PYMIP-Introduction to Psychology for Finance

Module Provider: Psychology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: ICM103 Quantitative Methods for Finance and ICM106 Financial Markets and ICM107 Securities, Futures and Options and ICM108 Fixed Income and Equity Investments
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2015/6

Module Convenor: Dr Philip Beaman


Summary module description:
This module provides the basics to understand the relevance of psychological research to financial markets, including details on "what is psychology" and how the subject is studied.

The aim of the module is to introduce students to the scope and nature of psychology as a science relevant to the understanding of financial markets. 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 relevant to the study of human behaviour within finance, such as cognitive, social and biological psychology. Students will study some of the classical studies within psychology, as well as being introduced to newer topics.

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 a knowledge of the central and peripheral nervous systems, with particular emphasis on the brain and the role of emotion regulatory systems and the experience of emotion in judgment, risk assessment and decision-making.
(b) Show a knowledge of core areas within cognitive psychology, including attention, memory, judgment and decision-making.
(c) Explain some of the factors in social influence, including concepts such as conformity, (majority influence), groupthink, and explanations of why people conform. Explain some of the basic tenets of game theory and how it relates to human behaviour in groups.
(d) 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.

Additional outcomes:
Students will gain experience from participating in group discussions and activities. They will also gain experience in presentation and dissemination skills.

Outline content:
This course of 5 x 3-hour seminars will use a mixture of lectures, guided activities, group discussions and student presentations.

The course will provide an overview of both classic and cutting-edge studies in Psychology and will discuss how this research is applicable to behaviour of individuals within financial markets and possible impacts on market behaviour. An example list of session titles are:
1. Brain bases of behaviour
2. Cognitive limitations and biases
3. Behaviour within and between groups
4. Value, emotions, choice and risk
5. Stress and behaviour.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The classroom sessions will be made up of a mixture of lectures, interactive discussions, group activities and student presentations. These will be further supported by a mixture of follow-up activities and guided reading.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 15
Guided independent study 85
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Extended essay report

Formative assessment methods:
Psychology tests, exercises, and group work in class

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Reassessment is by a further piece of coursework.

Last updated: 24 March 2015

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