Module Provider: Psychology
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Daniel Lamport


Summary module description:

The aim of the module is to introduce students to the scope and nature of psychology as a science. The emphasis will be on acquiring knowledge and understanding thereby developing students’ transferable skills of analysis, evaluation and critical thinking.
The content of the module offers a range of core topics with a strong focus on the scientific method and research practice. Students will be introduced to a number of core areas within psychology such as Cognitive Psychology, Developmental and Social Psychology, Biological Psychology and Psychopathology. Students will study some of the classical studies within psychology, as well as being introduced to newer topics such as Eating Behaviour. Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour, so the module begins with a study of the human brain.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be able to show a knowledge and understanding of concepts and theories and studies in relation to the following areas. Students will be able to:

(a)Show knowledge of the nervous and endocrine systems as a means of co-ordination. The central and peripheral nervous systems, with particular emphasis on the brain. Sensory organs with special reference to the eye

(b) Show knowledge of one areas within Cognitive Psychology (memory) including having a critical understanding of two models of memory: the multi-store model and the working memory model, be able to describe concepts of encoding, capacity and duration, and outline the strengths and weaknesses of these models. Be able to apply the knowledge of memory to reconstructive memory (eyewitness testimony).
(c)Show knowledge of early social development including explanations of attachment, including learning theory, Bowlby. Types of attachment, use of ‘Strange Situation’ in attachment research. Cultural variations in attachment. Disruption of attachment, failure to form attachment (privation) and institutional care.
(d)Be able to explain some of the factors in social influence, including concepts such as conformity, (majority influence) and explanations of why people conform. Types of conformity, including internalization and compliance. Obedience to authority including Milgram’s work and explanations of why people obey. How people resist pressures to conform and obey authority. How social influence research helps us to understand social change. Students will be able to show they can evaluate the major social influence research studies
(e)Be able to understand the effects of stress on the immune system, including the body’s response to stressors, including the pituitary-adrenal system and the sympathomedullary pathway. Stress related illness and the immune system. Life changes and daily hassles, workplace stress, personality factors in stress.
(f)Be able to show knowledge of the factors influencing attitudes to food and eating behavior, (cultural influences, mood, health). Neural mechanisms involved in controlling eating behavior, evolutionary explanations of food preference. Be able to explain and evaluate psychological and biological explanations for eating disorders (anorexia, obesity).
(g)Be able to understand problems associated with classification and diagnosis of schizophrenia, including issues of reliability and validity. Biological explanations of schizophrenia including genetics, biochemistry. Psychological explanations of schizophrenia including behavioural, cognitive, psychodynamic and socio-cultural.
(h)Students will be expected to demonstrate a knowledge and practical understanding of research methods such as experiment (laboratory, field, natural), correlational analyses, questionnaires and case studies. Be able to design a piece of research including aims, hypothesis, method, piloting, and be able to write a set of standardized instructions and consent form. Experimental design, operationalisation of variables and sampling procedures. Students must be aware of the BPS Code of Ethics. In addition students will need to show a practical understanding of data analysis, presentation and interpretation, including the presentation of both descriptive and inferential statistics. They will be able to show an understanding of measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion, and analysis of correlational data.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to encourage the development of scientific writing with aan acceptable level of spelling, punctuation and grammar. Students will also develop their IT skills in presenting their work and in searching IT sources for information.

Outline content:
The module is divided into three main parallel areas which are taught consecutively throughout the year: Psycho-biology - Statistics - Psychological topics.

Psycho-biology: Overview of nervous and endocrine systems. The central and peripheral nervous systems, including structure of neurones, reflex arc, membrane potential, action potential, synapses and neurotransmitters. The endocrine system, Structure and function of brain. Sensory organs, practical investigation of eye.

Statistics Research design and data analysis, measures of dispersion, central tendency, correlation and regression analysis,

Psychological topics will include: Cognitive Psychology (Memory, perception), Developmental Psychology (Attachment), Social Psychology (Conformity and
Obedience), Biological Psychology (Stress), Clinical Psychology (Schizophrenia) and Eating Behaviour.

Global context:
Be able to understand cultural differences on the topics being studied.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 44 44 12
Seminars 11 11 3
Tutorials 11 11 3
Guided independent study 119 119 12
Total hours by term 185.00 185.00 30.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 55
Written assignment including essay 25
Class test administered by School 20

Other information on summative assessment:
2 end of term tests (1.5 hours each exam) - 10% for each exam
1 end of year exam (3 hours) - 55%
4 written assignments: 1 biological practical/scientific report, statistics practical and 2 essays on the psychology topics - 25%

Formative assessment methods:
Biology and statistics practices during the year.
Psychology tests, exercises, group work in class, research practicals.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    3 hours

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment is by one 3 hour examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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