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Unit information: Social Psychology and Individual Differences in 2016/17

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Unit name Social Psychology and Individual Differences
Unit code PSYC20001
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1A (weeks 1 - 6)
Unit director Dr. Park
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description

This unit provides an introduction to the study of social psychology and individual differences in behaviour. It is structured around a number of key themes in these areas, including social cognition, person perception, broad behavioural traits and abilities (i.e. personality and intelligence). Evolutionary psychological approaches to social cognition will be introduced. Cognitive and biological mechanisms that underpin personality and intelligence will be considered.

Aims:

  • Develop student's interest, scientific knowledge and understanding of the research on social cognition and individual differences.
  • Introduce students to the principles of psychological testing and the application of these to particular areas such as the understanding of trait theory.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the role of empirical evidence in the formation of theory and how theory guides the collection and interpretation of empirical data.
  • Help students to understand the conceptual and historical issues in the subject matter and their relation to other areas of psychological science.
  • Help students to acquire a wide range of transferable skills.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, the student will:

  • Have a comprehensive understanding and scientific knowledge of the topic and methodological approaches to the study of social psychology and individual differences, including evolutionary and cultural approaches, cognitive and biological mechanisms, and psychometric theories.
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of the application of these approaches to the study of specific areas of psychological science.
  • Be able to integrate this understanding of these methodologies with other areas of psychological science.
  • Be able to understand the conceptual and historical issues in the subject matter of this unit and how they relate to other areas of psychological science.
  • Be able to plan and contribute to seminar-based presentations of topics covered in this unit and have further improved their scientific writing skills.

Teaching details

This unit comprises 16 x 2 hour lectures (the second hour for Q&A purposes), two revision tutorials, and 8 x 1 hour seminars (presenting at one of these).

Assessment Details

Summative assessment with one 1600-word written essay (20%); one oral presentation in seminar (20%) and one 2-hour written exam (60%).

Reading and References

  • Fiske, S. T. & Taylor, S. E. (2013). Social cognition: From brains to culture (2nd ed.). London: SAGE.
  • Mackintosh, N. J. (2011). IQ and human intelligence (2nd ed.). Oxford: UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Matthews, G., Deary, I.J., & Whiteman, M.C. (2009). Personality traits (3rd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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