Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology
You’ll learn about the scientific, historical, and philosophical underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, which will demonstrate the inherent variability and diversity in the theoretical approaches to psychology.
By the end of the module, you will have a good knowledge and critical understanding of the influences of history on psychological theories.
Personality and Individual Differences
You will explore psychological explanations of personality and individual differences. In particular, the major personality theories are considered in detail and the application of these theories to areas such as abnormal psychology, criminal behaviour, and health are discussed. IQ is also covered and the evolutionary bases of traits. Complementary and alternatives to trait approaches are discussed.
Neuroscience and Behaviour
This module will cover issues in neuroscience and behaviour that are particularly relevant to understanding the biological bases of psychological functions.
Among the topics to be covered are psychopharmacology, psychobiological explanations of mental disorders, dementia, sexual development and behaviour, and methods of studying neuropsychological processes.
You will also examine the effects of brain damage on mental functioning including amnesias, agnosias, and aphasias, among other topics.
Social and Developmental Psychology
Examine theories and experimental studies of social processes and human development.
Topics relating to social processes will include:
- social cognition and social thinking
- conformity and obedience
- intergroup behaviour
- theories of attraction and relationships
- prosocial behaviour and intrinsic motivation
Human development topics are also explored in depth such as the:
- development of phonology
- importance of social referencing in early language acquisition
- atypical socio-cognitive development in people with autism
Empirical Research Project
You will undertake an independent research project over the summer of your second year. You will be supervised by a research-active academic. This is your opportunity to further your knowledge in a particular area.
You will examine in greater depth - perception, language, human memory, thinking, and problem-solving.
For each topic, you will explore existing theories and contemporary issues to enable you to take an interdisciplinary perspective.
Research Methods and Analysis
This module will cover the basic concepts and assumptions with respect to univariate and multivariate statistics, as well as issues relating to field studies, ethics, the reliability and validity issues as well as basic qualitative techniques. The module will cover ANOVA, post-hoc tests, power, multiple linear regression, factor analysis, the nature of causality and field designs (both experimental and quasi-experimental), ethics, the reliability and validity of measures and field designs, as well as exploring some basic issues in questionnaire design and qualitative methods.
This module supports the development of practical and conceptual skills necessary for running experiments in psychology and interpreting data.
- experimental design
- interpretation of summary data
- analysis of quantitative and qualitative data
- implementing experiments with the computer-based user-interface PsychoPy
- writing up appropriate reports
- working independently as well as in groups.
This module will introduce you to the concept of abnormal psychology and the application of psychology in clinical settings. The module will illustrate how psychological models are developed and how they are applied in developing interventions. The emphasis will be on examining theory and evaluation of interventions for a number of disorders/clinical issues.
Neuropsychology of Action: The Body in the Brain
This module examines the psychological and neural basis for the planning and control of human action. You will be introduced to scientific research through guided exploration of the neuropsychological bases for human action. You will experience the multi-disciplinary nature of research into human behaviour and, by the end of the module, will understand how a single issue can be addressed from multiple perspectives including: experimental psychology, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neuropsychology, and functional brain-imaging.
Understanding Developmental Disorders
This module explores how psychologists study and understand disorders of cognitive development. The course focuses largely on disorders which include impairments in attention, memory and/or executive function. Disorders covered include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, reading disorders and Down Syndrome.
Neuropsychology and Applied Neuroimaging
You will examine the deficits seen in individuals who have suffered brain damage. You will learn about the impairments to language, memory, perception, attention, motor control, executive control, and emotion.
This module evaluates both the clinical and theoretical aspects of these syndromes. In particular, you will evaluate the implications regarding how the healthy brain functions.
Cognitive Development and Autism
This module will cover modern versions of nativist and empiricist theories of cognitive development. It will also give an overview of current theories which have been proposed to explain Autism Spectrum Disorder. It will provide an evaluation of these theories using behavioural, clinical and neurophysiological evidence from a range of domains including: Sensory and visual processing; drawing and musical skills (savant skills); social and emotional processing; imitation.
Forensic and Mental Health
The area of forensic mental health is extremely pertinent in both the criminal justice system and mental health services, as well as the integration of the two. It is a growing area of research in psychology and it is a popular area of work for many psychology graduates.
The module will concentrate on offending behaviours, typical categorisation of those who commit crimes or harm themselves, standard interventions for offenders and the neuroscience of offending. It will also cover the current research on specific offending behaviours, and examine the role of the criminal justice system and health service in dealing with individuals who offend.
This module provides an introduction to the contexts in which educational psychologists operate by examining the historical development of this profession within a set of major legislative and policy contexts, such as the recent drive to increase social inclusion. In particular, successes in, and barriers to, establishing a role as scientist-practitioners in educational settings will be explored.
The module will concentrate on assessment and intervention work with specific populations such as young people who display challenging behaviour in schools, vulnerable adolescents, and bilingual learners. Additionally, it will examine psychological approaches to group work with teachers and pupils as well as the application of system theory in helping transform aspects of schools and other organisations.
Altruism, Cooperation and Helping
The course will cover theories and models of altruism, cooperation and helping form the perspective of psychology, economics and evolutionary biology. Among the theories examined will be reputation-based, strong-reciprocity, warm-glow and crowding and altruistic punishment from economics; kin selection, reciprocity, coercion, mutualism, cooperative breeding from biology; and empathy, personality, sexual selection and situational constraints from psychology.
You will consider why people sometimes don't help and actively try to benefit from others and apply these models to anti-social behaviour, and how we cooperate to inflict injury on other groups. It will also examine not just models of helping others, but also why people ask for help. You will finally look at how charities implement some of these principles and if they are successful.
The Visual Brain: Evolution, Development, Learning and Adaptation
The central theme of this module is to explore how the architecture and function of the visual brain has been designed and shaped by experiences over a range of timescales. The innate properties of the eye and visual brain that are present at birth have been designed over millions of years of evolution. The brain continues to physically change it structure and function within a lifetime a property termed brain plasticity. Over the years of development, brain plasticity is the driving force for the maturation of different visual brain functions. Even well into adulthood, plasticity is retained in the form of learning, which can optimise performance for certain visual tasks and be exploited for therapeutic uses. Another prominent form of plasticity in the visual brain is that caused by adaptation effects of visual experience over the preceding tens of milliseconds to minutes. The module will examine the consequences of evolution, development, learning and adaptation for visual brain function and perception.
Mechanisms of Learning and Psychopathology
Supported by lectures, seminars and tutorials, this module aims to provide you with an understanding of the mechanisms of learning and memory in human and non-human animals, and an analysis of pathological conditions involving these systems.
You’ll study topics that include:
- perceptual learning
- the contextual and attentional modulation of learning and behaviour
- neuroscience-focused topics such as the role of the hippocampus in memory
Clinical topics include:
- the acquisition of phobias
- memory discords
- the psychological side effects of cancer treatment