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The Psychology of Thinking, Judgement and Decision-Making

  • Module code: PS7021
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: Level 6 or equivalent.
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module explores and critically examines theories of cognitive psychology and of judgement and decision-making. It explores the role of perception and memory in categorisation, thinking, judgement and choice. The module also covers recent developments in normative and descriptive theories of choice, as well as the impact of experience and expertise on categorisation and choice. The module encourages students to evaluate critically whether human thinking is rational, and the normative models with which that rationality is measured. It also introduces students to quantitative models of these processes. Finally, it introduces students to applications of judgement and decision making research in areas such as politics, sports, economics and health.

Aims

  • To deepen students' understanding of psychological theories of judgments and decision-making.
  • To encourage critical thinking about fundamental cognitive processes such as memory, categorisation, judgement and choice.
  • To promote awareness of the applications of cognitive psychology research and theory to real-life settings.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of psychological theories of judgements decision-making.
  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the methodological issues in higher cognition research.
  • Critically evaluate research in cognitive psychology.
  • Identify how recent developments in cognitive psychology find applications in areas such as health, economics, and politics.

Curriculum content

  • Memory and context
  • Categorisation and identification of perceptual information
  • Utility and rationality
  • Normative and Descriptive theories of choice
  • The role of experience, context and skills in JDM
  • Behavioural forecasting
  • Behavioral Game Theory
  • Social and moral dilemmas
  • Heuristics and biases
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Systemic cognition

Teaching and learning strategy

Teaching will take the form of 22 one-hour weekly keynote lectures coupled with an hour of interactive lecture-related activities. Lectures will introduce topics and direct students to a pertinent literature. Students will be expected to complete set readings for each week. Review questions will be set and these will form the basis of the MCQ-component of the final exam at the end of the module

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures/Interactive lectures 44
Guided independent study 256
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Students will read in depth about recent developments in behavioural science to inform and motivate a 2000-word literature review which is worth 50% of the final mark. A two-hour exam worth 50% of the final mark held during the exam period in the second semester. The exam is composed of 60 multiple choice and short answers questions (drawn from the review questions set for each topic). Critical thinking skills will be assessed formatively during the weekly interactive lectures where pertinent primary literature is analysed and discussed. Developing a structured and principled critical essay plan will be assessed formatively with seminar exercises designed to encourage peer reviews of essay plans.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of cognitive psychology. Assessed formatively through interactive lectures and discussions and summatively though the literature review and MCQ.
2) Identify how experience and expertise influence memory, thinking, preferences and judgments. Assessed formatively through interactive lectures and discussions and summatively though the literature review and MCQ.
3) Critically evaluate research in cognitive psychology and behavioural decision science. Assessed formatively through interactive lectures and discussions and summatively though the literature review and MCQ.
4) Identify how recent developments in cognitive psychology find applications in areas such health, economics, and politics. Assessed formatively through interactive lectures and discussions and summatively though the literature review and MCQ.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
CWK Literature Review 50
EXWR Exam 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Braisby, N., & Gellatly, A. (2012). Cognitive psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Busemeyer, J. R., & Diederich, A. (2009). Cognitive Modeling. London: Sage.

Camerer, C. F., Loewenstein, G., & Rabin, M. (2011). Advances in behavioral economics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Gigerenzer, G., & Todd, P. (2000). Simple Heuristics that make us smart. Oxford: Oxford Univ Press.

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (2000). Choices, values, and frames. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kahneman, D. (2012). Thinking, Fast and Slow... in 30 Minutes: A 30 Minute Expert Summary. Callisto Media Inc.

Bibliography recommended reading

Gigerenzer, G. (2007). Gut feelings: The intelligence of the unconscious. London: Penguin.

Eysenck, M.W., & Keane, M.T. (2010). Cognitive psychology: A student's handbook (6th Edition).

Fiedler, K., & Juslin, P. (2006). Information sampling and adaptive cognition. Cambridge University Press.

Manktelow, K. (2012). Thinking and reasoning: An introduction to the psychology of reason, judgment and decision making (2nd Edition). Psychology Press.

Oaksford, M., & Chater, N. (2007). Bayesian rationality: The probabilistic approach to human reasoning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pothos, E.M., & Wills, A. J. (2011). Formal approaches in categorization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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