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Mental processes such as attention, memory, language and categorisation form the basis of our creative human cognitive abilities. An understanding of these cognitive abilities and the methods used by cognitive psychologists to study them provides an essential foundation for ongoing study in psychology. Classic and current research findings will be discussed to reveal what is known about the workings of the human mind.
Specific topics may include: Perceptual processes and their role in cognition; the nature and function of selective attention; categorisation and the mental representation of knowledge; the structure, function and organisation of the human memory system; human linguistic ability, including language acquisition, language disorders, and models of spoken and written language processes; higher order cognitive processes such as explanation formation and decision making.
A quantitative methods component will be integrated into the lecture, tutorial and assessment structure of this subject to provide an understanding of and practical experience with the experimental design and statistical analysis techniques used to evaluate theories in Cognitive Psychology.
Intended learning outcomes
Knowledge: On completion of this subject students should demonstrate knowledge of:
- the historical and philosophical foundations of cognitive psychology;
- the key theories, models and experimental findings central to cognitive psychology;
- the core assumptions of the major competing paradigms in cognitive psychology;
- the research methods and ethical principles appropriate to the design and analysis of research questions in Cognitive Psychology.
Skills: On completion of this subject students should have developed skills in:
- critical review of the main theories in one or more areas of cognitive psychology;
- derivation of empirical predictions from a cognitive theory and assessing the adequacy of these against a set of experimental findings;
- summarising and analysing data in a way that is appropriate to the empirical test of a cognitive theory;
- working as part of a group to develop and present an oral presentation/debate on a topic related to cognitive psychology.
Application of knowledge and skills:
On completion of this subject students should be able to apply their knowledge and skills to explain how cognitive psychology theories, measurement techniques, and research findings can inform everyday problems in areas such as:
- biases in decision-making;
- failures of attention and memory;
- eye-witness testimony;
- reasoning and solving problems;
- learning and remembering information;
- the role of cognition in the development and maintenance of psychological disorders;
- cultural assumptions of cognitive theories and methods for measuring cognitive processes.
Students will be given appropriate opportunity and educational support to develop skills to:
- conceptualise theoretical problems, form hypotheses, and arguments;
- communicate ideas clearly in written and oral formats;
- work effectively in a team on a group project;
- critically analyse research findings.
Last updated: 22 January 2020