This core module for BPS accreditation examines the role of our similarities and differences in our functioning as humans. Specifically, it explores the contribution of components of personality and intelligence, how these have been understood historically, and how these are conceptualized and measured in modern individual differences theory/ research.
At first glance, this module can seem laden with theory and historical context, but in reality, we can think of it as being one of the topics closest to our intuitive understanding of ourselves and others. In other words; how do we see ourselves and how do we understand behaviour well enough to predict it across different situations? And, how are psychological scientists able to measure the concepts involved, reflecting both groups and individuals?
Speaking at least one language is a universal human ability. Wherever humans are discovered, whatever else they are doing, they are talking. Conversing in our mother-tongue feels so effortless that we don’t regard it as a skill or accomplishment, yet this behaviour relies on some remarkably intricate mental computational. This course will address questions such as: How does human language differ from other species communication? What kind of knowledge about our language do we have to store? How do we access and use that information as we talk or listen to others? How do children acquire these complex abilities from an early age? Is there a critical period for language learning? What do we know about how language is stored in the brain? Students will learn about the different experimental methodologies which are to explore these questions and will be encouraged to evaluate key theories of Language and Cognition.
How do we perceive the world and recognise the objects and people we encounter? How do we plan and control our actions? What do illusions tell us about how perceptual processes work? How do we pay attention to all the information that is coming into our senses? This module considers the mechanisms and principles that underlie our ability to perceive, plan and act, and examines diverse phenomena including face recognition, selective attention, colour experience, depth perception and illusions. The course also discusses case studies of patients who have suffered brain damage leading to impairments in the ability to recognise objects, recognise familiar faces, plan or perform actions, and considers what cognitive neuropsychology can tell us about how we perceive, plan and act.
This module develops the practical skills and knowledge you need for your second and third year projects. You learn how to understand and analyse data from a project, and how to design and plan a study of your own. You also develop the critical skills needed to evaluate the quality of published research. This module uses a wide range of teaching methods, including lecturing, practical laboratory classes, and online video tutorials. In 2013, one of the teaching staff won the Student Union prize for best assessment feedback in the University, nominated by students in this class.
The Second Year Project gives students a chance to do original research using their own ideas. Starting with a classic piece of experimental research, students work together in groups and with the advice of an expert supervisor to extend this work in a new direction. A poster session gives groups the chance to present their research to other students and staff.
Developmental psychology concerns what happens to children’s minds and their social worlds as they move from birth to adolescence. We will consider such questions as: What do new-born babies know about the world? Why are some children more popular than others? What is the best way to educate children? Developmental psychology combines approaches from many areas of psychology, including cognitive psychology, neuroscience, behavioural genetics and social psychology.
The module aims to extend the basic psychobiological knowledge acquired in the first year to more complex issues of nervous system functioning and nervous system/endocrine system interactions in order to enable students to appreciate how a psychobiological perspective might help us to understand human behaviour. Particular emphasis will be placed on providing an insight into the complexities of psychobiological research, its recent advances, as well as its limits. A further aim is to encourage students to address and discuss challenging, up-to-date topics in psychobiology by requiring assessed group work instead of individual work, thereby encouraging students to develop their team-player capabilities and communication skills.
The module discusses social psychology as the scientific study of human behaviour as influenced by other people and the social situation within which the behaviour occurs. It aims to provide an introduction to central concepts, theories and research in social psychology, and to discuss the contribution which social psychology makes to understanding the individual as a social being in a social context.