Psychological and Behavioural Science

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sophie Von Stumm QUE 3.22


This course is compulsory on the MPhil/PhD in Psychological and Behavioural Science, MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Psychology of Economic Life, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course is a compulsory component of courses: PS400 Contemporary Social and Cultural Psychology; PS404 Organisational and Social Psychology; PS429 The Social Psychology of Communication; and PS465 Psychology of Economic Life.

Course content

What is the relevance of Psychology for social science? How is it useful for the study of organisations, intercultural relations, economic life and communication? Each week we tackle key debates for the social sciences through an examination of key theories in psychological and behavioural science. For example we ask: What drives human innovation and progress? How is human consciousness possible? How does our body affect the way we think? Is intergroup conflict inevitable? Are there cultural differences in how we think? Do we practice what we preach? Do certain organisations produce good leaders? How does social status impact social and economic behaviour? These questions are addressed though the introduction of the main theories of psychological and behavioural science, theories on social learning, cultural evolution, consciousness, social identity, intergroup relations, attitudes and behaviour, social representations, social influence, power, language and leadership. The course is aimed at MSc students with little or no background in psychology but will also include advanced material and critiques for students who want to study topics in-depth.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

This will take the form of a mock MCQ test, conducted in the MT.

Indicative reading

Augostinos, M. Walker I and N Donaghue. (2006) Social Cognition: An integrated Introduction (2nd edition).London: Sage; Bar-Tal, D. (2011) Intergroup conflicts and their resolution: A Social Psychological Perspective. Hove: Psychology Press. Farr, R.M. (1996) The Roots of Modern Social Psychology, Oxford: Blackwell; Flick, U. (1998) The Psychology of the Social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Gergen, K. (1991) The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. New York: Basic Books. Haslam, A. (2001) Psychology in Organisations: The Social Identity Approach. London: Sage. Himmelweit, H. & G Gaskell (1990), Societal Psychology, Sage; Hollway, W. Lucey H. and Phoenix A. (2007), Social Psychology Matters. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Hook, D. (Ed). (2004).Critical psychology Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press;Ibanez, T. & Iniguez, L. (1997). Critical social psychology. London: Sage; Johannson, T. (2000) Social Psychology and Modernity. Buckingham: Open University Press; Jovchelovitch, S. (2007) Knowledge in Context: Representations, Community and Culture. London: Routledge. Haslam, S.A., Reicher, S.D. and Platwo, M. (2011) The New Psychology of leadership: Identity, influence and power. Hove: Psychology Press. Tajfel, T. (1981) Human Groups and Social Categories: Studies in Social Psychology, Cambridge University Press; Tomasello, M. (2009). Why we cooperate. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Walkerdine, V. (2002). (Ed.), Challenging Subjects: Critical Psychology for a New Millennium. Basingstoke: Palgrave.


The material covered in this course contributes to the formal assessment of the PS400, PS404, PS465 and PS429 core courses. This material is assessed wholly by MCQ which will count for 25% of the overall grades on these core courses; these courses also have their own, specific essay-based assessments which will count for 75% of their overall grades.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2016/17: 168

Average class size 2016/17: 18

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Value: Non-credit bearing

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills