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.



The first week covers key conceptual and historical issues relating to Psychology. It begins with the textbook definition of Psychology as a science of the mind, and asks: what is science, and what is the mind? The next two lectures consider the what and why of Psychology: the objects of psychological study, and the aims of psychological knowledge.

The seventh week focuses on quantitative methods in Psychology. The lectures discusses experimental design, surveys and questionnaires, and the importance of research synthesis.


Differential is a branch of psychology concerned with how and why individuals’ psychological traits differ. Increasingly, research has focused on the development of these traits and their importance to life outcomes, values, psychopathology, and socially relevant behaviours. The 16 Psychology 2 Differential mini-lectures follow from and build on those in Psychology 1. They focus on the two most widely studied forms of individual differences, cognitive abilities and personality traits.

This course content in Psychology 2A covers an introduction to the psychology of mental health and wellbeing. It aims to show how psychological processes of adaptation and meaning making, as well as efforts to control and regulate distressing experiences, can lead to states that have historically been considered as ‘abnormal psychology’. The course illustrates critiques to that use of language, and the historical approaches to classification associated with it. Finally, links are made between theory and practice, showing how contemporary understandings of the origins and pathways to distress lead to different methods of psychological intervention. 

The  course  is  designed  to  give  an  overview  of  key  issues  in  the psychology  of language,  understood  as  the  study  of  the  human  language  faculty.  It  will  focus on  how meaning is communicated through language, starting with single words and extending down to the sounds and letters that make up words as well as up to how words are combined into sentences. We will examine evidence from adult proficient users, language learning, and language impairments.

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.