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Unit information: Cognitive Psychology (Conversion) in 2018/19

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Unit name Cognitive Psychology (Conversion)
Unit code PSYCM0059
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2C (weeks 13 - 18)
Unit director Professor. Nick Scott-Samuel
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit provides a comprehensive understanding of how humans and other biological systems behave on the basis of information from the environment (perception) and from past experience (memory). The unit will familiarise students with theories of memory and perception (particularly vision), drawing on evidence from behavioural experiments. It is structured around a number of key themes, including an information-processing view of how photons arriving at the retina are turned in to biologically relevant information; the role of top-down knowledge in perception and memory, and the extent to which both perception and memory are reconstructive; ecological approaches to perception and memory; and the continuity between perception and memory in considering sensory memory, visual and verbal working memory, and priming in perceptual systems.
- Develop student's interest, scientific knowledge and understanding of the study of perception and memory
- Introduce students to the methodological approaches to the study of perception and memory, including behavioural, computational, and neuroscientific approaches, and the application of these to particular areas such as perception of colour, depth, motion and faces; and semantic memory, episodic memory, working memory and procedural memory.
- 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 be able to:

  1. Explain contemporary theories and findings in Cognitive Psychology.
  2. Review methodological approaches to the study of Cognitive Psychology.
  3. Apply knowledge of Cognitive Psychology to understand human behaviour.
  4. Evaluate the conceptual and historical roots of Cognitive Psychology and relate this discipline to other areas of psychological science.

Teaching details

This unit comprises weekly lectures, Q&A, revision tutorials, and seminars (presenting at one of the seminars). In addition, support sessions will be available to aid student’s acquisition of more foundational material.

Assessment Details

- 2000-word written essay (20%);
- Oral presentation in seminar (20%);
- One 2-hour written exam (60%).

Reading and References

Mather, G. (any edition). Foundations of perception. Hove and New York: Psychology Press.

or any other textbook you feel happy with (a list of possibilities will be provided in the first lecture)

Additional recommended and further reading will also be made available through Blackboard.