Module details for Cognitive Perspectives on Psychology


This module will introduce the cognitive and social aspects of the BPS core curriculum. Cognitive psychology encompasses much of what are considered ‘mental processes’. These processes range from relatively low-level processes of perception to higher level things like memory and decision making. The module will combine conventional lectures on cognitive psychology, supported by practical classes exposing students to experiments as participants.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with : a critical and comprehensive understanding of the major topics, empirical research and theoretical approaches in cognitive psychology. The student will learn about how cognitive psychology works as a science, and will participate in experiments to deepen their understanding.

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.  Convey the major features of cognitive psychological processes.

3.  Understand the key models and research findings in cognition psychology.

4.  Evaluate psychological research findings.

5.  Describe an experimental paradigm, using a conventional laboratory report structure.

Indicative Content

1 Conceptual and historical perspectives in cognition

Origins of research in cognition, and cognitive neuropsychology. Understanding how cognitive processes operate in different brain areas.

2 Neural architectures

Neurones, receptive fields and vision. How does the brain connect the world outside with our thoughts and experiences?

3 Perception and recognition

The recognition of objects and faces.

4 Attention

Is cognition a limited resource to be allocated carefully or do we attend to everything?

5 Learning and memory

What circumstances determine how we learn new information? How is this information stored in our brains and how do we access this information while reasoning?

6 Decision making and problem solving

How do we choose responses; how do we solve problems?

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 26
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Practical Activity 6
Assessment 40
Independent 128
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.