Foundations of Psychological Science
This information is for the 2019/20 session.
Dr Michael Muthukrishna QUE 3.15
This course is compulsory on the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science. This course is available on the BSc in Criminology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
Students on the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science programme will be automatically enrolled onto PB101. This course is available with permission to first and second year students on other programmes where regulations permit.
PB101 will offer students an understanding of how psychology relates to and informs other disciplines concerned with humans and human behaviour. The course is therefore suitable to students enrolled in other programmes who wish to enrich their understanding by drawing on the psychological sciences.
There are a very limited number of places available for students from outside the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. Places are therefore allocated on an application basis. This means that selections of PB101 on LSE for You remain provisional until you have received email confirmation from the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. To apply for a place, you should send a statement to firstname.lastname@example.org. The statement should outline your expectations of the course, how it could feed into your wider studies and how it could be helpful for your future research or career plans. In light of the statement, requests may be accepted, declined or students may be invited to book an office hour to be sure that PB101 is aligned with their expectations. You are advised to read the course description before submitting your statement.
This course provides an introduction to human cognition and behaviour, addressing foundational topics in psychological science. These foundational topics include key concepts such as evolution, genetics, neuroscience, human evolutionary biology and anthropology, and specific topics, such as perception, memory, heuristics and biases, decision-making, child development, psychopathology, personality and individual differences, emotion, attraction and sexuality, cross-cultural differences, social relations, stereotypes and prejudice, norms and attitudes, social learning, social influence and persuasion, and group processes.
The course will offer an integrated perspective on these topics, investigating the evolution and variation in human psychology over time, across cultures, and over the lifespan. The course will introduce the history of the study of humans and human psychology, offering students the historical context to trends in research. By the end of the course, students will have a broad knowledge of key topics in psychology and related disciplines. Students will be prepared for more in-depth investigations of more advanced topics in later courses.
Students will also understand how psychology relates to and informs other disciplines concerned with humans and human behaviour. The course is therefore suitable to students enrolled in other programmes who wish to enrich their understanding by drawing on the psychological sciences.
10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.
There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of MT and LT.
Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 4 quizzes in the MT and LT.
In order to assess student performance and practice for the summative assessments, students will:
1. Write 1 mini-essay prior to first summative blog post.
2. Four to six pop quizzes of around 10 items will be given to students over the course of the year to help both the lecturer and students assess their progress. These quizzes will probably be administered via Moodle and will be administered quickly at the beginning of a lecture.
- Gray, P. O., & Bjorklund, D. F. (2018). Psychology (8th ed.): Worth Publishers.
- Henrich, J. (2016). The secret of our success: How culture is driving human evolution, domesticating our species, and making us smarter. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Other Texts and Readings:
- Laland, K. N., & Brown, G. (2011). Sense and nonsense: Evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour: Oxford University Press.
- Heine, S. J. (2015). Cultural Psychology: W. W. Norton.
- Wilkinson, N., & Klaes, M. (2012). An Introduction to Behavioral Economics: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 61-83.
- Chudek, M., Muthukrishna, M., & Henrich, J. (2015). Cultural Evolution. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (2nd ed., Vol. 2). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
- Muthukrishna, M., & Henrich, J. (2016). Innovation in the collective brain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 371(1690). doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0192
- Muthukrishna, M., & Henrich, J. (2019). A problem in theory. Nature Human Behaviour.
Students will be expected to read one additional reading from the primary literature per class. These readings will be provided in the course profile.
Exam (40%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Blog post (40%) and wiki entry (20%) in the MT and LT.
Students will write two 1000 word media/blog posts that summarise a key finding in psychology. This will result in more engagement, communication and summarizing of research as well as encouraging them to seek out new findings in the psychological and behavioural science, finding ways to connect these to the real world.
Students will create or edit a Wikipedia or Simple Wikipedia entry (1000 words) on a topic in psychology that is either incorrect, badly described, or missing. This will teach students critical thinking skills, not to take information at face value, and how to communicate research to a smart audience looking for both an overview and details.
The final exam will consist of multiple choice questions plus a short answer section.
Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Total students 2018/19: 14
Average class size 2018/19: 17
Capped 2018/19: No
Value: One Unit
Personal development skills
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Application of numeracy skills
- Commercial awareness
- Specialist skills