Module PDP-3003:

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Christoph Klein

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to explain one of the most scientifically productive construct of Psychology, Psychometric Intelligence, from the various perspectives psychological Research can adopt, including evolution and development; history of the construct; individual differences; statistics, psychometrics and test construction; neuroscience. We also aim to demonstrate the richness and diversity of research on psychometric intelligence by covering correlates in various fields, such as religious or political beliefs, mental health and life expectation.

Course content

This third year module presents a comprehensive treatment of one of the scientifically most productive psychological constructs ever: Intelligence. Starting with an overview over the history of intelligence research, the lecture continues with the evolution (phylogenesis) and development (ontogenesis) of human intelligence. We will then continue with a thorough explanation of the “Trait Paradigm” as the foundation of the statistical modelling of the structure of human intelligence and the development of intelligence tests. The last lecture before the reading week will address the topic of cognitive correlates of human intelligence. Here, we will see how important working memory and mental speed are for the intelligent solving of intellectual problems. The second part of the module is concerned with environmental and biological correlates of individual differences in intelligence, including genetic influences as well as the environmental influences underlying the so called “Flynn Effect”, that is, the increase during the 20th century in average intelligence from generation to generation. The political dimension of intelligence research becomes apparent when we explain and critically discuss societal class, gender, and race as seeming correlates of intelligence. The module will close with an explanation of the neurological basis of intelligence.

Note that this module picks up (intelligence-related) topics from the Year 2 module “Personality and Individual Differences”. This redundancy is unavoidable and intends to lead to a deeper understanding of the topics of the current module.

Assessment Criteria


Adequate answer to the question, largely based on lecture material. No real development of arguments.


Reasonably comprehensive coverage. Well organised and structured. Good understanding of the material.


Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area clarity of argument and expression. Depth of insight into theoretical issues.

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand and apply the principles of psychological assessment in general and specifically with regard to human intelligence.

  2. Understand and critically evaluate the educational role of intelligence research with regard to overarching topics of societal concern (e.g., nature-nuture debate; class, ethnic, and sex differences).

  3. Understand the rationale of individual differences as opposed to experimental psychological research both in terms of research topics and methodological approaches.

  4. Learn the concise presentation of research articles.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Mid Term Exam 30
Final Exam 50
Essay 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Lecture 22
Seminar 11
Private study 167

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • 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.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • 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.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • 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.
  • Use a range of statistical methods with confidence.
  • Use a variety of psychological tools, including specialist software, laboratory equipment and psychometric instruments.


Reading list

Mackintosh, N. (2011). IQ and Human Intelligence. Oxford University Press, 2nd edition.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: