Skip to main content

Unit information: Myths and Misconceptions about Psychology in 2020/21

Unit name Myths and Misconceptions about Psychology
Unit code PSYC10005
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Lewandowsky
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit is designed to counter common misconceptions that are currently pervasive in our society and explain why they are wrong or inaccurate. Not only are popular psychology myths misleading about human nature, but they also lead many to make unwise decisions. For example, many myths are exploited by some individuals for financial gain whereas others can be dangerous or lead to injustice.

The aims of this unit are to consider common myths from a scientific perspective, and in doing so, many of the key empirical studies in the history of psychology will be covered.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

  1. Explain that psychology is not just common sense but rather, a necessarily scientific approach to dealing with the foibles of human thought and behaviour
  2. Describe the key studies in psychology over the last 100 or so years.
  3. List some of the notable issues which are still of interest to psychologists today.

Teaching details

One synchronous event (2 hours) per week with asynchronous material and interactive tasks. Online drop-in sessions related to the portfolios will be provided (two per term).

Assessment Details

Assessment and Award of Credit:

  • Portfolio x 2 (50% each), consisting of 1 post each
  • A reasonable attempt of all assessment must be made for the award of credit.

Reading and References


Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Ruscio, J., & Beyerstein, B. L. (2010). 50 great myths of popular psychology: Shattering widespread misconceptions about human behaviour. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.


Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. London: Allen Lane.

Gilovich, T. (1993). How we know what isn’t so: The fallibility of human reason in everyday life. New York: Free Press.

Della Sala, S. (Ed.). (1999). Mind myths: Exploring popular assumptions about the mind and brain. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Hood, B. (2009). Supersense: From superstition to religion – the brain science of belief. London: Constable & Robinson.

Additional recommended and further reading will be made available through Blackboard