PB201      Half Unit
Cognitive Psychology

This information is for the 2022/23 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.

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 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.

By the end of the course you should:

  • Be able to critically appraise the philosophy, history and development of Cognitive Psychology.
  • Be able to generate and critique computational and dynamic models
  • Be able to critically assess methodological and conceptual limitations of interventions in complex systems
  • Be able to relate these areas to core aspects of behavioural science.
  • Be able to assess the application of these theories and concepts to real world examples.


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

Formative coursework

Students will complete a number of pieces of formative course to cement learning and prepare for summative assessments:

  • Develop a summary and lead a discussion in one class.
  • Develop a plan for the presentation, including details of what will be included in the slides and handout. 

Indicative reading

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

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

• Gilbert, N. (2008) Agent-Based Models. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE

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

• Goldstein, E. B. (2017). Sensation and Perception (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning

• Johnson, N. (2009) Simply Complex: A clear guide to complexity theory. One World

• Marr, D. (2010) Vision. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

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


Essay (10%) in the ST.
Group presentation (70%) and other (20%) in the MT.

Group Presentation (70%) in MT – You will work in groups to record a 15 minute presentation and develop a handout. You will be expected to submit the recording, slides and a handout.

Other (20%) in MT - You will write a 1000 Op-Ed on a topic from the course. 

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) or Individual Differences and Why They Matter (PB205).

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2021/22: 33

Average class size 2021/22: 11

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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