Module details for Psychology Mythbusters: Separating breakthroughs from fake news


This module will examine the many grandiose claims that are peddled as 'psychological fact' by the media, e.g. listening to classical music will improve a child's IQ. Many industries have been based on dubious claims about the human brain and behaviour. Here we will discuss such claims and evaluate if they have substance. The module is student-led with the cohort contributing to setting of the curriculum. The majority of taught time is small group teaching guided by an academic facilitator. Students are required to actively participate in class discussions.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with a better understanding of the difference between 'pop psychology' and scientific evaluation. It provides the opportunity to develop oral communication skills and develop a more critical reading perspective. There will also be the opportunity to develop science writing skills.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Identify and evaluate the scientific evidence surrounding a number of popular myths about the mind and behaviour.

2.  Write effectively and succinctly for an academic audience.

3.  Develop more critical evaluation skills and to improve research and library skills.

4.  Formulate and present an argument in written forms from a wide number of fields in psychology.

Indicative Content

1 Paranormal Beliefs and Experiences

Is Extrasensory Perception Real?

2 Myths about the Brain

Can repressed memories be recovered in therapy? How easily are false memories created?

3 Myths about our Mind and Body

Does “Power Posing” really work? What evidence is there for out of body experiences? Can we use our mind to cure cancer and other ailments? Is there such a thing as a 'gay gene'?

4 Myths about Language

Does being bilingual make you smarter and keep your brain younger?

5 Psychology and Society

Is our behaviour being manipulated through Behavioural Economics? What evidence is there that video games make people more violent?

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 2
Tutorial/Seminar 9
Practical Activity 1
Assessment 44
Independent 144
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

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 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.