Psychology

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Psychology.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

LING228: Child Language Acquisition

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language or Psychology.

Course Description

This course examines explanations of how we acquire our first language. We bring psycholinguistics and theoretical linguistics together to describe and explain the processes a child goes through in learning their first language. We also look at some more advanced issues such as bilingualism, language impairments, and language development in deaf children. The course is an introduction to language acquisition studies, psycholinguistics and theories of mind and language – looking particularly at the wide spectrum of different explanations for language acquisition.

Educational Aims

Students will acquire or develop:

  • an understanding of the stages children go through in their phonological, lexical, morphological, and syntactic development;

  • an ability to apply and evaluate corpus-based and experimental methods that can be used to measure linguistic knowledge;

  • an ability to critically compare and evaluate different theories that have been developed to explain children’s first language acquisition;

  • an ability to apply their knowledge of specific language impairment, bilingualism and childhood aphasia to evaluate first language acquisition theories.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Social-cognitive prerequisites for language learning

  • Phonological and phonetic development

  • Word learning

  • Acquisition of grammar

  • Pragmatic development

  • Interactions between language and cognitive development

  • Language impairments

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

LING316: Psycholinguistics

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language or Psychology.

Educational Aims

  • To provide students with knowledge and understanding of research in the field of psycholinguistics, includingtopics selected from language acquisition, cognitive psychology of language, literacy, language modelling, and acquired and developmental disorders of language.

  • To develop students ability to reflect critically upon the nature of theories in psycholinguistics and in particular how experimental and observational data can inform these.

  • To introduce students to approaches to psycholinguistics from a variety of methodologies including computermodelling, case studies, psycholinguistic experimentation and naturalistic observation.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will include:

  • Word learning and categorization
  • Language and Theory of Mind
  • Studies of children with Specific Language Impairment and autism
  • The brain-language relationship (including acquired disorders of language)
  • Grammatical processing
  • Artificial language learning
  • Computer and connectionist models

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PSYC101: Understanding Psychology

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only
    • Lent / Summer Terms only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 10 semester credits
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 semester credits
    •  Lent / Summer Terms only - 6 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 20 ECTS credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 12 ECTS credits.
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the main approaches to Psychology, including the major perspectives of Social, Developmental, Cognitive and Neuro-Psychology, with an emphasis upon core psychological research and theory. Lecture classes are supplemented by seminars, covering both substantive material and academic skill development.

Educational Aims

By the end of the PSYC101 module, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of basic issues in cognitive, developmental, social, brain behaviour, historical conceptual issues and individual differences. Specifically:

Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Locate and evaluate Psychology journal articles

  • Research, format and write psychology essays

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

Developmental:

      • Evaluate the core theories of cognitive development

      • Describe prosocial development

      • Discuss issues relating to aggression

      • Examine children's understanding of mind

        Neuroscience:

      • Outline basic brain anatomy and neural processing

        • Describe the mechanisms of vision and hearing

        • Understand the brain areas involved in the control of movement

        • Discuss the role of sleep and dreaming

        • Evaluate the relation between neural function and learning and memory

          Cognitive:

      • Explain perceptual processes across the senses

      • Describe memory processes

      • Evaluate human decision making

      • Identify problem solving techniques

        Social:

      • Evaluate how thoughts, emotions and behaviours are shaped by actual or imagined presence of others

      • Discuss bystander and prosocial behaviour

      • Outline attribution theories

      • Compare theories concerning the nature of the "social self"

Outline Syllabus

The course provides an in-depth overview of the state of the art in psychological research as well as fundamental and core topics. It covers a range of psychological areas including developmental, neuroscience, cognitive, and social psychology, as well as applied topics. Upon completion of this course students will be familiar with a range of psychological theories and supporting evidence. Indicative lecture and seminar topics include: Developmental (cognitive development, theory of mind, attachment, prosocial development); Neuroscience (how the brain communicates, Alzheimer's disease, vision and hearing, sleep); Cognitive (sensory perception, memory, mental representation, decision making); and Social (attraction, prejudice, the social self).

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PSYC102: Investigating Psychology

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • US Credits: 10 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 20 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the main research methods and approaches to data analysis used in Psychology. There is considerable emphasis upon practical experience, so laboratory/workshops form a significant part of the course, in addition to lectures.

Educational Aims

Learning outcomes – general knowledge:

On successful completion of this module, students will show competencies in a number of skills (subject-practical and transferable):

  • Engaging in group work to conduct analyses and think critically about a given topic.

  • Identifying research methods that are appropriately matched to an area of study.

  • Demonstrating good communication skills in writing and presentations.

  • Using appropriate analytical techniques to evaluate data.

    Learning outcomes – specific knowledge:

    On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic research issues in Developmental, Neurological, Cognitive and Social Psychology.

  • Assess psychological studies within these areas and demonstrate skill in experimental design, data analysis, and data interpretation.

  • Discuss key research and theoretical issues surrounding some of these areas.

  • Evaluate psychological literature.

  • Prepare written research reports that are concise and accurate.

  • Justify and support written arguments with appropriate citations.

  • Write a CV specific to psychology related employment.

Outline Syllabus

The module focuses on developing students' skills necessary to carry out psychological enquiry and research. This is achieved through sessions on analysis, psychological approaches (i.e., research methods), and practical skills. The list below details indicative lecture topics associated with each of these three interdependent skills, which are delivered alongside each other throughout the year.

Syllabus Topic Areas

Analysing Psychological Data

  • Introduction to variables and levels of measurement

  • Descriptive statistics (central tendency, variability, z-scores)

  • Hypothesis testing (samples & populations)

  • Inferential statistics (e.g. t-tests, chi-square, correlation)

    Introduction to Psychological Experiments

  • Developmental (why children are different from adults, atypical development)

  • Neuropsychology (cerebral asymmetries, single case studies)

  • Cognitive (perception, memory)

  • Social (implicit and explicit measures, observation)

    Essential Skills for Psychologists

  • Becoming a psychologist (CV writing, interview skills, teamwork)

  • Accessing research (literature searches)

  • Reporting research (journal articles, oral presentations, essays)

  • Evaluating research (critical thinking, ethics)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

PSYC201: Cognitive Psychology

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; some introductory cognitive psychology (which may be as part of a general introductory course)

Course Description

Cognitive Psychology involves the study of mental processes; how we perceive, think, talk and behave.

This course will cover four key and contemporary topics in cognitive psychology: human memory; attention, language; and perception. Each of these will be taught by lecturers who have made internationally recognised contributions to these topics, and thus the module offers the opportunity to learn about the current issues and debates and approaches from innovators and experts in those fields. As each of these topics is substantive in itself, the course emphasizes a breadth of coverage. Nevertheless, the course will provide coverage of up-to-date theoretical debates and their evaluation in terms of conceptual coherence and empirical support.

Students will engage in the critical evaluation of theory and evidence, and will receive guidance regarding the use of primary research material, namely research papers.

Educational Aims

General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

The overarching academic aims are to enable students to: demonstrate knowledge of key concepts, evidence, and theory covered in the course (whether by lectures or selected reading materials); appreciate and explain how empirical enquiry contributes to the understanding of cognition; and, present and discuss research findings from cognitive psychology in an informed and grounded way. Thus, by the end of this module students should be able to engage with primary sources (ie journal articles) in a structured context and demonstrate an awareness of the importance of, and means to, effective communication.

Subject specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills:

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of cognitive psychology with respect to memory, attention, language and perception; show a critical appreciation of research methods, approaches and outcomes in cognitive psychology; write about a topic in cognitive psychology in an informed and reflective way.

Outline Syllabus

This module will cover four important topics within cognitive psychology: perception across the senses, attention, learning and awareness . The Moodle page will have a space where you can ask questions, find resources and obtain key information. The module syllabus looks like this:

  • The Eye
  • Object Perception
  • Motion Perception
  • Perception and Action
  • Sounds and Space
  • Touch and Pain
  • The Vestibular System
  • Multisensory Integration
  • Effects of Emotions and Anxiety on Perception
  • Selective Attention
  • Divided Attention
  • Visual Search
  • Learning in Visual Search
  • Contingency Learning
  • Learning and Attention
  • Critical Review
  • Models of Human Learning
  • Learning and Awareness 1
  • Learning and Awareness 2

Students will attend four seminars. These will focus on (a) the content and structure of the assessment materials, (b) topics from each course theme in which students will look at a critical review, thus developing their skills for the coursework assessment.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC202: Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics; an introduction to physiological/biological psychology (which may be as part of a general introductory course)

Course Description

The course will cover core areas of cognitive neuroscience generally including, but not restriced to: History/Introduction to neuroscience. Basic neuroanatomy. Anatomy and physiology of the neuron. Mechanisms of nerve impulse transmission and synaptic transmission. The somatic and autonomic nervous systems and their functions. Research methods in neuroscience. Cognitive neuroscience of audition and speech processing. Cognitive neuroscience of language, memory, and emotion.

Educational Aims

Subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills:

The module will introduce students to the fundamental neural principles underlying cognition and behaviour, with particular emphasis on perceptual, cognitive and emotional processes. More specifically, the objectives of this course are to revise the fundamentals of neural transmission both within the neuron and at synapses and to provide students with basic knowledge about the anatomy, physiology and functions of the central and peripheral nervous systems. This module is also designed to acquaint students with a range of theories and research methods in cognitive neuroscience and to demonstrate how knowledge of physiological processes can aid our understanding of a wide range of human behaviour. It also prepares students for the advanced third year module.

Outline Syllabus

The course will cover core areas of cognitive neuroscience generally including, but not restriced to:

  • History/Introduction to neuroscience.
  • Basic neuroanatomy.
  • Anatomy and physiology of the neuron.
  • Mechanisms of nerve impulse transmission and synaptic transmission.
  • The somatic and autonomic nervous systems and their functions.
  • Research methods in neuroscience.
  • Cognitive neuroscience of audition and speech processing.
  • Cognitive neuroscience of language, memory, and emotion.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC203: Social Psychology

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; an introduction to social psychology (which may be as part of a general introductory course)

Course Description

This course will introduce you, via lectures and seminars, to theory and research in the core areas of group and intergroup relations, social cognition and language, the self and interpersonal processes. The course aims to help you develop a range of academic skills (use of technical language, argument construction and presentation, archive research techniques, library skills) in relation to social psychological subject matter. Teaching will concentrate on modern theoretical advances and on the empirical base of the subject, though reference will be made to social psychology's history in the social and human sciences.

Educational Aims

The main aim of this course is to progress beyond the Part 1 introduction to Social Psychology and develop the student's knowledge of theory and research in a number of core areas of social psychology. Lectures will cover contemporary and empirical developments in these areas. The accompanying seminar programme aims to help students develop a range of academic skills (use of technical language, integrating knowledge, analytic skills, argument construction and presentation) in relation to social psychological subject matter.

Outline Syllabus

  • History of Social Psychology
  • Social representations
  • Social beliefs & judgments
  • Social psychology of emotions
  • Attitude persuasion and change
  • Intergroup relations
  • Prejudice
  • Cross-cultural & critical perspectives

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC204: Research Methods I: Experimental Methods in Psychology

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; some introduction to statistics and research methods (which may be as part of a general introductory course)

Course Description

This module is constructed to develop knowledge and skills on experimental research methods employed across the different topics in psychology; social, developmental and cognitive approaches. This will involve learning about how to plan, conduct and report research and how to evaluate research studies.

Educational Aims

The PSYC Research Methods I module is designed to expand the knowledge and skills on research methods. Research Methods I does not have a final exam in the Summer Term. The course is structured such that you undertake blocks of exercises in designing, evaluating, and assessing psychological research. It will cover a range of topics, spanning social, developmental, cognitive, and neuroscience approaches to psychology. The course will develop the ability to be clear, accurate, complete and concise in writing up research. There is also a strong emphasis on collaborative work in this course. Students work in small groups to design and implement research projects, followed by independent analyses and interpretation of the results that are written up in the research reports.

Outline Syllabus

An illustrative course outline could be as follows:

  • Week 1-3: Introduction to research methods and APA style. Assessed by a research report.
  • Weeks 4-7: Research methods in developmental psychology. Assessed by a class test.
  • Weeks 8-10: Using “big data" in cognitive research. Assessed by a lay summary.

More information about assessment will be provided on Moodle page.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

PSYC205: Developmental Psychology

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: high school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; an introduction to developmental psychology (which may be as part of a general introductory course)

Course Description

The first part of the course focuses on infancy, the period from before birth to two years. The first two years of life have long been recognised as the most crucial, both in the nature and pace of developmental change and in its influence on long-term development. The course covers major topics in infancy, infant cognitive development, early communication, early language perception and development, object knowledge and the emergence of mind knowledge. The second part of the course focuses on development in children beyond infancy, covering social and emotional development criticisms to piagetian approaches, late language development, literacy, adolescence. These topics are examples of how culturally important learning takes place in childhood, building on the more basic foundation skills acquired in infancy. The fundamental questions of development; what capacities make infants able to learn so much about the world, and by what mechanisms are capacities acquired, are addressed on the course, together with the theoretical debates that have surrounded these questions.

Educational Aims

Subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills

In this module students will learn cutting edge topics in developmental psychology. Specifically, students will learn the latest developments in foetal research, new theories of communication and learning in infants and children, social cognition, perception of elementary physics, precursors of Theory of Mind, social and emotional development from infancy to middle childhood, language development in preschoolers, literacy. The module relies on knowledge gained in Part I and is at a higher level. All the proposed topics and problems are key issues in human development. The presented empirical research in the lectures, spanning from foetal research to adolescence, will provide invaluable insight on how to conduct research into developmental psychology issues.

General knowledge, understanding and skills

By the end of this module students should have improved their general knowledge of developmental psychology. They should be able to critically evaluate empirical research and ask new non trivial experimental questions. Students should have gained knowledge on different theoretical approaches in psychological science and on the methods to answer questions generated on the basis of a scientific theory. They should be able to research an area of academic psychology with a view to presenting a coherent, informed and critical analysis of the question.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures:

  • Introduction to Theories of Development
  • Prenatal development
  • Object processing and permanence
  • Ostensive communication and Natural Pedagogy
  • Neural basis of communication
  • Natural Pedagogy: evidence
  • Speech perception and early language development
  • Referential understanding of words
  • Categorisation and language
  • Theory of Mind in infancy
  • Social and Emotional Development in Infancy I
  • Social and Emotional Development in Infancy II
  • Piaget and his critics
  • Post-Piagetean approaches
  • Language development in the pre-school years
  • Literacy
  • Social and emotional development in the pre-school years
  • Cognitive development in middle childhood
  • Social and Emotional Development in Middle Childhood
  • Adolescence

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC207: Personality and Individual Differences

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; some introduction to statistics and research methods (which may be as part of a general introductory course)

Course Description

This module introduces students to key topics and debates within psychological research relating to personality and individual differences. It blends learning on both the important theoretical questions for the sub-discipline with discussion of the research implications for practice at work and across society as a whole. In this module current views of personality and individual differences are explored and placed within their historical context. The impact of notions such as trait and type on psychological accounts of human behaviour are critically evaluated. The theoretical and practical insights into psychometric testing and other methods for capturing individual differences in behaviour and performance are also described. The module further examines the impact of individual differences in particular areas, including cognition, thinking, and development.

Educational Aims

Subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills:

  • To explore current views of personality and individual differences, and to place these views within their historical context;
  • To critically evaluate the impact of notions such as trait and type on psychological accounts of human behaviour;
  • To deliver theoretical and practical insights into psychometric testing and other methods for capturing individual differences in behaviour and performance;
  • To examine the impact of individual differences in particular areas, including cognition, relationships, and development.

General knowledge, understanding and skills:

  • To enrich understanding of the nature of people through exploring alternative approaches to accounts of differences in human behaviour;
  • To recognise the strengths and weaknesses of claims to measure aspects of personality and other individual differences;
  • To understand and have skills in developing new ways of assessing human performance and capabilities.

Outline Syllabus

The course comprises a weekly lecture series, covering contemporary issues in personality and individualdifferences research. The lectures are accompanied by workshops taken every other week.

Lectures:

Foundations:

  • Introduction to personality and individual differences
  • Traits and types: Psychometrics of latent constructs and scales

Great debates:

  • The Structure of Personality: Is there a Big-5?
  • But what of context? The behavioural consistency crisis
  • But what of context? How the behavioural consistency crisis was resolved
  • What is intelligence? The measurement and structure of IQ
  • What is intelligence? Heritability and environmental influences
  • Other intelligences

Individual differences across the disciplines:

  • Is one personality best? Lessons from teams
  • What are the origins of personality?

Does personality change across the lifespan?

  • Type models of personality and personality disorders
  • Personality and relationships
  • Leadership

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC214: Statistics

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed the equivalent to PSYC102 Investigating Psychology  

Course Description

You will gain the knowledge and skills to

  • understand how psychological research findings reported in journals and textbooks have been obtained,
  • carry out your own analysis of data collected during practical classes and report the results
  • analyse and report the results of your own research project.

The module will teach you how to evaluate the reliability and generalisability of research reported in the media, and how to apply the analysis skills to research in other areas beyond psychology.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Identify the appropriate form of analysis for different data types
  • Identify and conduct using SPSS the ANOVA appropriate for standard research designs including between and within factors in multifactor designs.
  • Identify and conduct the necessary and appropriate analyses subsequent to ANOVA including the decomposition of interactions and Simple Main Effects
  • Calculate the binomial test and three types of chi-square test, having identified which test to use on different sets of categorical data
  • Apply, with confidence, a number of statistics using ranked data, where ANOVA is not appropriate
  • Understand Pearsons Product Moment correlation and be able to calculate correlations and partial correlations using SPSS
  • Understand and be able to use different types of regression, including linear, multiple, logistic and ordinal procedures, and interpret their components
  • Be able to fit curves to data and assess the quality of the fit
  • Have an understanding of factor analysis and be able to carry out analyses with factor rotation using SPSS
  • Know when a non-parametric analysis is appropriate and be able to conduct suitable non-parametric tests using SPSS
  • Be able to report the results of statistical analyses in APA format
  • Understand and be able to calculate effect size measures
  • Understand factors influencing the power of a test and be able to calculate the number of participants to run for a given power

Outline Syllabus

The course introduces students to the theory and the practice of conducting statistical analyses.The list below includes likely lecture topics (note that the precise titles and ordering of lectures may change).

  • Syllabus Topic Areas
  • One- and Two-Factor Analysis of variance (ANOVA)
  • Chi square analyses
  • Log-linear analyses
  • Correlational analyses
  • Linear and multiple regressions
  • Factor analyses
  • Mixed Linear Models

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

PSYC224: Research Methods II: Asking questions, analysing responses

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; some introduction to statistics and research methods (which may be as part of a general introductory course)

Course Description

PSYC224 is designed to expand on the knowledge of and skills in research methods and to provide an appreciation and understanding of a wider range of research methods than covered in PSYC204.

Educational Aims

The module is structured such that you will undertake blocks of exercises in which you design, report and evaluate different forms of psychological research. A range of psychological topics are covered through two different methods commonly employed in psychological research; Those methods being questionnaires and surveys and interviewing and qualitative analysis. You will work in small groups to design and implement research projects on a given topic, followed by independent analyses and interpretation of the results, which are then written up in the research reports. You will also engage with the various ethical issues affecting psychological research on human participants and the strategies for addressing those issues in ethical psychological research. The course will support further development of the ability to be clear, accurate, complete and concise in writing up research.

It is intended to provide you with an introduction to non-­experimental methods by which psychological research is conducted, data collected and analysed, as well as the ethical issues relevant to a range of experimental and non-­experimental methods. Over the course of the module you will learn how to plan research projects, to collect and analyse quantitative (questionnaire-­based) and qualitative data (interview), using available software packages to do so where appropriate, how to evaluate the quality of those data and how to draw relevant psychological interpretations and inferences from them. Further, you will learn about the ethical issues affecting a wide range of psychological research methods and the strategies by which those issues can be appropriately managed.

Outline Syllabus

The outline syllabus is as follows:

  • Weeks 11-­14: Survey and questionnaire design and development [Dr Neil McLatchie]. Assessed by research report
  • Weeks 15­-18: Conducting and analysing a research interview [Dr Chris Walton]. Assessed by research report
  • Weeks 19-20: Ethical issues in psychological research [Liam Cross]. Assessed by class test in week 20

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

PSYC302: Cognitive Affective and Clinical Neuroscience

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; PSYC 202 or its equivalent.

Course Description

This third year module is designed to explore cutting edge topics in the multi-disciplinary field of human neuroscience and to allow students to develop their critical thinking skills on a choice of contemporary topics.

Educational Aims

Subject-specific knowledge, understanding and skills

The aim of this module is to provide in-depth and up-to-date coverage of areas of current research interest in neuroscience. Modern neuroscience uses a wide range of techniques to evaluate both normal and abnormal human behaviour, including brain imaging work, lesion studies, studies with neuropsychological and psychiatric patients, neurophysiological and behavioural methods. You will have an opportunity to develop an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of a range of neuroscientific methods, the importance of converging evidence, and critical thinking skills.

General knowledge, understanding and skills

The overarching academic aims are to enable students to: continue to develop their skills in literature search and review (including independently retrieve, read and understand journal articles), critical appraisal of research findings and interpretation of empirical data, effective communication of ideas, evidence-based reasoning, self-directed learning, application of theory to practice and group work.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific knowledge, understanding and skills

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • · Evaluate the advantages and limitations of research methods in neuroscience
  • · Show how converging evidence has informed developments in action perception and disorders of action
  • · Appreciate the principle of using patient data to understand the functions of the central nervous system
  • · Show how converging evidence from research can inform theory
  • · Critically evaluate some of the most prominent theories in cognitive neuroscience
  • · Be able to plan and design their own neuroscientific experiment
  • General knowledge, understanding and skills
  • Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
  • · Conduct a topical literature search and critically evaluate current research
  • · Understand and apply the empirical method of scientific inference
  • · Critically appraise research findings and interpret empirical data
  • · Critically evaluate current research, with a view on converging empirical evidence from different scientific methods and approaches
  • · Write clearly and effectively communicate ideas
  • · Use evidence-based reasoning
  • · Master self-directed learning
  • · Effectively work in groups

Outline Syllabus

You will look at in-depth and up-to-date coverage of areas of current research interest in neuroscience. We will explain recent developments in research methods in neuroscience, such as brain stimulation, brain imaging, electroencephalography, and provide you with the skills to critically evaluate the assumptions underlying these techniques. Topics covered will include (but will not be restricted to) neurorehabilitation, neuroplasticity, emotion processing, emotion regulation, executive functions, multilingualism, speech processing, and the use and interpretation of event-related responses and computational models as tools for understanding auditory processing.

Illustrative Lecture schedule

Talking Heads: The Neurobiology of Speech Processing

Lecture 1: Neurobiology of speech perception

Lecture 2: Neurobiology of speech production

Lecture 3: Brain stimulation and speech processing

Lecture 4: Neurorehabilitation of speech processing

What can neuroscience tell us about emotion, language and multilingualism?

Lecture 1: From words to emotions

Lecture 2: Time course and neural correlates of processing emotive stimuli

Lecture 3: Cognition in multilinguals

Lecture 4: Neuroscience of multilingualism: evidence from patients and neuroimaging

Harmony of reason and the passions

Lecture 1: Emotion neural network

Lecture 2: A process model of emotion regulation and its neural network

Lecture 3: Executive control network

Lecture 4: Our brain is never still: the Default Mode Network

The brain that changes itself

Lecture 1: Your plastic fantastic brain

Lecture 2: Training your way to a smarter brain: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Lecture 3: Cross-modal plasticity

Lecture 4: Can damaged brains recover?

The oddball paradigm: pitfalls in blind alleys

Lecture 1: The origin of event-related responses

Lecture 2: Surprise! It’s the mismatch response

Lecture 3: Understanding sensory processing through predictive coding

Lecture 4: Understanding auditory cortex through simulations

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC303: Hot Topics in Social Psychology

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: high school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; PSYC 203 or its equivalent

Course Description

Psyc303 explores some of the current assumptions, tensions and debates that mark the production of social psychological knowledge, and considers the practical application of this knowledge to contemporary issues and related disciplines (e.g., media studies, religion, ethics, etc.). To accomplish this aim, there may be instances where we re-examine some topics covered in 203 in greater critical depth, enriching and qualifying what we (think we) know about social issues. The applied coursework for this module is also meant to have you think critically and creatively about how social psychology as a discipline might be applied to real world problems.

Educational Aims

Subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills.

The course aims to encourage students to engage critically, but constructively and creatively as well, with social psychological research and theory. You should be able not only to summarize the current state of knowledge on a given topic, but also to evaluate such knowledge, weighing its strengths and limitations and tracing its implications. In particular, we want to encourage students to question the standard textbook treatment of social psychological topics and engage in a more direct way with social psychological methodologies and research, and consider its limits and application.

Learning outcomes

Subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills:

At the end of this module, students should be able to:

· Discuss in depth some key topics in social psychology

· Discuss the conceptual and methodological foundations of several different aspects of social psychology

· Critically evaluate different research areas in social psychology

· Discuss and demonstrate how social psychology may be applied to ‘real world’ problems and issues

General knowledge, understanding and skills:

At the end of this module, students should have improved their ability to:

· To compare and contrast arguments that make their case based on a wide range of types of evidence, research methods and theoretical frameworks

· To construct evaluative arguments

· Think creatively about psychological theory and methods

Outline Syllabus

Topics covered in the course will reflect lecturers' active research interests. Below is an example of what may be covered:

Psychology of Religion

  • · The Moral Self
  • · Psychology of Animal Treatment
  • · Social Media
  • · Expertise
  • · Replication and Reproducibility in Social Psychology
  • · Comedy
  • · Attraction and Mate Choice

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

PSYC305: The Developing Mind

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; some background in developmental psychology; PSYC 205 or its equivalent

Course Description

This module aims to enhance students' knowledge of developmental psychology building on knowledge gained during PSYC 205. Specifically, students should gain a better knowledge of developmental theoretical problems in developmental psychology such as Nativist vs. Empiricist account of infant knowledge and reasoning, the development of empathy and prosocial behavior, moral reasoning and the emerging understanding of moral rules, as well as social and emotional development in adolescence. The module will cover a longer period of development compared to PSYC 205, spanning from infancy, through early and late childhood and covering

Educational Aims

Learning Objectives

By the end of the module, students should have improved their knowledge of developmental psychology as a discipline of psychology going beyond infancy and early childhood. The module requires students to evaluate different theoretical frameworks, to be able to critically read scientific papers to synthesise information from and establish links between different topics. The module aims to improve students' skills in evaluating different forms of argument and evidence and in expressing those evaluations in writing.

At the end of this module the student should be able to:

  • display an understanding of the research process through exposure to current thinking in developmental psychology

  • understand how cross-cultural approaches influence the study of infant and child development; understand the main findings and theories based on these approaches and the problems that arise in this area of research.

  • understand the main findings and theories regarding children’s emerging understanding of moral rules as distinct from conventional rules and personal choices, the factors guiding children’s moral judgments, and their developing notions of fairness, rights, and justice

  • understand theories and demonstrate knowledge of social and emotional development in adolescence

Outline Syllabus

  • Cross-cultural approaches to infant and child development
  • Moral psychology in development
  • Social development in adolescence

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC310: The Lying Brain: An Examination of Hallucinations & Delusions in Normal, Clinical and Pathological Populations

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics; an introductory psychology course; PSYC201 and PSYC 202 or their equivalent

Course Description

This course covers a host of exotic and ‘hot’ topics in Psychology and Neuroscience. As a consequence, the forms of assessment need to cater for and reflect that – thus giving students the necessary room to breathe with their creativity. The course will require students to produce and evaluate arguments. Therefore, the coursework will be a Grant Proposal in the Michaelmas term followed by an exam in the summer term. Creative assessments like Grant Proposals are an excellent means of assessing students understanding.

Educational Aims

The principal aim of this module is to critically examine striking aberrant human experiences (hallucination and delusions) and the theories proposed to account for them. A wide variety of case studies of specific examples, approaches and methods will be explored in relation to over-arching theory. Examples will be taken from ‘normal’ populations as well more typical pathological and clinical cases. An emphasis on exploring what is both necessary and sufficient for the occurrence of hallucinations / delusions will be pursued. A specific recurring theme, running through the course, will be for students to ask themselves “why certain types of hallucinations / delusions are occurring as opposed to any other random possible alternative experience”. This will facilitate a more “processes / mechanisms” approach to understanding rather than a basic “neurophrenology” approach of simply saying ‘what’ parts of the brain are active. Each lecture will cover a different (though often related) set of experiences, syndromes and conditions to illuminate general concepts which unite aberrant experiences more generally, and identify the unsolved challenges that remain.

Outline Syllabus

The syllabus and seminar topics will include:

  • Hallucinations peculiar to Migraine and Epilepsy (aura).
  • The Charles-Bonnet Syndrome.
  • Simple and Complex hallucinatory imagery.
  • Hallucinations in Schizophrenia.
  • Deficits in reality / self-monitoring.
  • Breakdowns in multisensory integration and Embodiment, Disorders in Emotional processing.
  • The Out-of-Body Experience.
  • The Near-Death-Experience.
  • Sensed-presence hallucinations.
  • Hallucinations of Hyper-religiosity / spirituality (the God spot in the brain).
  • Delusions of familiarity (Capgras delusion, Fregoli delusion, Cotard delusion, déjà vu, Jamais vu).
  • Paranormal experiences, Magical thinking, causal reasoning, and heuristics.
  • False-memory.
  • Perceptual distortions in Depersonalisation / Derealisation.
  • Disorders in the sense of ‘presence’, and self-awareness.

Students will examine the methods employed to study hallucination / delusions as well as over-arching theoretical concepts which influence neurocognitive theory and our understanding of brain function. You only know what is real because your brain tells you what is real. However, your brain is lying to you, find out how and why in “The Lying Brain”.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 33%

Exam: 67%

PSYC311: The Psychology of Attention: from the laboratory to everyday behaviour

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Introductory Psychology course

Educational Aims

Students will develop greater awareness of the importance of attention for psychologists' thinking, and will be able to refer to some of the differences of opinion concerning how attention operates. Students will be able to generate reasoned arguments about basic research in attention and will be aware of some of the applications of theoretical work.

Subject specific knowledge, understandiing and skills

  • To enable students to become better informed about and critical thinkers of psychological concepts in attention.
  • To present cutting edge research and controversy in selected fields of attention research, from a foundation of classic work.
  • To relate scholarly work on attention to events portrayed in the media.
  • To provide the opportunity to research topics within the area for a presentation.

Outline Syllabus

Session topics:

  • Introduction and overview
  • Control of behaviour

  • Working memory

  • Is attention a form of "glue"? The binding of representations

  • The development of inhibitory capacity in preschool children

  • Atypical development: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Atypical development: Autism and attentional control

  • Clinical relevance of attentional processes

  • The science of consciousness

  • Student presentations

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC314: Independent Project (JYA)

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 semester credits
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 semester credits
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year credits: 16 ECTS
    • Michaelmas term only: 8 ECTS
    • Lent / Summer terms only: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: This module is only suitable for students who are majoring in Psychology and have taken a significant number of Psychology modules before arriving in Lancaster.

Course Description

This is an independent piece of work in the field of psychology carried out by you in consultation with a member of the psychology department staff as supervisor and written up in the form of a report. This is available only by agreement with the department's study abroad advisor.

Assessment Proportions

  • Dissertation: 100%

PSYC317: Prozac Nation: Human Psychopharmacology

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Introductory Psychology course and a course equivalent to PSYC202:  Brain and Behaviour

Course Description

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the concepts of human psychopharmacology and to provide theoretical background of drug-induced modification of nervous system function and behaviour, respectively. More specifically, the overall objective is to allow insight into psychoactive drugs and how they act upon thebrain to influence behaviour.

Educational Aims

Learning Outcomes

General

On completion of this option, you should be able to:

  • Independently retrieve, read and understand journal articles;

  • Critically appraise research findings and interpret empirical data;

  • Effectively communicate ideas;

  • Use evidence-based reasoning;

  • Master self-directed learning;

  • Effectively work in groups/teams.

    Subject Specific

    On completion of this option, you should have a good understanding of:

  • The basic principles of psychopharmacology and major brain neurotransmitter pathways;

  • The mechanisms by which drugs alter brain functioning and behaviour;

  • The acute and long-term consequences of psychoactive drug use (both for recreational and therapeutic drugs);

  • Current pharmacological treatment strategies for Alzheimer's disease, Depression and Schizophrenia.

    In addition, you will be able to discuss current controversies in psychopharmacology and critically assess current research findings and developments in the area of psychopharmacology.

Outline Syllabus

Teaching and learning strategy: There will be one-hour lectures, each with an associated one-hour seminar. The lectures will present the core material and provide a structure for integrating the seminar work and the reading. The seminars will support the lectures by providing extended consideration of complex psychopharmacological concepts and facilitate discussion of current controversies in psychopharmacology.

Lectures

Introduction and Cholinergic System

Lecture 1: Introduction to Psychopharmacology.

Lecture 2: Acetylcholine and Alzheimer’s Disease.?

Serotonergic System

Lecture 3: Serotonergic System?

Lecture 4: Pharmacological Treatment of Depression and Mania?

GABAergic System

Lecture 5& 6: CNS Depressants?

Dopaminergic System

Lecture 7: CNS ‘mild’ and ‘hard’ Stimulants

Lecture 8: Schizophrenia as a Model of Dopaminergic Dysfunction?

Cannabinoids

Lecture 9: Cannabis?

Week 10: Independent learning (time to catch up on your reading and work on your essay).

Seminars

Seminar topics include:

The synapse;? Clinical trials and cognitive testing;? The not so selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors;? MDMA and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder;? Is alcohol worse than ecstasy?;? Expert consultants; applied psychopharmacology; Neuroenhancement - Botox for the brain?

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC327: Topics in Clinical Psychology

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed at least one Introductory Psychology Course

Course Description

The Neuroscience of Typical and Atypical Social Development is a relatively young discipline in Developmental Psychology, which became established in record time due to the relevance of the research in this domain for our understanding of human social and emotional development. The aims of this module are: a) to provide an in depth understanding of theories, concepts, and methods of the neuroscience of social and emotional Development; b) discuss and employ concepts with regard to several topics of investigation; c) to provide a comprehensive overview over major current research trends in the developmental social neuroscience; d) provide an overview of how developmental social neuroscience have helped us understand how atypical patterns of social development emerge (e.g. Autism, Motor Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Antisocial Behaviour).

The module consists of 10 two-hours lectures. The lectures are designed to give an introduction to the topic area and to deepen the understanding and critical analysis of the existent scientific knowledge through academic discussions. Three of these lectures (1, 6, and 9) have also an interactive component. In these sessions, after being presented with theoretical and practical knowledge about different methods used in developmental neuroscience, students will be guided in searching methodological solutions for some of the procedural problems most commonly encountered in this area of research.

This module is particularly suitable for those students who wish to advance their knowledge about developmental social cognitive neuroscience, as well as for those students who are more interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying the emergence of various types of pathologies related to emotional and social functioning.

Educational Aims

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Knowledge and understanding:

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Review, with some guidance, some of the topics under debate in the Neuroscience of Typical and Atypical Social Development;

  • Analyse and assess the value of the social cognitive neuroscience approach for the understanding of key issues in Developmental Psychology;

  • Describe and evaluate different examples of empirical evidence in the Neuroscience of Typical and Atypical Social Development;

  • Demonstrate the ability to apply core principles of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience to specific concepts in developmental psychology;

    Skills:

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Manage and synthesise information, recognize relevance of literature and develop sustained and reasoned argument from a range of sources

  • Illustrate and discuss, with some direction, the debated nature of the knowledge concerning the development of action perception, social interaction, emotion information processing, and emotion regulation; apply the knowledge about typical social and emotional development in understanding patterns of atypical development.

  • Formulate and communicate personal views regarding the discussed topics in the Neuroscience of Typical and Atypical Social Development;

Outline Syllabus

Week Lecture Topic

  • Developmental neuroscience methods - EEG behavioural paradigms.
  • Action processing.
  • Understanding links between motor and social development. Spotlight on Motor Disorders.
  • Dyadic and triadic interactions.
  • Atypical development - The case of infants at risk for autism.
  • The development of visual and auditory emotional information processing.
  • Anxiety disorders during childhood.
  • Emotion regulation development during infancy and childhood. Spotlight on educational neuroscience.
  • Emotion regulation during adolescence. Spotlight on adolescent depression.
  • Antisocial behaviour during childhood and adolescence

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC347: The Neuroscience of Typical and Atypical Social Development

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Introductory Psychology course and a course equivalent to PSYC202:  Brain and Behaviour

Course Description

The Neuroscience of Typical and Atypical Social Development is a relatively young discipline in Developmental Psychology, which became established in record time due to the relevance of the research in this domain for our understanding of human social and emotional development.

Educational Aims

The aims of this module are:

  • to provide an in depth understanding of theories, concepts, and methods of the neuroscience of social and emotional Development
  • discuss and employ concepts with regard to several topics of investigation
  • to provide a comprehensive overview over major current research trends in the developmental social neuroscience
  • to provide an overview of how developmental social neuroscience have helped us understand how atypical patterns of social development emerge (e.g. Autism, Motor Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Antisocial Behaviour)

Outline Syllabus

Week Lecture Topic

  1. Developmental neuroscience methods - EEG & behavioural paradigms.
  2. Action processing.
  3. Understanding links between motor and social development. Spotlight on Motor Disorders.
  4. Dyadic and triadic interactions.
  5. Atypical development - The case of infants at risk for autism.
  6. The development of visual and auditory emotional information processing.
  7. Anxiety disorders during childhood.
  8. Emotion regulation development during infancy and childhood. Spotlight on educational neuroscience.
  9. Emotion regulation during adolescence. Spotlight on adolescent depression.
  10. Antisocial behaviour during childhood and adolescence

The module consists of 10 two-hours lectures. The lectures are designed to give an introduction to the topic area and to deepen the students' understanding and critical analysis of the existent scientific knowledge through academic discussions. Three of these lectures (1, 6, and 7) have also an interactive component. In these sessions, after being presented with theoretical and practical knowledge about different methods used in developmental neuroscience, students will be guided in searching methodological solutions for some of the procedural problems most commonly encountered in this area of research.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC367: Forensic and Investigative Psychology

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ETCS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed at least one Introductory Psychology Course

Course Description

Forensic and Investigative Psychology is a third year option course. It focuses on how psychology can help in forensic settings, including police investigations, dealing with antagonists and courtrooms.

Educational Aims

Learning outcomes, specific: On successful completion of the module students should:

  • ? have an appreciation of what can be learned from studying the behaviour of criminals in a scientific framework
  • ? understand and be able to discuss different explanations and theories of crime and criminal behaviour
  • ? be able to apply psychological theories of behaviour to explain criminal case studies and experiences in criminal contexts, including within the court
  • ? understand and discuss the strengths and limitations of classifications of criminal behaviour
  • ? be able to critically discuss the merits of different approaches to offender treatment, interviewing, and detecting deception
  • ? think critically about a range of controversial issues within forensic / investigative psychology.
  • Learning outcomes, general: On successful completion of the module students should:
  • ? have developed their presentation skills
  • ? have further developed their group work skills.
  • ? Have further developed their writing skills

Outline Syllabus

Illustrative course content: In each 2-hour meeting, the convenor will present a lecture in which students engage in a learning-relevant practical task or provide short presentations on a pre-assigned topic.

  • Theoretical approaches to understanding criminals and criminal behaviour

  • Offender profiling

  • Witness identifications

  • Investigative interviewing

  • Deception detection

  • False confessions

  • Jury decision making

  • Emergency sevices decision making
  • Forensic linguistics

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC377: Psychology of Art

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Introductory Psychology course and a course equivalent to PSYC201.

Course Description

This module will focus on the psychological processes that influence our experience and appreciation of art. In particular, we will explore how different topics in psychology, namely sensory perception, cognition (learning and memory), social affiliations (e.g. culture) and emotion, contribute to our understanding of art and how they drive our sense of aesthetics.

Educational Aims

To equip the student with the knowledge and skills to understand the role of different psychological processes in our understanding and appreciation of art. For example, the module will begin by exploring visual arts and how its development through history has focused on different aspects of psychology, such as sensation and perception, knowledge, and emotions. In addition to visual arts, other topics will also be discussed, and each one with help student recognise that art is multidimensional and that it can be studied from various psychological viewpoints.

Outline Syllabus

Weeks 1-5: Psychology of visual Art

  • Colour and Perspective in Art

  • Visual Cognition in Art

  • Exploring Scenes in Art

  • Connections and Art

  • Visual Aesthetics and Evolution

Weeks 6-7: Psychology of Music

  • Basic Features of Music

  • Understanding and Appreciating Music

Weeks 8-10 TBC

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 50%

Exam: 50%