Lecture Topics 1B

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Lecture Topics 1B

This semester, we discuss different ways of doing Psychology, and wider issues relating to what we study, and why. In the first week, we focus on qualitative methods in psychology. The first lecture discusses the problem of objectivity, and the price of seeking it. The next two lectures provide an introduction to qualitative methods, and the kind of data and analyses that can be used. In the seventh week, we consider the bigger picture of the what, how and why of psychological knowledge.

Developmental psychology is the study of all aspects of development across the lifespan, with a focus (here) on cognitive and social development. These lectures focus on different approaches to developing unifying frameworks for understanding human mental development, and how children acquire some of the critical mental abilities needed for interacting in a complex physical and social world.

Social Psychology – the study of how other people influence how we think, feel, and act – is a central aspect of human psychology. In simple terms, social psychology studies how we think about ourselves, how we think about other individuals, and how we think about groups of people. These form the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and intergroup aspects of psychology. Within these areas we look at a wide range of behaviours, from helping to harming, loving to hating. We also look from the level of the mind to the whole of society. What unifies these approaches is a keen focus on the social.

In this module you will learn about how psychologists study language. How do we learn and use language, what are the fundamental features of language, and what can studying language tell us about the strucutre of the human mind, and the processes that underpin thinking?

Differential Psychology – the psychology of individual differences – describes and explains how and why people differ from each other psychologically. In other words, it is interested in what makes us individuals. The two main topics in differential psychology are personality and intelligence. Differential psychologists also study moods, attitudes, and people’s interests. They study the development of intelligence and personality in children and adults, and how these change with age. This includes the contribution of genetics and environments to differences in intelligence and personality.