Introductory Psychology


This module will introduce students to some of the core areas in psychology through evaluation of seminal studies that have shaped our discipline. We will take an integrated approach, covering historical, theoretical and contemporary research that underpins our knowledge of human brain and behaviour.


This module introduces the conceptual framework of psychology through the medium of research in various specialist core 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 seminal psychological studies and will gain understanding of how these studies relate to contemporary research. 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.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Understand and define key terminology in social, biological and cognitive psychology 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.  Understand that psychology encompasses a wide range of topics, which all help us understand ourselves and the world around us in different ways.

4.  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of seminal psychological studies and their relationship to contemporary research.

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 Environmental impacts on development

How does rearing history affect cognitive and behavioural development?

4 Reading, spelling and dyslexia

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 and behaviour

How do physical factors relate to psychological constructs? Are different brain areas responsible for different functions?

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?


Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching: The material is delivered by lectures and workshops supplying subject content, group work, engagement with learning technology and participation in experiments. 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 online discussions, quizzes, participating in experiments, engaging with Blackboard, 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). 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 poster submission.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 50
Independent 114

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 2019/20 , and may be subject to change for future years.