Lecture Topics 2A

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Lecture Topics 2A

Below is detailed information on the lecture topics of Psychology 2A.

For general learning outcomes of the course, see here.

Lectures take place between 11.10 and 12.00 in Lecture Theatre G.03 at 50 George Square on Mondays, and in David Hume Tower Lecture Hall C on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


In addition to learning about specific topics such as social psychology or perception, it is a good idea to develop a more general understanding of how psychology is done and what it may be useful for. Therefore, ten lectures – five in both Psychology 2A and Psychology 2B – are dedicated to a range of topics that cover different approaches to doing science, searching and summarizing psychological research findings, research ethics and science communication.

Individual differences research is a branch of psychology concerned with how and why individuals differ in psychological traits. Increasingly, research has focused on the importance of these traits to life outcomes, values, psychopathology, and socially relevant behaviours. The Differential Psychology lectures of Psychology 2 follow from and build on the lectures of Psychology 1. The lectures will cover the two most widely studied forms of individual differences, namely cognitive abilities and personality traits.

Abnormal psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the description, prediction, explanation, and, eventually, treatment of variations in human behaviour that are pathological. These lectures will cover some of the major disorders, focusing primarily on what research has to say about their biological bases and the implications they have for treatment. In addition, the lectures will describe several methodological approaches, ask fundamental questions about the meaning of normality, and, finally, examine how these issues have been addressed by the laws and courts.

This section of the course will build on the material covered in the Developmental section of Psychology 1. In particular, we will explore in more depth the age-related changes throughout human childhood and adolescence, and how these changes are related to atypical development and psychopathology. Key issues to be addressed include:

Social Psychology – the study of how other people influence how we think, feel, and act – is a central aspect of human psychology. In simply 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.