Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Introduction to core topics in Social and Individual Behaviour
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 1 hour lecture
Seminars / Tutorials 11 x 1 hour seminar
Workload Breakdown


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination  100%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  If students fail the module overall, any failed component must be re-sat or determined as the Examination Board sees fit.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of what defines and distinguishes social and individual behaviour.

2. Identify the major concepts/theories in the different sub-disciplines.

3. Critically assess the contribution each sub-discipline makes to our understanding of human behaviour.

4. Examine and evaluate some of central studies that have contributed to the emergence of key findings in social and individual behaviour.

5. Critically evaluate the difficulties and challenges of conducting research in the sub-disciplines.

6. Demonstrate how their understanding of psychology can support their own development as self-directed learners.


This module provides an introduction to psychology for the non-specialist and assumes no prior knowledge of psychology. It provides students with an overview of the central concepts and theories in the sub-disciplines of social and individual behaviour.

Brief description

The module examines the theoretical and evidence bases of several sub-disciplines in psychology. Students are introduced to aspects of social interaction at the level of the individual and in groups together with the key elements of the study of individual difference i.e. personality. The importance of empirical investigation will be examined across the module and students will start to learn and adopt some of the key skills required when studying Psychology.


  • Social psychology
  • Personality
  • Developmental psychology
  • Empirical methods: challenges and controversies
  • Key Skills in Psychology

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable although students will be introduced to the key concepts of statistical analysis through the examination of research designs.
Communication Students will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic and to focus on the objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching. Students will be expected to submit any work in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the facilitator and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their work. The need to conduct weekly semianr preparation will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit any work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and PRIMO).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills; framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider case studies; reason logically; apply theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills Weekly reading and seminars will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module. These subject specific skills include: *Assessment of scientific methods in psychology. *Differentiation between quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry. *Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches. *Appreciation of the nature of ethical research in the social sciences.
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.

Reading List

General Text
Berk, Laura E. (2007.) Development through the lifespan /Laura E. Berk. 4th ed. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon Primo search Buss, David M. (2008.) Evolutionary psychology :the new science of the mind /David M. Buss. 3rd ed. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. (c2007.) Personality and individual differences /Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. Blackwell Pub. Primo search Gross, Richard (June 2009) Themes, Issues, and Debates in Psychology 3rd ed. Hodder Education Primo search Hock, Roger R. (c2009, [i.e. 20) Forty studies that changed psychology :explorations into the history of psychological research /Roger R. Hock. 6th ed. Pearson Education Primo search Kail, Robert (Feb. 2009) Human Development Delmar Cengage Learning Primo search Mitchell, Peter (2007.) Fundamentals of development :the psychology of childhood /Peter Mitchell and Fenja Ziegler. Psychology Press Primo search Sigelman, Carol K. (2009.) Life-span human development /Carole K. Sigelman, Elizabeth A. Rider. 6th ed. (int. student ed.) Wadsworth Cengage Primo search edited by Miles Hewstone, Wolfgang Stroebe and Klaus Jonas. (2008.) Introduction to social psychology 4th ed. Blackwell Pub. Primo search
Should Be Purchased
Holt, N., Bremmer, A., Sutherland, E., Vliek, M., Passer, M. W., & Smith, R.E (2012) Psychology: The science of mind and behaviour McGraw Hill: London Primo search Smyth, T. Raymond. (2004.) The principles of writing in psychology /T.R. Smyth. Palgrave Macmillan Primo search
Recommended Text
Adams, B (2009) The Psychology Companion Palgrave Macmillan Publishers of London Primo search Cottrell, S (2008) The Study Skills Handbook 3rd Palgrave Macmillan Publishers of London Primo search Glassman, William E. (c2004 (various) Approaches to psychology /William E. Glassman and Marilyn Hadad. 4th ed. Open University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4