Applying psychological theory to real-world problems
Run by School of Human and Behavioural Sciences
10.000 Credits or 5.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Rachel Newey
Overall aims and purpose
This module aims to provide students with an insight into how psychological theory can be applied in real-world contexts. It focuses on how psychological theories and knowledge gained from psychological research are used in several different areas, such as criminal investigations, business and management, urban planning, and retail.
The module will cover topics in a range of applied areas, such as forensic psychology, environmental psychology, occupational psychology, and consumer psychology. Each lecture will focus on the application of psychological theory to specific problems, including the role of psychology in the workplace, how psychological knowledge can be used to improve the built environment, how knowledge about memory and face recognition can be used to aid criminal investigations, and how psychological theory can be used to understand and influence consumer behaviour. Students will learn about the core psychological theory and research evidence that underpins these applied areas.
Feedback is provided in the following ways: 1) During lectures; 2) Review time at the end of each lecture; 3) Feedback drop-in sessions for draft essay feedback; 4) Tutor feedback (written) through the feedback sheet and comments written on the essay; 5) Tutor feedback (grade only) on the final exam answers. 6) Open invite to meet with tutor to discuss on-going performance; assignment results, etc, during either office-drop-in times or pre-arranged meeting.
C- to C+
C- to C+ Demonstrates an adequate understanding of how psychological theory is used to solve practical problems within an applied area, with some development of arguments, but answer largely based on lecture material.
D- to D+ Demonstrates some understanding of how psychological theory is used to solve practical problems within an applied area, but with no real development of arguments, and answer largely based on lecture material.
B- to B+ Demonstrates a reasonably comprehensive understanding of how psychological theory is used to solve practical problems within an applied area. Well-organised and structured, including good descriptions and evaluation of research and theories within an applied area.
A- to A** Demonstrates a comprehensive and accurate understanding of how psychological theory is used to solve practical problems within an applied area. Well-organised and structured, including excellent descriptions of research and depth of insight into theoretical issues within an applied area.
Understand how psychological theory is used to solve practical problems across different applied areas.
Describe and evaluate research and theories that support these applied areas.
Demonstrate the application of psychological theory and research to a real-life problem.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
11 x 2 hour lectures. One per week.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
Subject specific skills
- Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
- Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
- Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
- Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
- Retrieve and organise information effectively.
- Handle primary source material critically.
- Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
- Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
- Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
- Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
A Talis reading list will be made available. The module will not have a core textbook, but will use journal articles, for example:
Dijksterhuis , A., Smith, P.K., van Baaren, R.B. & Wigboldus, D.H.J. (2005). The Unconscious Consumer: Effects of Environment on Consumer Behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15(3), 193-202.
Gifford, R. (2014). Environmental Psychology Matters. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 541-579.
Kanas, N. (2015). Psychology in deep space. The Psychologist, 28, 804-807.
Wells, G.L. Malpass, R.S., Lindsay, R.C.L., Fisher, R.P. Turtle, J.W. & Fulero, S.M. (2000). From the lab to the police station: A successful application of eyewitness research. American Psychologist, 55(6), 581-598.
Wells, G.L. & Olson, E.A. (2003). Eyewitness testimony. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 277-295.
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- C880: BSC Psych with Cl & Hlth Psych year 1 (BSC/PHS)
- C88B: BSc Psychology w Clin & Health Psy (4yr with Incorp Found) year 1 (BSC/PHS1)
- 8X44: BSc Psychology with Clinical & Health Psychology (Int Exp) year 1 (BSC/PHSIE)
- C88P: BSc Psychology with Clinical & Health Psy with Placement Yr year 1 (BSC/PHSP)
- C804: BSc Psychology (with International Experience) year 1 (BSC/PIE)
- C800: BSC Psychology year 1 (BSC/PS)
- C81B: BSc Psychology (4 year with Incorporated Foundation) year 1 (BSC/PS1)
- C80F: BSc Psychology year 1 (BSC/PSF)
- C80P: BSc Psychology with Placement Year year 1 (BSC/PSP)
- C813: BSc Psychology with Forensic Psychology year 1 (BSC/PSYFP)
- C84B: BSc Psychology with Forensic Psych (4 yr with Incorp Foundn) year 2 (BSC/PSYFP1)
- C81P: BSc Psychology with Forensic Psychology with Placement Year year 1 (BSC/PSYFPP)
- C801: BSC Psychol w Neuropsychol year 1 (BSC/PSYN)
- C83B: BSc Psychology with Neuropsychology (4yr with Incorp Found) year 1 (BSC/PSYN1)
- C809: BSc Psychology with Neuropsy (with International Experience) year 1 (BSC/PSYNIE)
- C84P: BSc Psychology with Neuropsychology with Placement Year year 1 (BSC/PSYNP)
Optional in courses:
- C681: BSc Sport & Exercise Psychology w International Experience year 1 (BSC/SEPIE)
- C680: BSc Sport and Exercise Psychology year 1 (BSC/SEXP)