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Introduction to Psychology



[BSc] Psyc, HI

Admission Requirements



At the most basic level psychology can be defined as the science of mind and behaviour and as such, psychologists are interested in understanding why people behave the way they do. Psychologists wish to answer some of the fundamental questions associated with human existence, for example; why individuals act differently in a group, why some people commit acts of evil, what influences how we remember and forget, how damage to the brain influences our behaviour or personality and to what extent early childhood experiences influence our later social and emotional development? This course will provide a taster of some of the core areas associated with psychology and use these theoretical understandings to explain real world phenomena

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course the student will:

  • Have an understanding of what psychology is, as well as, the differences between associated sub-disciplines.

  • Be able to identify how key theoretical approaches in psychology can be applied to explain real world phenomena.

  • Be able to debate some of the important contemporary issues dominant in psychology today

  • Have the ability to summarise key materials and present these in both oral and written form.

Mode of Instruction

This course will consist of two x two hour weekly seminars which will be delivered through a combination of lectures, class discussion, debates and group presentations. Each week the first meeting will introduce a new core area of psychology through a lecture as well as class participation and exercises. The second weekly meeting will focus on how the material taught in the first meeting applies to real world phenomena. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis


Assessment: In class participation
Learning aim: Interactive engagement with course material
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Ongoing weeks 1-7

Assessment: Class debate
Learning aim: Reading and engaging with the class textbook, identifying and using sources, oral communication.
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Week 6 (5th December)

Assessment: Multiple choice test
Learning aim: Understanding of course materials and key theoretical approaches in psychology.
Percentage: 2 × 15%
Deadline: Week 4 (21st November) Week 7 (12th December)

Assessment: Essay (2500 words)
Learning aim: Understanding of course material, ability to summarise and present key materials in written format.
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Week 8 (17th December 5pm)


Please list any books / texts that students should own for this course. If there is literature recommended for purchase, but not required as compulsory, please indicate so. Please also mention whether you intend to compile a reader for the course and how it will be made available (for instance, electronically via your course website on Blackboard). When doing so, keep in mind the rules for Copyright

Compulsory Literature

  • Gross, R. (2010). Psychology: the science of mind and behaviour, 6th Edition. London: Hodder Education

Other recommended reading will be provided during class and on Blackboard

Contact Information

Weekly Overview

WEEK 1 Introduction to the course

  • Session 1 – What is psychology

  • Session 2 – Key figures in psychology

WEEK 2 Theoretical approaches

  • Session 1 – Behaviourism and humanism

  • Session 2 – Cognition and evolution

WEEK 3 Cognitive psychology

  • Session 1 – What is cognitive psychology

  • Session 2 – Cognitive psychology applied

WEEK 4 Biological psychology

  • Session 1 – What is biological psychology?

  • Session 2 – MCT 1

WEEK 5 Social psychology

  • Session 1 – Conformity

  • Session 2 – Obedience

WEEK 6 Developmental psychology

  • Session 1 – Early experiences and social development

  • Session 2 – Class debate

WEEK 7 Individual differences

  • Session 1 – What are individual differences: Personality

  • Session 2 – MCT 2

Reading week, final essay due.

Preparation for first session