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: By the end of the module, students should be able to:

General

  • research, format and write psychology essays

  • locate and evaluate Psychology journal articles

Developmental

  • appreciate historical and cross-cultural perspectives in developmental psychology

  • discuss the place of self-referencing and self-perception in development

  • describe gender development

  • describe prosocial development

  • discuss issues relating to aggression

  • outline Piaget's account of cognition and its development

  • discuss children's understanding of mind

  • describe the development of language

  • discuss applications of developmental psychology

 Brain and behaviour

  • describe the fundamentals of brain anatomy

  • discuss the relationship between brain structure and cognitive functions

  • describe ways in which visual information is processed

  • discuss how studying patients with brain damage can increase our understanding of brain function

Cognitive

  • with guidance, appreciate the history and breadth of cognitive psychology

  • show a basic understanding of core principles and theories in the following areas:

      • perception

      • learning and memory

      • knowledge and the use of knowledge

      • comprehension during reading and conversations

      • decision making

      • problem solving

Social

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

  • discuss issues of self-management and presentation

  • describe basic concepts and theories relating to bystander and prosocial behaviour

  • describe the various attributional biases and outline attribution theories

  • understand processes of categorisation and their affect on social judgements

  • discuss theories and debates concerning the nature of the "social self"

Historical and Conceptual

  • describe and discuss the emergence of psychology as a science

  • discuss the role of social issues in the establishment of psychology

  • discuss the relations between psychology and the concept of free will

  • discuss what constitutes a psychological explanation

Outline Syllabus

The following textbooks will be heavily used during the PSYC 101 course and will be very valuable for related modules in Part II Psychology.

  • Sternberg, R.J.  Sternberg, K. (2012). Cognition (6th edition). Wadsworth.
  • Myers, D., Abell, J., Kolstad, A.  and Sani, F. (2010). Social Psychology.  McGraw-Hill.
  • Smith, P.  K., Cowie, H.   Blades, M. (2011). Understanding children's development, Fifth edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Pinel, J.  P.  (2011). Biopsychology (8th Edition). Pearson: London. (the previous, 7th edition is also acceptable).

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

By the end of the PSYC102 module, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of basic research issues in Cognitive, Developmental, Social and Neuropsychology.
  • answer questions about 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.

Outline Syllabus

This course provides:

  • A laboratory based introduction to the areas of Cognitive, Developmental, Social and Neuropsychology, illustrating a range of approaches and how these are implemented in psychological research. These topics form an essential part of the syllabus for our British Psychological Society accredited courses.
  • A set of skills (e.g. report writing, argument analysis and construction, ethics, research design, data analysis, etc.) introduced in lectures and laboratory classes and seen as essential for progression to Part II Psychology.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

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

This course seeks to introduce a range of topics in cognitive psychology.  Major topic areas are: perception, action, language, problem solving, memory, thinking and reasoning, attention and cognitive models.  In any one year a subset of these topics will be covered.  Lectures introduce a variety of major theoretical perspectives on particular issues going from the so-called lower level processes of perception to the higher processes such as thinking and reasoning.  The lecture course is accompanied by workshops where the focus will be on cognitive models and how these have been used to develop ideas about human cognition.  This part of the course evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of modelling in cognitive psychology.

Educational Aims

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.

Subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills:

  • To allow students to become better informed about cognitive psychology with respect to memory, language and problem solving.
  • To consolidate and develop students' awareness of cognitive psychology and its methods presented in Part I.
  • To provide an increased focus on the process of research, in addition to the outcomes, in comparison with  presentation of cognition in Part 1.

Outline Syllabus

This course will cover three key areas of cognitive psychology: human memory; language; and, problemsolving. As each of these 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. Material will include topics of individual differences in cognitive abilities.

Students will engage in the critical evaluation of theory and evidence, and will receive guidance regarding theuse of primary research material, namely research papers. Assessment on the course will evaluate a student's: breadth of knowledge; ability to integrate theory andevidence; and, ability to engage in critical evaluation. The coursework assessment will require a particularpiece of empirical work to be placed in context, hypotheses to be distinguished from data, the contribution of method to the assessment of hypotheses and data to be understood, and an evaluation of experimental research.

Illustrative Weekly Lecture Topics

  • Motion Perception

  • Perception and Action

  • Sounds and Space

  • Touch and Pain

  • Multisensory Interaction

  • Attention

  • Attentional Bias

  • Working Memory

  • Problem Solving

  • Long Term Memory

  • Semantic Knowledge

  • Semantic Dementia

  • Reading and Dyslexia

  • Speech and Aphasia

 Seminars

Students will attend four seminars. These will focus on (a) the content and structure of the assessmentmaterials, (b) topics from each course theme in which students will look at a critical review, thus developingtheir 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 starts with an introduction to neural transmission, explaining (for example) how knowledge of processes occurring at the synapse can help in understanding the effects of drugs on behaviour.  The gross anatomy of the brain and peripheral nervous system is demonstrated and the distinction drawn between voluntary and autonomic systems.  The endocrine system is briefly reviewed.  After an introduction to the research techniques of physiological psychology, various important topics are considered, with emphasis on an understanding of the biological basis of behaviours and/or experience in each case.  Examples of such topics are: normal and abnormal eating and drinking; sleep and dreaming; stress and bodily ill-health; sexual development and behaviour; mental illness and the experience of pain.

Educational Aims

Subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills:

The course will introduce students to the fundamental neural principles of brain and behaviour relationships, with particular emphasis on perceptual and cognitive functions that underpins many psychological processes.

More specifically, the objectives of this course are:

  • To revise the fundamentals of neural transmission both within the neuron and at synapses.
  • To provide students with basic knowledge about the development, anatomy, physiology and functions of the central and peripheral nervous systems.
  • To acquaint students with a range of theories and research methods in cognitive neuroscience.
  • To demonstrate how knowledge of physiological processes can aid our understanding of a wide range of  human behaviour.

Outline Syllabus

    • Introduction to cognitive neuroscience

    • Brain anatomy

    • Language

    • Emotion

    • Function of the neuron

    • Neural transmission

    • Audition

    • Speech processing

    • Techniques

    • Brain plasticity

    • Action

    • Vision/MNS

    • Social cognition

    • Foundations and Principles of Anomalous Perceptions

    • Perceptual aberrations and cortical hyperexcitability

    • Dissociative Depersonalization Disorder

    • Memory

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

This course aims to provide a critical appreciation of the fundamental issues of child development and comprises all major aspects of child development, such as cognitive development, social development and personality development.  You will be acquainted with major theoretical approaches and research data on the most essential problems of child development, including theories of Piaget and Vygotsky, basic approaches to language development, the development of logical thinking, social cognition, cognitive development in infancy and others.  You will also become familiar with the classical problems which provoke discussions and alternative views throughout the history of developmental psychology, such as the role of social interaction and independent experimentation in the child's cognitive development, the role of inherited and acquired skills in the explanation of infants’ early competencies etc.  The course also aims to create a general picture of child development represented through distinguishing a set of stages (or periods) of cognitive and motivational development.

Educational Aims

Subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills:

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.  Fundamental perceptual, cognitive and social abilities develop during this period. On this skill base however, young children need to acquire fundamental cultural skills such as the use of symbols of all forms, analytical ways of thinking, and symbolic representational skills such as drawing and literacy. These culturally acquired skills rely on basic perceptual, social and cognitive processes, but require much more in the way of slow learning through interaction and experience.  The course aims not only to introduce students to contemporary research on infancy and early childhood development, but to highlight the importance of trying to link infant skills to later childhood development.

Outline Syllabus

Cognitive, social and language development in infancy. Topics are as follows:

  • Prenatal development

  • Object knowledge

  • 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

  • Infant face perception

  • Face perception in childhood

  • Social learning in childhood

  • Understanding symbols

  • Learning to draw

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

The study of personality and individual differences encompasses some of the most significant figures in the history of psychology (e.g. Freud, Spearman, Burt, Eysenck). It also plays a key role in informing public opinions about the nature and value of Psychology. Stable measures of ability (eg intelligence) or disposition (eg controversion) are seen as powerful tools in applications such as educational testing and personnel selection. Yet, there is disquiet among some psychologists about treating people differentially on the basis of assignment to categories of stable and immutable traits, ignoring the possibility that the characteristics of individuals are amenable to change. This course tackles this controversy, through an examination of key theories and applications, and a critical examination of methods for measuring personality and individual differences.

Educational Aims

  • 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, thinking, and development.

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%

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: Advanced Issues in 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

The academic aim of this course is to provide you with an advanced understanding of some fundamental topics in theoretical, experimental, and especially clinical and cognitive neuropsychology, building on and adding to the knowledge base provided by PSYC 202.

Educational Aims

The course will introduce students to the fundamental neural principles of brain and behaviour relationships, with particular emphasis on perceptual and cognitive functions that underpins many psychological processes.

More specifically, the objectives of this course are:

  • Explain recent developments in research methods in neuroscience
  • Provide students with the skills to evaluate critically the assumptions underlying these techniques
  • Provide in-depth knowledge of selected important real world disorders, such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Enable students to integrate research on demographic, neuropsychological and neuroanatomical aspects of these disorders
  • Provide detailed coverage of cognitive neuropsychological topics

Outline Syllabus

Topics covered will include a selection of the following: Theoretical review of relevant neuroanatomy and neurophysiology; localisation of function; pathophysiology of brain injury and disease; the relationship of neuropsychology and mainstream cognitive psychology; the impact of neural network models on neuropsychological thinking. Experimental: Electroencephalography, electromyography; methodological problems in the recording of physiological parameters; the fundamentals of brain imaging using SPECT, PET, MRI, TMS and MEG; recent findings from functional MRI work; other neurophysiological research methods. Clinical and cognitive: Neuropsychological assessment techniques; estimating premorbid ability; neuropsychological rehabilitation; consequences of other types of lesion to the brain; neuropsychological problems of speech, language and reading ability; the amnesias. Action and perception; The Mirror Neuron System; imitation learning, social cognition (theory of mind, empathy), language.

Seminars are based on the two options selected in week 11. These focussed learning sessions will allow you to explore specialised topics in greater depth within the format of a relatively small group.

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

The course aims to encourage students to engage critically but constructively with social psychologicalresearch and theory.You should be able not oly to summarize the current state of knowledge on a given topic, but also to evaluatesuch knowlesgte, weighing its strengths and limitations and tracing its implications. In particular, we want to encourage tudents to question the standard textbook treatment of social psychological topics.

Educational Aims

The course aims to encourage students to engage critically but constructively with social psychological research and theory. You should be able not oly to summarize the current state of knowledge on a given topic, but also to evaluate such knowlesgte, weighing its strengths and limitations and tracing its implications. In particular, we want to encourage tudents to question the standard textbook treatment of social psychological topics.

Outline Syllabus

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

  •  Power
  • Psychology of Religion

  • Expertise

  • The Social Psychology of Media

  • Nostalgia

  • Psychology of Animal Treatment

  • Attraction and Mate Choice

  • Psychology of Immoral Behaviour

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 course includes an introductory lecture and short option courses.  You attend lectures (20 hours) and four one-hour seminars of the two options of your choice, out of ten seminars on offer.  The academic aim of this course is to develop in depth knowledge acquired in PSYC 205 by exploring in depth various topics in typical and atypical development.

Outline Syllabus

    • Empathy and prosocial behaviour
    • Cross-cultural approaches to infant and child development
    • Infants' perception of objects in space
    • 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

The course will allow students to gain understanding about

  • the biological bases of drug actions and how these might contribute to our knowledge of psychological function in general
  • 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. Moreover, during the course we will explore why individuals differ in responsiveness to psychoactive drugs and discuss current controversies in the area of psychopharmacology.

Outline Syllabus

Teaching and learning strategy: There will be 10 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.

 Illustrative course content

LECTURES

Introduction and Cholinergic System

Lecture 1: Introduction to Psychopharmacology.

  • History, theory and methods.

Lecture 2: Acetylcholine and Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Cholinergic system.
  • Cholinergic degeneration and the effects of cholinergic drugs in Alzheimer's disease.

Serotonergic System

Lecture 3: Serotonergic System

  • The serotonergic system in mood and cognition.
  • Short term and long-term effects of LSD and MDMA ('ecstasy').

Lecture 4: Pharmacological Treatment of Depression and Mania

  • The nature of depression and mania.
  • Effects of antidepressants and antimanics.

GABAergic System

Lecture 5 & 7: CNS Depressants

  • The GABA-ergic system, barbiturates and benzodiazepines, alcohol.

Lecture 6: READING WEEK

  • Independent learning (time to catch up on your reading and work on your essay).

Dopaminergic System

Lecture 8: CNS ‘mild’ and ‘hard’ Stimulants

  • Psychological effects of nicotine and cocaine.

Lecture 9: Schizophrenia as a Model of Dopaminergic Dysfunction

  • The nature of schizophrenia.
  • The dopaminergic system.
  • Types of antipsychotics.

Cannabinoids

Lecture 10: Cannabis

  • Acute and chronic effects of D 9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

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

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

In this module you will discover what clinical psychology is, learn about key theoretical frameworks and treatment approaches, and develop an understanding of how research is related to practice. Covering various populations (including children, adults and older adults), this module will discuss various psychological disorders in terms of their assessment, aetiology, research background and interventions.

A series of guest lectures delivered by experienced practitioners will introduce you to issues in professional practice and confer a realistic appreciation of the work of clinical psychologists.

Educational Aims

By the end of the module, you will recognise and be able to discuss several specific and overarching aspects of clinical psychological practice, as well as a range of prominent psychopathologies.

Outline Syllabus

Topics include:

  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • Autism
  • Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy 1: Evolution and Theory
  • Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy 2: Therapeutic Skills and Practical Reflections
  • Conceptualising “mental disorders”
  • Developing Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Trauma and Stress Related Disorders
  • Schizophrenia and Care in the Community
  • Frontal Lobes Brain Disorder and Executive Dysfunction

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

Educational Aims

To provide students with knowledge and understanding of theories and research in forensic and investigative psychology.  This includes both the predominant (general) theoretical perspectives of forensic psychology and research on specialised topics such as deception detection and “offender profiling”. 

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
  • The good stranger
  • Hostage negotiation

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

PSYC370: The Psychology of Cooperation

  • 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

In this module we aim to provide students with advanced knowledge of issues surrounding the psychology of cooperation. The module will do this by providing students with an understanding of the foundational theories in cooperation, how cooperation operates through processes such as trust and language, and how it plays out in applied settings, such as in the workplace between multiple agencies or between a leader and their followers.

Educational Aims

This module equips students with knowledge in the psychology of cooperation. It achieves this by focusing on two interrelated aspects of cooperation: (i) its foundation, and (iii) how it manifests in applied settings. These interlinked components offer a rounded understanding of cooperation, where many of the theoretical underpinnings of this important interpersonal behaviour are illustrated with field studies when we consider how it plays out 'in the wild'. The topics to be covered are delivered through lectures, and applied by students to a real problem through the use of a case study method that will be used during seminars.

Outline Syllabus

Students will study different aspects of cooperation; from theoretical frameworks of how cooperation develops and is maintained, through to how cooperation manifests in applied setting within dyads and between teams. The syllabus will cover important foundations to cooperation, namely:

1.Theoretical models of cooperation

2.The language of cooperation

3.The body movement of cooperation

4.Altruism

5.Interpersonal trust

And from here will develop to understand cooperation in the wild, where questions relate to:

1.How do people cooperate in extreme situations?

2.What is the role of cooperation in conflict resolution?

3.How do good leaders support their workers (and encourage cooperation)?

4.What conditions promote or impede cooperation between diverse groups?

5.How can government get society to cooperate?

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%