Module details for Human Psychology: Why are we different?


Human Psychology: Why are we different?


The module aims to provide students with a critical and comprehensive understanding of the main factors that shape diversity in human behaviour and how this diversity can be studied.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Understand how biology and the environment interact to shape differences in the development of human behaviour.

2.  Understand the main theoretical approaches to human development and individual differences.

3.  Understand key research methods used to measure development and variability.

4.  Evaluate empirical studies of human development and individual differences.

Indicative Content

1 Nature X Nurture

Brain maturation, neonatal biases, experience-expectant vs. experience-dependent development. How do human babies learn from sparse data? What can AI learn from human babies?

2 Heritability

Behavioural genetics: twin studies, adoption studies, epigenetic effects; genome-wide association studies of human behaviour and mental health

3 Individual differences in language

Basic themes in language learning. Humans vs. NLP – BERTology and other ways of comparing biological and artificial language processing systems

4 Individual differences in cognition

Cognition vs. intelligence. History of IQ testing, factor-analytical approaches (g), longitudinal studies (Lothian Birth Cohort), intelligence and health, current debates on ethics and viability of IQ research.

5 Individual differences in personality

Darwin’s finches, state and trait variables, models of personality (e.g. the Big Five), cognition and personality.

6 Trajectories of human development

Drivers of development, maturational stage theories, complex-systems theories, continuity and change, cultural differences, growth and decline, longitudinal and cohort studies, exploration of developmental datasets

7 Human interaction

Social Learning and social interaction, dialogue, tuning into each other. How to quantify interaction? (e.g., auto and cross-recurrence analysis of developmental and communication data sets)

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 8
Practical Activity 0
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.