The brain is a collection of cells made up of the same materials as all the cells in the human body.
However, this collection of cells has a peculiar property associated with it – a mind. It can feel love, hate, fear, desire, pride, guilt, it can think thoughts, plan, dream, imagine, make decisions… but how does a few kilograms of meat produce a person? Psychology attempts to provide explanations for how this collection of cells and chemical and electrical signals produces a person and why people behave in the ways they do. It considers development from before birth through to old age, the changes taking place, and how these affect thought and behaviour.
Psychology also considers how people affect, and are in turn affected by, those around them and the wider society. It tries to explain why people are so alike in some respects and yet so different in others.
The course will involve lectures, discussions, experiments, research, seminars and presentations as well as some flipped learning. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their own learning, and to see their teachers not as the people who tell them all of the answers, but as aids to them finding those answers themselves.
Students can expect to encounter questions such as these while studying Psychology:
- What makes Psychology a science?
- Why can I remember the latest celebrity gossip from a magazine easily, but not the material I need for an examination?
- What can happen if a person doesn’t form attachments?
- Under what circumstances will people obey orders and why?
- What does it mean to be abnormal?
- Why are some individuals more likely to commit crimes than others?
Students will gain considerable experience in thinking critically, as they will be required to not only understand the theories covered but also evaluate them, taking into consideration evidence for and against, quality of evidence, and the logical coherence of the theories. Students will design and carry out research and learn the limitations of different methods.
Psychology complements many other subjects; from Biology to History, Chemistry to Politics, English to Art. It provides a useful perspective on these subjects, as well as being a fascinating subject in its own right.
To study Psychology successfully students should have a combination of curiosity, skepticism, an interest in explaining human behavior and a willingness to read around the subject.