Introductory Psychology | Abertay University

Introductory Psychology


This module introduces key areas of psychology that align with the BPS curriculum (conceptual and historical issues in psychology, cognitive psychology and social psychology) and introduces students to research methods used in the scientific study of behaviour. The theoretical underpinnings of core areas are explored and set in an applied framework to help students understand how psychology research can be used to address real-world problems facing modern societies.


This module introduces the conceptual framework of psychology through the medium of research in various specialist areas of enquiry. The module places emphasis on appreciating the link between scientific study in psychology and understanding issues in the 'real world'. Students are exposed to three core areas of psychology and will gain an understanding how to conduct research in these areas; specifically, students will learn how experiments are designed, run, analysed and reported in the various domains covered in the module. There will be direct reference to how knowledge gained relates to acquisition of intellectual skills required by a psychologist and the attainment of Abertay Attributes. Students will develop expertise in Blackboard, SPSS and Pebble pad as learning tools.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Understand and define key terminology in social and cognitive psychology and research methods and understand the application of psychological research to society.

2.  Demonstrate ability to use Blackboard uploaded materials and tasks by virtue of regular engagement throughout the term.

3.  Carry out data collection, data summary and simple data analysis in class activity and private study. Develop skill in using the software of SPSS for statistical analysis.

4.  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of empirical research in terms of carrying out and writing up experimental data in the form of a lab report.

5.  Use Pebblepad+ to reflect upon their written work. Learn the professional editorial format for psychology. Address their learning needs via Blackboard.

Indicative Content

1 Science, Psychology and Philosophy

How does science work? Is Psychology a science? Is philosophy useful to Psychologists? What is the 'real world' anyway?

2 The engine of the mind. Is memory as a machine?

What memory does and how it does it. What is 'processing' and how does it relate to other activities like learning, remembering, listening, reading and thinking? An example of a typical experiment in memory processing in the real world.

3 Understanding social influence

How do other people influence our behaviour? Why do we conform?

4 Reading, spelling and dyselxia

How do we read and spell? What happens when this process goes wrong?

5 Solving problems - what helps, what hinders?

What happens when we try to reason and solve problems? Why are some problems so hard to solve?

6 Seeing and not seeing - do your eyes deceive you?

Is the evidence provided by your own eyes trustworthy? If not, why not?

7 Consciousness - who do you think you are?

What is the mind? What does consciousness really mean? Is it worth even asking this question if we can't find an answer? How do we know when an entity is conscious even ourselves)? Are computers conscious and can they be in future?

8 Brain damage and language

What happens to speech when there is damage to the speech areas of the brain?

9 Abnormal Psychology

What happens when the balance of the mind is disturbed? How do we assess mental illnesses? How do we treat mental illness?

10 Discovering research by experience

Being a participant and experiencing a range of different types of psychological experiment. Being a researcher. Designing a simple research study. What can go wrong in experiments? Avoiding uncontrolled variables. Understanding descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode), inferential statistics and producing simple graphical representations of data. Learning to talk and write confidently about data and results of analysis.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching: The material is delivered by lectures and workshops supplying subject content, group work, reflection, engagement with learning technology and participation in experiments. Unsupervised practical activity includes one hour a week populating Pebble pad with notes in preparation for research methods classes. Supervised practical activity involves laboratory work to situate learning in a context familiar to students and to make explicit how their degree will help them professionally and personally. The lectures and activities are strongly focused on using psychological knowledge to understand everyday issues and to becoming active learners. Scaffolding is provided in early tasks to facilitate confidence in later independent work. By undertaking formative tasks students will develop the ability to reflect on their own mental processes, identify academic strengths, and address areas requiring further effort. This process facilitates Intellectual/Professional/Personal Attributes. Learning: Formative experiences include group presentations, carrying out experiments, online discussions, quizzes, participating in experiments, engaging with Blackboard and Pebblepad, undertaking peer and self review. The emphasis throughout the module is on relevance to later life and career and gives a framework to consolidate students' learning (Professional/Personal Attributes). Students will learn using Blackboard, Pebblepad and statistical software (SPSS). The Module Leader can identify students' engagement via Blackboard activity monitoring, but there is an assumption that students will seek help from the Module Leader or trainers if they are having difficulty and take responsibility for their own learning (Professional/Personal Attributes). Formative assessment of learning is assessed by an exam and portfolio submission.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 26
Tutorial/Seminar 6
Supervised Practical Activity 10
Unsupervised Practical Activity 40
Assessment 50
Independent 68

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2018/19 , and may be subject to change for future years.