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An Introduction to Psychology

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course offers an introduction to the key principles and theories of human thought and behaviour. It will explore questions such as: Why do we sleep? How do we make decisions and solve problems? How do other people influence or shape our behaviour? What determines the quality of our relationships? How do we remember and why do we forget?

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


Content of Course

The course will open with a brief overview of how psychology developed as an academic discipline and an introduction to methodologies most commonly deployed in its study. The subsequent units are arranged around broad themes, including: language, consciousness, memory, social interaction, and
psychopathology. Students will develop knowledge of research and current trends within each of these areas. The earlier topics will focus on the essential biological and mental processes that facilitate goal-directed behaviour. As the course progresses, there will be an increasing emphasis on the specific psychological and environmental factors that influence and alter action and
cognition. The latter part of the course will discuss human interaction, the primary focus of social psychology, and the nature and treatment of psychological disorders.

Teaching method(s)

Classes will involve a mixture of lecture-based teaching, tutorials, videos, discussions, and demonstrations of experimental methods. During this time, concrete examples of psychological concepts will be provided. Students will be encouraged to utilise their newly acquired knowledge outside of the classroom, for example by trying out techniques to support their memory. In class, students will be encouraged to engage in weekly discussions and to consider the role of psychology in contemporary society.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain basic terms and concepts associated with different facets of psychological research;

  • Critically evaluate different theories of human behaviour;

  • Identify common research methods used in the study of psychology;

  • Recognise that sociocultural contexts may influence the development and application of psychological principles;

  • llustrate the relevance of psychological concepts in real-life settings.


Core Readings



  • Baddeley, A., Eysenck, M.W. and Anderson, M.C. , 2014. Memory. 2nd ed. Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press.

  • Branscombe, N.R. and Baron, R. A. , 2016. Social Psychology. 14th ed. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

  • Corballis, M.C.2014. Left Brain,Right Brain:Facts and Fantasies. PLOS Biology,12(1), e1001767.

  • Eysenck, M.W. and Brysbaert, M. , 2018. Fundamentals of Cognition. 3rd ed. Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press.

  • Eysenck, M.W. and Keane, M.T. , 2015. Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook. 7th ed. Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press.

  • Holt, N., Bremner, A., Sutherland, E. and Vliek, M., 2015. Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour. 3rd ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

  • Siegel, J. M., 2003. Why We Sleep. Scientific American, 289(5), pp. 92-97.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.