Module code: PSY3095

Module provider


Module Leader

OGDEN JE Prof (Psychology)

Number of Credits


ECTS Credits



FHEQ Level 6

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 126

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 2

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAMINATION (1 HOUR) 50

Alternative Assessment

N/A Students must pass each unit of assessment to pass the module

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BSc Psychology Levels 4 and 5 or equivalent

Module overview

This module explores a range of myths across the discipline of psychology with a focus on scientific evidence, methodological robustness, theoretical frameworks, their historical context and the interface between the scientific and lay literatures. Students will come to appreciate what Stover and Saunders (2000) cite as the four main properties of scientific misconceptions:

They are stable and strongly held beliefs about the world
They are shown to be incorrect by scientific evidence
They influence the ways in which people understand the world
They must be corrected if we are to achieve accurate knowledge

This module also represents an opportunity for students to develop advanced critical thinking skills, and synthesise their study of psychology to date. Lilienfeld et al. (2010) argue that ‘mythbusting should be an essential component of psychology education, because deeply entrenched beliefs in psychological misconceptions can impede students’ understanding of human nature’ (p.xiv).

In particular the module will explore areas of research relating to aspects such learning styles, obesity, the notion of scientific truth, sexuality and gender and left brain right brain differentiation.   Each lecture will address a specific area of research and encourage critical thinking in terms of methods, measurement, theory and the discipline of psychology.  It will also evaluate the ways in which research evidence is adopted by the media and lay literature in the context of theories of persuasion. The module will also take a historical approach, considering the context in which the myth developed, and the status of the myth in light of contemporary research and approaches in psychology.

Module aims

Describe a number of areas of psychology across all domains that have been adopted by the lay literature as ‘truths'

Develop students' skills in advanced critical thinking

Critically evaluate the evidence for these areas with a focus on methods, measurement, theory and the disciplinary focus

Explore how each area is located within its historical context, and its status in the light of contemporary research

Explore how each area has been adopted by the lay literature with a focus on theories of persuasion.

Encourage students to adopt a holistic view of psychology as a scientific discipline

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Evaluate research evidence with a focus on methods, measurement, theory and the disciplinary framework CPT
2 Understand and evaluate the historical and conceptual contexts in which psychological myths have developed KC
3 Understand the relationships between commonly held psychological myths and the subdisciplines of psychology in which they are situated K
4 Critically analyse the implications of commonly-held myths for key groups within society (e.g. school pupils, patients, consumers) CPT
5 Analyse the ways in which scientific research is translated into a literature accessible by the lay public CPT
6 Understand the use of methods of persuasion K
7 Critically evaluate the process of reporting research, and the importance of responsible reporting CPT
8 Understand the relationship between scientists, the media, and the general public K

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative key topics will include:

An overview to critical thinking and the notion of truth and myth

Learning styles

Scientific truth

Left brain / right brain

Sexuality and gender

The role of the media and theories of persuasion


Medicine and physical health

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching methods include:

11 x 2 hour lectures, 2 x 1 hour optional drop in sessions and 128 hours of independent study, which involve:

Week 1 -  Lecture setting the scene for the module with a general overview of critical thinking

Weeks 2-10 (not 6) – lectures presenting information regarding a specific myth with time for small group tasks and class discussion

Week 6 – A class debate involving brief presentations, discussion and formative feedback

Weeks 7 and 8 – hour long optional drop in sessions to resolve queries on the coursework essay assessment.

Week 11 – A revision overview to consider key ideas, areas of critical thinking, skills and theories. 

Formative feedback will be given each week and in particular during week 6 in the class debate. 

Dedicated SurreyLearn page including space to discuss readings and the week’s critical questions.

Assessment Strategy

The formative assessment for this module consists of:

A class debate in week 6. 

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

Coursework essay (8 pages, 50%)

Each student will be able to choose any area of interest and will be asked to identify a scientific research paper containing research evidence together with associated media reports. They will then be asked to provide a detailed critical analysis of the research paper in terms of methods, measurement, theory and the discipline (80%).  They will then provide an analysis of the ways in which the research has been adopted by the media with a focus on language and theories of persuasion (20%).

Examination (1 hour, 50%)

The exam will involve answering 1 essay question chosen from 6 questions reflecting 6 out of 8 of the myths covered on the course.  The questions will require students to evaluate the research evidence base for a specific myth and to assess the ways in which this was adopted by the media.

Justification for assessment methods

Both assessments will address all learning outcomes.  

Reading list

Reading list for GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Liberal Arts and Sciences BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% to pass the module
Sociology with Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.