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Introduction to Psychology

This course will challenge you to think beyond your own experience in the modern world.
Join us, and explore how we become the people we are.

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, 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.

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

This has been the most enriching and unforgettable experience in my life.

Anandita De (India)

Key Facts

Level: Introductory

Fees: Please see fees page

Teaching: 62 hours

Expected independent study: 68 hours

Optional assessment: Dependant on course

Typical credit: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)*
* Please check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, please see our Teaching and assessment page


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.


Week 1

  • Introducing the Science of Brain & Behaviour
  • Being Moral: Emergence of Pro- & Anti-Social Behaviour
  • The Science of Happiness
  • Human Development: How to start building a Human
  • Emotions in Context
  • Building Bridges: Empathy and Society
  • Why does Psychology need Research? Research Methods 1 (Quantitative Skills)

Week 2

  • Cognition in Action: Using Attention
  • Human Intelligence: Myths and Misconceptions
  • Children's Cognitive Development- what is normal?
  • Lifespan Psychology
  • Personality: Can we predict Behaviour?
  • Why does Psychology need Research? Research Methods 2 (Quantitative Skills)

Week 3

  • Neuropsychology
  • Forensic Psychology: The Dark Side of Humanity
  • The Psychology of Social Class
  • Mental Health & Wellbeing
  • Revision & Exam Preparation

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 on most weekdays, 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 (2018; 6th ed.)
Michael Gazzaniga. Publishers: W.W. Norton & Company
ISBN 9780393640342

Entry Requirements

There are no prerequisites for this course. This course is open to students studying any discipline at University level. We welcome individuals from all backgrounds, including students who are currently studying another subject but who want to broaden their knowledge in another discipline. Students should also meet our standard entry requirements and must be aged 18 or over by the time the Summer School commences and have a good understanding of the English language.

Please note changes to the syllabus and teaching team may be made over the coming months before exact set of topics are finalised.

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