. Through consideration of current topical issues of human-animal interactions, the complexities of understanding and negotiating between the desires and needs of the humans and non-humans are investigated, and the potential for unintended direct and indirect consequences explored. The field of human-animal interactions and the role of psychology within it is growing rapidly. It has importance at local, global, political and personal levels in a range of areas of One Welfare concern including; wildlife conservation, wildlife (pest) control, stray animals, animals kept in laboratories, farms, or as pets, 'dangerous' dogs and animals used for human therapy or entertainment. This module is intended to encourage students to synthesise knowledge from their degree and critically apply it to areas of human-animal interactions.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To introduce students to the diverse applications of Psychology in this multidisciplinary topic of human-animal interactions

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the contribution of psychology to the field of animal behaviour and the relationships humans have with animals
  • Critically apply relevant and appropriate information
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply an understanding of animal and human behaviour to the management of animals
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of an aspect of the human-animal relationship
  • Assess emotive issues objectively
  • Communicate effectively in writing
  • Develop the ability to provide a rational argument logically, coherently and concisely
  • Develop independent learning through directed and self-directed study, and resource accessing skills


The module will consider historical, functional, cultural and individual perspectives of human animal interactions. Example areas of discussion include the economics and values of animal roles at individual and societal level and how these relate to human and animal welfare, legislation, now and the future will be addressed. An introduction to animal behaviour, welfare assessment and how these relate to human management of animals will be provided.

Special Features

This module is not based on specific textbooks or a single area of psychology. Rather, it involves a degree of self-directed learning and thus exploration of the literature, though some suggested initial reading is provided for each topic. This is supported also by online discussion threads and access to the tutor in office hours or by arrangement. Lectures, challenging in class-discussions and assignments will stimulate self-discovery, critical thinking and provide the opportunity to apply psychological knowledge to a range of real world situations that are multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary in nature. Such areas of application may involve consideration of non-controversial and controversial, and often emotive, implications of human behaviour on animal welfare and vice versa.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is by lecture and in class discussion. Hand-outs are provided prior to lectures, questions and discussion are encouraged during lectures. Blackboard based discussion forums are set up for both the lectures and for each assignment. Further information and sources of information are also provided on blackboard, which may or may not be directly related to assignments. Additional seminars are provided regarding the assignments Also, a poster exhibition session will provide a further formative learning opportunity

Independent Study122
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Hosey, G and Melfi, V (2019). Anthrozoology - human-animal interactions in domesticated and wild animals. 

Eadie, E.N. (2012). Understanding Animal Welfare: an integrated approach Animal Welfare. 

Herzog, H. (2010). Some we love, some we hate, some we eat: Why it’s so hard to think straightabout animals. 

Broom, D. and Fraser, A F. (2015). Domestic Animal Behaviour and Welfare. 

Podberscek, A.L. Paul, E.S and Serpell, J.A. (2000). Companion animals and us: exploring therelationships between people and pets. 

Serpell, J (2016). The Domestic Dog. 

Garcia-Pinillos, R (2018). One Welfare - a framework to improve animal welfare and human-wellbeing. 

Carr, N and Broom, D (2018). Tourism and Animal Welfare. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessment comprises 2 pieces of coursework: an individual 2000 word essay and a group poster which will be presented at the module Poster exhibition session. Assignments are structured so that students have the opportunity to explore an area of particular interest to them.


MethodPercentage contribution
Academic poster  () 39%
Critical essay  (2000 words) 60%
Research Participation 1%


MethodPercentage contribution
Critical essay  (2000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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