Cognitive Psychology | Abertay University

Cognitive Psychology


This module focuses on the cognitive processes that are involved when people perceive, learn, remember, reason and think. It provides an overview and critical evaluation of the major topics.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with an in-depth exploration of topics and methodologies in Cognitive Psychology.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Understand conceptual and historical Issues in Cognitive Psychology, the origins and philosophical underpinnings.

2.  Describe the key areas of the brain and explain how each supports different aspects of cognition.

3.  Describe and critically evaluate the use of experimental paradigms in the field of cognitive psychology when attempting to understand specific aspects of human performance.

4.  Compare and contrast theoretical insights and basic research findings to practical applications of Cognitive Psychology in society.

Indicative Content

1 Historical and conceptual issues

The historical and theoretical development of cognitive psychology.

2 Attention

Focused and divided attention; Visual and auditory attention.

3 Perception

Overview of the visual system and visual information processing; Perception of events; Perceptual aspects of reading, hearing and listening.

4 Learning

Skill acquisition and expertise.

5 Thinking and reasoning

Problem solving; Decision making.

6 Memory

Including Baddeley's model of working memory. Also, semantic, episodic, explicit and implicit long term memory. Encoding and retrieval processes.

7 Cognitive Neuropsychology

Biological substrates underlying cognition; The brain- damaged mind; Amnesia; Aphasia; Prosopagnosia.

8 Practical classes

Three experimental practical classes will explore key paradigms and topics within cognitive psychology. During each practical session the students will administer and participate in experiments. Data will be pooled for graphical presentation and for a discussion of appropriate analyses.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module is designed to help students understand and evaluate theoretical and empirical research on a range of topics within Cognitive Psychology. The module comprises lecture-based delivery, supervised practical activities, discussion tutorials and a presentation made by the students. During the formal lecture-based teaching, core material will be delivered. There are two hours of scheduled feedback oriented activity. Students will be expected (and encouraged) to actively engage with the material presented in this module. They will also be expected (and supported) to independently source their own relevant reading material to use as evidence to support the arguments they present in the class presentation and the exam. The assessments facilitate an appreciation of the place of academic knowledge in society and prepare the student for more profound investigations in the summer project. This module is designed not only to inculcate knowledge of cognitive psychology, but also to help the students acquire the Abertay Attributes. Students will develop their skills in critical evaluation and will increase their knowledge of cognitive psychology and the methodologies employed. The presentation will expand their professional skills and aid their personal development. Students will become aware of the differences present in cognitive abilities across populations and either through normal variability or through an acquired illness. This will help them understand better the needs of others, helping them become an active citizen.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 14
Tutorial/Seminar 5
Supervised Practical Activity 13
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 40
Independent 128

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.