Evolutionary Psychology: A Critical Introduction (BPS Textbooks in Psychology)

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Learn the essential skills needed to study psychology at degree level including academic skills, personal development and research studies. Broaden your academic and psychological literacy via a series of research projects and practicals supported by personal tutors.


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Consider the relationship between biology and the human mind. Examine how DNA ultimately gives rise to thinking, conscious and complex human beings.

Evolutionary Psychology: A Critical Introduction

Explore genetics and evolution, as well as the core areas of biological psychology, cognitive psychology and individual differences across topics as diverse as addiction, altruism, and sexuality. Focus on the way in which humans communicate with each other and operate in their social world. Explore the core areas of developmental psychology, cognitive psychology and social psychology across topics such as perception, language, interpersonal relationships, emotion, autism, and psychopathy.

Examine biological, cognitive, and social models of mental illness and mental health. Consider a number of mental health problems including mood disorders such as depression and anxiety , psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia , eating disorders, and personality disorders. Analyse behaviours that pose a risk to physical and mental health, including alcohol and drug use, poor diet, and a lack of physical activity.

Address common misconceptions about psychology and the role of the media in these misconceptions. Examine how the media influences the behaviour of individuals, and the application of psychological theories to understanding why people believe false and sensational claims.

Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Work on a number of research projects across core areas of psychology. Develop more advanced skills in research methods, and gain opportunities to have input into research design as you become more skilled. Learn more advanced data analysis skills and apply these in the research projects.

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Explore your own potential as a lifelong learner and leader. Develop your understanding of the importance of agency and self-advocacy in relation to life and career transitions and how lifelong learning can enhance social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development, but also self-sustainability and employability. Use research techniques that include psychometric measures, narrative and storytelling. Undertake volunteering opportunities to provide an additional context in which to consider your lifelong learning and leadership characteristics — and to develop a sense of your future professional self.

Meet a fictional family as you learn about the psychology of the human journey through the lifespan, from parent-offspring conflict in the womb to explanations for ageing and death. Explore topics including attachment, the 'teenage brain' and challenges in adolescence, personality development and cognitive change. Apply social, cognitive and biological psychology to understanding everyday motivations and biases in, for example, perception and memory. Explore topics including vision and sensory perception, social group processes, aggression, eyewitness testimony and eating disorders. Study the extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, including those labelled as paranormal.

Understand and explain, within the context of science, the bizarre experiences people have had and why people believe in anomalous events and the explanations surrounding them. Consider various anomalous experiences e. Learn about theory and research in evolutionary psychology and animal behaviour and how research on human and non-human animals can be integrated and applied to understanding aspects of contemporary life.

Evaluate the extent to which we can learn about human psychology by studying non-human animals, what research on other animals tells us about the idea that humans are special, and the implications of research on animal behaviour for our understanding of the abilities of other animals, and how we treat them.


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  • Topics covered on this module may include, health and happiness, mate preferences, mating strategies and parenting, evolutionary approaches to contemporary and popular culture, hormones and behaviour, social organisation and social living and intelligence and cognition. Draw on your knowledge of psychology generally, and of these different specialisms to apply different perspectives to current, real-world psychological issues in a problem-based learning context.

    Topics will vary from year to year but may include defining normality and abnormality, the effects of the media on aspects of psychology, the role of comparative research in psychology, gender issues, schizophrenia, and the stability of personality. Focus on three core skills of clinical psychology. Learn a range of methods used by psychologists to assess a service user such as psychometric tests, interviews and taking a history. Learn how a clinical psychologist integrates the results of assessments of various methods with different psychological models to develop hypotheses and interventions tailored to the individual service user.

    Learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of practice based on existing evidence through reading systematic reviews, and learn how to design your own research to evaluate the effectiveness of psychological practice. Investigate how psychology is used in detecting and interviewing suspects, and collecting evidence for conviction, including eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, and confessions.

    Examine sources of bias in the collection and presentation of forensic evidence, fallibility of eye-witness memory, and how to recognise and decrease the risk of mistakes. Examine the psychology of the courtroom, focusing particularly on jury decision-making. Focus on how different aspects of psychology can be used to understand and enhance the probability of detecting and convicting offenders. Consider forensic scenarios and case studies which will facilitate the application of knowledge and understanding of theories and research from social, cognitive, biological, and developmental psychology, and individual differences.

    Work with a supervisor to apply what you have learned in research methods modules to your own research project. Report your findings in an extensive research report, and present your project in the form of an academic poster at our poster conference. Explore the development of our understanding of neurodiversity.

    Highlights

    Address the historical progression of how we have characterised neurodiverse populations, including autism spectrum conditions and Williams syndrome, from early diagnostic formulation to current day. Examine biological aspects of neurodiversity such as brain differences, as well as their relevance to cognition and behaviour.

    Study relevant topics in neurodiversity, including relationships, healthcare and education. Gain specialist knowledge of Environmental Psychology, an applied sub-discipline of Psychology which bridges a range of core areas and related disciplines such as architecture, planning, and geography. Take an introductory look at the psychology of both substance and non-substance-related addictive behaviours.

    Examine a variety of addictive behaviours such as alcoholism, addiction to psychoactive drugs, gambling, and sex addiction, as well as theories relating to the development, persistence, control and treatment of addictive behaviours. Link these behaviours to various areas of psychology such as the biological effects of drug use, how cognition plays a role in addictive behaviours and the social implications of addiction. Under supervision, critically evaluate the current understanding of the topic from multiple psychological perspectives and identify themes within the established literature.

    Consider possible future research directions that would extend the understanding of your chosen topic. Look at the nature of cognitive and emotional impairments following brain damage in adults. Apply psychology to understanding offenders and a number of common forms of serious and violent offending encountered in forensic settings. Study cyberpsychology, the psychology of how humans interact with technology and online environments. Look at the online world and its impact on human behaviour.

    Explore how humans have adapted to a world with increasing amounts of technology: becoming digital humans in the process. Study the rise of artificial technology, and its impact on human behaviours. Consider how we interact with virtual environments, explore virtual identity, online vs. Further develop your research design and data analysis skills, building on the foundations provided at Years 1 and 2. Cover advanced quantitative research design and acquire a number of advanced data analysis techniques. Explore the malleable and changeable quality of the human brain.

    Look at brain development running from childhood through to adulthood, and how age affects the plasticity of the brain. Study real world issues and problems relating to memory such as recovered and false memories, post-traumatic stress disorder and memory, memory closure and expressive writing, childhood amnesia, pregnancy and memory, life stories and post-traumatic growth, mindfulness and memory, role of memory making in mental health after perinatal loss, simulation of future experiences and anxiety. Acceptance onto this module is competitive and based on academic engagement and staff references.

    If your application to this module is successful, you will complete a hour placement with a professional organisation, possibly, but not necessarily, related to psychology. Past placements have included conducting research and analysing data for NHS trusts and private clinical organisations or working as psychology teaching and research assistants. Understand key conceptual, ethical, legal, and regulatory issues in clinical psychology.

    Psychology, BSc Hons

    The University boasts a collection of more than , books with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. There are nearly 9, journal titles, mostly in electronic format. Steg, University of Groningen, the Netherlands; J. KGaA - Provider - www.

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