PB201      Half Unit
Cognitive Psychology

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jens Madsen CON.3.19


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.


Students should have taken Foundations of Psychological Science (PB101) or Foundations of Behavioural Science (PB100).

Course content

This course will offer an account of core theories, debates and phenomena in Cognitive Psychology. It will cover essential aspects of cognitive psychology, ranging from phenomena concerned with ‘low level’ cognition such as attention and perception, through to ‘high level’ cognition such as reasoning and decision making and consciousness, and will interweave areas that span such levels such as knowledge representation, concepts and language processing. It will also relate these areas to core aspects of behavioural science, such as levels of processing, the influence of context, and the roles of heuristics and biases in information processing. The course will also seek to assess the application of these theories and concepts to relevant real world examples and policy issues via the class discussions. Students will become familiar with methods that can be used to explore a myriad of cognitive functions, will be faced with concrete modelling tasks and see the application of cognitive psychology for interventions such as policy changes, changes in economic boundary conditions, social pressure, political campaigns etc.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and classes totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. There is a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term. 

In response to the current situation, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of live online classes and pre-recorded short online videos. You will receive the same amount of teaching whether you are on campus or online.

Formative coursework

During the course, students will complete two sets of formative assessment:

  • As a group, develop a summary and lead a discussion in one class.
  • Case study summary (1000 words)

Indicative reading

• Eysenck, M. & Keane, M. (2015). Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook. 7th edition. Hove: Psychology Press.

• Gazzaniga, M. S., Ivry, R. B., Mangun, G. R. (2014). Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind. 4th edition. W.W. Norton

• Gilbert, N. (2008) Agent-Based Models. SAGE

• Gluck, M. A., Mercado, E. & Myers, C. E.  (2016). Learning and Memory. 3rd edition. Worth: New York.

• Goldstein, E. B. (2013). Sensation and Perception. Wadsworth, 9th edition.

• Johnson, N. (2007) Simply Complex: A clear guide to complexity theory. One World

• Marr, D. (1982) Vision. San Francisco: Freeman

• Oaksford, M. & Chater, N. (2007) Bayesian Rationality: The probabilistic approach to human reasoning. Oxford, UK: OUP

Students will be expected to read essential readings plus additional reading from the primary literature for each class. These readings will be provided in the course outline.


Essay (70%) and group presentation (20%) in the LT.
Essay (10%) in the ST.

Essay (70%) in LT – you will produce a 3000 word essay

Group Presentation (20%) in LT – you will work in groups to deliver a presentation.

Essay (10%) in ST - Students following the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science will be expected to submit one 3000 word ‘Integration Essay’ in their second year. The integration essay will count towards 10% of the final mark in PB200, PB201, PB202, PB204 and PB205. The integration essay will discuss a topic investigated in one course and use its approach to integrate and debate approaches from two other courses taken in Year 2. For example, if you choose to base your integration essay in Cognitive Psychology (this course) you will use a topic from this course as the basis for debating the treatment of that topic by theories from two of Biological Psychology (PB200), Developmental Psychology (PB202), Social Psychology: Individuals, Groups and Culture (PB204) and Individual Differences and Why They Matter (PB205).

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills