Module descriptions for Psychology

  • As courses are reviewed regularly the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.

  • U24101 Foundations of Cognitive Psychology

    This module provides an introduction to some key areas in cognitive psychology. Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology which focuses on how people process information. Topics covered include research methods, learning, thinking & problem solving, memory, perception, language and consciousness.

    U24102 Foundations of Social Psychology

    Throughout its relatively short history psychology has often placed its emphasis on the individual human subject. There is of course much more to being human than this. Social psychology, since its formulation, has emphasised the role of context, environment and culture. In this way the module examines a host of different areas where the individual, groups, crowds and societal groups engage. Through focusing on these areas of engagement the module also aims to provide students with a brief introduction to some of the major areas within social psychology  e.g. crowds, social influence, non-verbal communication, intra-group processes and the 'self'.

    U24104 Foundations of Developmental Psychology

    This module provides an introduction to some key areas in developmental psychology with an emphasis on social and cognitive development from infancy to the end of childhood. The module contains three slightly different areas of focus. The first is on infancy and cognitive development. The second is on children's ability to reason. The final area of focus is on early social development, namely children's attachments to caregivers, the theorised impact early relationships have on subsequent parenting, early temperament, what the child brings to interactions with others and the role of family members in social development.

    U24105 Foundations of Biological Psychology

    This module will introduce the student to the fundamental concepts and findings of Biological Psychology. It draws on a variety of ideas from Neurophysiology, Psychopharmacology, Neuroanatomy and Perception in relation to human behaviour. Given the wide variety of topics in biological psychology, the major objective for this module is to introduce students to the concepts and key issues within the discipline. The module will introduce the basics of cell anatomy and neural transmission and explain the role of various neurotransmitters in the body. In addition the module will explore how disorders such as Parkinson's disease and drug addiction can be explained at the level of neural activity. One final objective is to enhance the students' ability to think critically and scientifically about the biological correlates of human behaviour.

    U24111 Introduction to Psychological Research

    The module aims to show how research is conducted in Psychology. This is done through a series of formal lectures and seminars. The module shows how psychological variables can be measured and how the results of measurement can be used through appropriate design of a study to test hypotheses and ultimately, to inform us about human thought and behaviour. The emphasis is mainly on quantitative research methods and analysis but qualitative approaches are also covered. Lectures will cover some of the issues associated with researching in psychology and will cover the principles of statistical analysis. However this is not a mathematically focused course, the aim is to demonstrate the conceptual framework on which inferential statistics rest, with less emphasis given to the actual mathematical foundations. The module has a strong practical emphasis; students will be conducting and taking part in simple psychological studies and surveys which are done inside and outside of the class, in which data will be collected and analysed and written up in the form of Psychology reports. As such writing skills also play a major part of this module.

    U24107 Learning from Influential Papers in Psychology

    In this module students will be introduced to influential psychological research and will participate in sessions that address skills essential for critically evaluating material; describing and demonstrating an understanding of psychological data; planning, organising, and writing reports and essays; referencing according to American Psychological Association guidelines; using library resources and search engines effectively. Examples of the kinds of papers studied are Rosch, E., & Mervis, C. B. (1975). Family resemblances: Studies in the internal structure of categories. Cognitive Psychology; Meltzoff, A.N. & Moore, M.K. (1977). Imitation of facial and manual gestures by human neonates. Science; Tajfel, H. (1970). Experiments in intergroup discrimination. Scientific American; & Lichtenstein, S., Slovic, P., Fischhoff, B., Layman, M., & Combs, B. (1978). Judged frequency of lethal events. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory. These classic papers will be discussed and their continuing influence on contemporary work demonstrated.

    U24109 Psychology and Contemporary Issues

    The module aims to introduce students to the contribution psychology can make to our understanding of and approach to contemporary issues. These will vary year on year but will be limited in number to ensure student have time to both engage with the topics and also develop skills in practical and workshop sessions. The topics covered will depend on what is current in the media and also staff interests and expertise but can be expected to include some issues of worldwide concern (such as health related matters where cultural issues are significant). The topics selected will allow the students to address the consequences of media-promoted lay theories of behaviour. It will bring together recent reporting of topics in the media and the psychological research and theory that relates to them. It also aims to encourage students to take a critical and evidence-based approach to ideas that have general currency but may not be well understood by non-psychologists.


    U24120 Questionnaire Design for Psychology

    The module provides an introduction to an important method of quantitative data collection in psychology: the questionnaire-based investigation. The module contributes to the overall learning outcomes of the programme in encouraging and enabling students to: develop the ability to evaluate psychological accounts of human behaviour and attitudes; use empirical evidence to test the predictions of psychological theories; acquire a range of questionnaire based research skills for investigating behaviour, beliefs and attitudes; build the capacity to conduct research independently, as an individual and as part of a team; acquire the skills, competencies, flexible knowledge-base, and study habits required for life-long learning.

    U24125 Personality and Individual Differences

    This module examines the range of psychological theory and research on individual differences in personality and intelligence. The module assesses the approaches of psychoanalytic theorists, trait theorists, and behaviourists, as well as the phenomenological and social-cognitive approaches to the study of personality. Students will gain a good understanding of how the methods and findings of correlational and experimental research contribute to the study of personality and intelligence.

    U24127 Cognitive Psychology

    This module will consider research and theories regarding cognitive processes on a range of topics. Key topics include: perception; attention; emotion; long-term memory and knowledge; everyday memory; working memory; problem solving; speech production and language disorders; speech comprehension and reading; executive processing; decision making; reasoning; motor cognition. The emphasis of the module is on our developing understanding of how humans face a wide range of real world challenges.

    U24130 Biological Psychology

    This module will build on the topics encountered in Introduction to Biological Psychology and focuses on the study of the biological basis of human behaviour, relating actions and experiences to genetics and physiology. It will cover topic areas including sleep, emotion, language, memory, and schizophrenia. The module will also discuss biological research methods such as brain imaging techniques (for example PET, fMRI, EEG), physiological recording, and the study of brain-damaged patients. The aim of the module is to enable students to reach a sufficient level of understanding of biological psychology to be capable of critically evaluating theory and method in published research. The module explores in detail how psychological processes can be examined at the level of biological processes of the nervous system and provides an historical perspective on the advances in brain science.

    U24132 Social Psychology

    This module will offer students the opportunity to study the major areas of social psychology at an advanced level. There will be 8 lecture topics offered including; Researching Social Psychology, Attitudes and Attitude Change, Prejudice, Group Dynamics, Attraction, Social Influence, Helping Behaviour, and Non-verbal Communication. There will also be seminar workshops that focus on a particular area of social psychological research. Students submit coursework and are also examined at the end of the module.

    U24133 Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Psychology

    The module examines the relevance of cross-cultural material to key topics in psychology including emotion; socialization; the self; the development of cognitive skills; the relationship between language and thought and intercultural communication. Material will be drawn primarily from the empirical work of psychologists, but also from research conducted by social and cognitive anthropologists. A continuing theme in the module will be an examination of the interplay between psychological processes and society, with special emphasis on the dimensions of individualism-collectivism and independence-interdependence.

    U24135 Developmental Psychology

    This module focuses on the evaluation of methods, findings and theories in the study of the development of the child. The basic theme of the module is the development of competence. The first part of the module focuses on cognitive development and the second part on social development. The following topics will be covered in the lectures: methods, history and developmental theory, perception and cognition in infancy, memory, learning and cognition, written language and communication, emotional and social development.

    U24137 Advanced Statistics and Experimental Method for Psychology

    This module builds on the basic level module 'Introduction to Research Methods & Statistics for Psychology' (U24103) & will consolidate and extend knowledge of research methods and statistics. Lectures will cover general statistical concepts such as variance, effect size, p values, assumptions of parametric tests and which test to choose. In addition, student knowledge of different statistical tests will be broadened by the introduction of Analysis of Variance, the use of post hoc tests, correlation and linear regression. Practical classes will give a hands-on experience of experimental design and statistical analysis.

    U24168 Independent Study

    Individual or group work on an appropriate topic or set of topics conducted under supervision and with the prior approval of the Psychology Field Committee.

    U24170 Abnormal Psychology (Honours)

    The module examines approaches to the psychological understanding of psychiatric disorders. Lecture topics will include how we define and classify abnormal behaviour, research and ethical issues in abnormal psychology as well as examining a selection of disorders (e.g. selected anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, insomnia, pervasive developmental disorders and eating disorders) within the context of current psychological research and theories to give knowledge of which clusters of symptoms suggest particular disorders, theories of the processes (e.g. biological, psychological) that may cause and maintain these disorders and the various approaches to treating and managing these disorders.

    U24171 Qualitative Methods in Psychology (Honours)

    The module provides an introduction to and experience of qualitative methods in Psychology, covering data collection, data analysis and interpretation. The module contributes to the overall learning outcomes of the programme in encouraging and enabling students: to develop an understanding of the role of empirical evidence in the creation of theory and also in how theory guides the collection and interpretation of empirical data; to appreciate and critically evaluate theory and research findings; to acquire knowledge of a range of research skills and qualitative methods for investigating experience and behaviour; to develop an ability to conduct research independently; to enable students to acquire skills, competencies, flexible knowledge-base, and study habits required for life-long learning.

    U24172 Understanding Developmental Disorders (Honours)

    This module aims to review developmental psychology theories and evidence relating to developmental disorders. Topics are tackled by examining research papers and theories taking critical comparative approach. The course will focus on developmental disorders that are defined behaviourally, such as Dyslexia, Specific Language Impairment, Developmental Coordination Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students will learn about the nature of the difficulties experienced in these disorders and drawing on current research, the theoretical frameworks for explaining the underlying cause of difficulties. Students will also learn how these orders are diagnosed and assessed and have the opportunity to look at some appropriate interventions. Consideration will also be given to the co-occurrence with other disorders and the impact of cultural differences and second language learning.

    U24180 Explanatory Concepts in Psychology (Honours)

    The module examines some of the main philosophical, scientific and social scientific ideas that led to modern psychology being the discipline that it is today. This includes a consideration of conceptual and methodological positions underlying different paradigms and research programmes. The syllabus is structured to give an overview of the main philosophical, scientific and social scientific ideas that led to modern psychology, and a summary of conceptual and methodological positions underlying different paradigms and research programmes. This is achieved by focusing on two broad sets of issues: 1) 'big ideas' that have shaped psychology & 2) 'big questions' that have persisted within the field.

    U24181 Topics in Cognition (Honours)

    This module offers students the opportunity to study in depth two topics in cognitive psychology that interest them. Topics are chosen from a range offered by that year's tutors. Some typical topics include cognition and emotion, visual attention, change blindness, cognitive biases in depression and anxiety, prospective memory, eye-witness testimony, and false memories. Topics will be assessed by coursework, each topic being separately assessed and contributing 50% to the module mark.

    U24182 Topics in Developmental Psychology (Honours)

    This module will offer students the opportunity to study an area of developmental psychology in depth. There will be 3-4 topics offered, all of which build on the syllabus covered by the advanced module U24135 (Developmental Psychology) and will be closely related to areas of staff expertise. Topics will be introduced through lectures and workshops, giving opportunities for learning in a small group to examine research papers and develop skills of critical evaluation. Later in the module students are expected to learn independently of teaching staff.

    U24183 Topics in Social Psychology (Honours)

    This module will offer students the opportunity to study an area of social psychology in depth. There will be 2-3 topics offered, all of which build on the syllabus covered by the advanced module U24132 (Social Psychology) and will be closely related to areas of staff expertise. Topics will be introduced through lectures and workshops, giving opportunities for learning in a small group to examine research papers and develop skills of critical evaluation. Later in the module students are expected to learn independently of teaching staff.

    U24188 Independent Study (Honours)

    A study topic of the student's choosing that is relevant to the student's programme but not formally offered as part of the taught course. The topic will normally extend the learning achieved during Stage 2, and for a full time student the module will typically be undertaken during the final year of study. A learning contract is agreed between the student and a supervising member of staff in the semester prior to the one in which the study is to be undertaken. This contract must be approved by the Subject Examination Committee. Only once the learning contract has been formally approved will the module be registered on the student's programme of study.

    U24199 Project (Double Psychology) (Honours)

    Students complete an empirical investigation of a topic approved by their supervisor. While the final project report is an individual report, a mixture of small student group and individual supervision will provide feedback on the development of the design and execution of the research project and provide support in the interpretation of data.

    U14683 Neuroscience (Double Honours)

    The core of the module will comprise lectures on a range of topics which are currently major research fields in neuroscience. At the beginning of the module there will be a review of neuronal structure and function, human neuroanatomy, and the development of the vertebrate nervous system. Core lectures will then focus on the evolution of brains, and how neural systems give rise to perception, memory and ultimately consciousness. Disease processes or trauma to the nervous system will be considered where these illuminate normal neural function. The module will allow students to develop and study in depth their own particular interests in specific areas of neuroscience research, and this will be assessed by a written project and a presentation.

    U26171 Sociology of Health and Illness (Honours)

    This module introduces students to key contemporary debates within sociology of health and illness. It provides students with the opportunity to explore the parameters of the sociology of health and illness through a focus on theoretical perspectives and empirical material. It also equips students with an understanding of the ethical debates which underpin decision making in relation to health and illness. The module focuses on medical 'knowledge' and lay perspectives, concepts of lifestyles and risk, the centrality of the body to contemporary debates and the medicalisation of everyday life, death and dying. The material and gendered circumstances in which different lives are lived and intersected by social class, culture, 'race' and age will provide an important backdrop to the module.

    U24190 Interdisciplinary Project (Honours) (Joint Honours only)

    Students normally complete an empirical investigation or literature review dissertation of a topic appropriate for study across two fields and where appropriate supervision is available. Students have two supervisors, one in each field, who share the supervision of the research project. Individual supervision provides feedback on the development of the design and execution of the work. Students wishing to do an interdisciplinary project should let the module leader know this when the semester 2 projects meeting takes place.

    U70081 Psycholinguistics (Honours) (Joint Honours only)

    The module aims to introduce students to central issues in psycholinguistics and to the ways in which researchers carry out psycholinguistic work. Psycholinguistics is the study of language and the mind. Specifically, the module deals with (i) the way infants acquire their first language, (ii) the way young and adult learners acquire a foreign language and the way they use this language, (iii) the language skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening and the role of memory, and (iv)conditions such as dyslexia and aphasia.