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Introduction to Psychology

This course will challenge you to think beyond your own experience in the modern world.

Are you interested in Human Behaviour? Would you like to be able to evaluate it with insight and focus? Would you enjoy exploring your own thoughts, emotions and experiences from a scientific perspective? If the answer to these questions is yes, then this course could be for you.

Using traditional and interactive teaching methods, this course will address the fundamental questions of how humans develop and function. It will introduce you to the analytical and practical approaches that psychological, behavioural and neuroscientists use to investigate behaviour in both adults and children. It will look at the ways in which humans learn to interact with their environment and with each other. It will also cover the socio-emotional and cognitive mechanisms which people use to function in a social world.
The course will also look at issues of childhood and development, including an exploration of such areas as cognition and socialization and morality and pro/antisocial behaviour. The course will culminate with a focus on individual aspects of human behaviour, both via the classic vehicle of personality theory and the more recent exploration of human happiness.

Teaching will include special lectures, interactive seminars and practical workshop sessions. No prior knowledge of Psychology is required for students who wish to sit this course.


Lecturers

Dr Elisabeth Blagrove

Course Leader


Course Aims

This course aims to focus students on the scientific approach to understanding brain and behaviour, setting it firmly in the context of modern society and culture. It aims to foster your analytical and reflective skills, focusing on critical evaluation of the material presented and the competences needed for investigating different aspects of human behaviour covered in the course. This will give you the opportunity to examine your own experience, whilst developing your abilities to view human nature in a more rounded way.

Syllabus and overview

We welcome non-psychology students studying any other discipline to study this course and it would be particularly suitable for you if:

  • You're interested in human behaviour, and are open to the scientific approach to its investigation
  • You're comfortable in engaging with various research methodologies involved in understanding behaviour
  • You'd enjoy the challenge of exploring your own thoughts, emotions, actions and experiences from a new perspective

Week 1

  • Introducing the Science of Brain & Behaviour
  • Research Methods and Research with Children
  • Introduction to Human Development
  • Emotions in Context
  • Building Bridges: Empathy and Society

Week 2

  • Cognition in Action: Using Attention
  • Implications of Intelligence
  • Children's Cognition
  • Being Moral: Emergence of Pro- & Anti-Social Behaviour

Week 3

  • Real World Perspectives on Individual Differences
  • Personality: Can we predict Behaviour?
  • The Science of Happiness
  • Practical Skills for Psychological Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate key theories and approaches to investigating behaviour
  • Use the essential academic, research and analytical skills introduced in the course with confidence
  • Engage critically with the behavioural science and psychology literatures
  • Focus on the context of behaviour across human evolution and alongside socio-cultural factors
  • Understand the roles and relative contribution of brain and body in human behaviour
  • Develop an appreciation of how scientific findings are disseminated
  • Articulate the relevance of psychological, behavioural and neuroscience to modern society
  • Be able to present research findings concisely and effectively
  • Develop skills for working collaboratively in small groups
  • Reflect on the difference between experientially- and scientifically-based knowledge, and discuss its impact on understanding behaviour
  • Evaluate the importance of integrating scientific knowledge into the real world

Course Structure

For this course, there will be 4 hours of teaching per day, comprised of interactive lectures and seminars as well as practical activities and workshops.

Students will also be given time each day for independent study.

Course Assessment

  • 2 Hour Examination (100%)

Course Reading List

The main text for this course is:

Psychological Science (2015; 5th ed.)
Michael Gazzaniga, Todd Heatherton & Diane Halpern. Publishers: W.W. Norton & Company
ISBN 978-0-393-93749-7