Cognition Practical I

Module titleCognition Practical I
Module codePSY2209
Academic year2014/5
Module staff

Dr Fraser Milton (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module provides you with hands-on experience of conducting novel research in cognitive psychology. The class will be small-group based and learning will be primarily via an active, practical-based approach rather than through lectures. You will gain experience of all phases of the research process including generation of a research question, methodology, programming, running of experiments, data analysis and interpretation. You will interact extensively with each other as well as researchers who are experts in the field. A range of possible topics will be available. You are encouraged to develop a novel experiment that addresses a question of their choice.

A pre-requisite of this module is completion of PSY1205 Introduction to Statistics and PSY1206 Introduction to Research Methods.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module will provide training in research methodology in human experimental psychology, especially the psychology of cognition, with a focus on human learning and memory. The aim is to provide you with an in-depth knowledge of a particular topic that is currently being investigated. Furthermore, the module aims to provide you with a critical understanding of how to go about running high quality experiments in cognitive psychology, how to analyse the data that has been collected and to understand what the results mean. One important aim of this module is to provide a strong foundation for your final year research project.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe critically experimental design, conduct of research and data analysis in human experimental psychology (including principles that generalise to other areas of research)
  • 2. Put these principles into practical effect through the design, implementation, running, and analysis of one experiment
  • 3. Report experimental research, building on Stage 1 skills
  • 4. Explain one current area of cognitive research
  • 5. Give examples of computational resources for stimulus preparation, experimental control and data analysis

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Illustrate detailed factual and conceptual knowledge of the subject and identify a variety of ideas, contexts and frameworks
  • 7. Review and critically evaluate published work and identify the strengths and weaknesses of this work, and at a well-developed level structure this literature to present logical and coherent arguments
  • 8. Apply essential principles in designing research and critically evaluate and analyse empirical evidence and assess its reliability using appropriate statistical techniques taught in Stage 1 and in the Stage 2 statistics module
  • 9. Report research in Psychology using standard journal format

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Solve complex problems systematically, think critically and creatively
  • 11. Manage and select information and data from a range of sources and develop appropriate information finding strategies
  • 12. Interact effectively within a learning group, giving and receiving information and ideas and modifying responses where appropriate and cooperating in the service of group goals
  • 13. Take responsibility for your own learning with minimum direction and to seek and make use of feedback
  • 14. Manage time effectively to meet deadlines
  • 15. Communicate effectively in writing
  • 16. Communicate research in an oral presentation

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

A two hour introductory lecture introduces the research topics available for investigation and the methodologies available to investigate them. Exact topics and methodologies differ from year to year but will be in the broad area of learning and memory. Across the rest of the term, students organise themselves into groups of four or five, determine a topic, distribute workload equitably, perform a literature review, design an experiment, write a group proposal, receive feedback on that proposal and revise their plans accordingly, implement an experiment, run it, analyse the data, make a 10-15 minute group presentation of their findings to the class, and individually write up their study. Guidance from staff is available on a weekly basis at the timetabled two hour sessions; students are expected to work independently between timetabled sessions. Attendance of all group members at all timetabled sessions is expected.

In total, there will be eleven 2 hour laboratory sessions during which students will design, analyse, write-up and present an empirical study associated with the module. In addition to the above workshop sessions there will be four 2 hour classes each term introducing a wide range of methods across various domains of psychology. These four sessions are compulsory and will run in parallel with the practical session.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Practical classes (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Workshop sessions (4 x 2 hours)
Guided Independent Study120Literature review, conducting the experiment, preparing a presentation, write-up of the project proposal and final report.


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation10 minutes1-8, 10-14,16Oral
Methods evaluation and project proposal1500 words1,2,4,6-8,10-15Written
Practical report3000 words1-15Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Methods evaluation and project proposal151500 words1,2,4,6-8,10-15Written and discussion
Practical report853000 wordsAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Methods evaluation and project proposalMethods evaluation and project proposal1,2,4,6-8,10-15August Ref/Def
Practical reportPractical reportAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. For the methods evaluation and project proposal and practical report, the reassessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred in the methods evaluation and project proposal you will be required to resubmit the proposal. This will constitute 15% of the module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the practical report you will be required to resubmit the report. This will constitute 85% of the module. Deferred marks are not capped; referred marks are capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


Most of the reading will be from the primary literature relevant to the particular research topic addressed;

a reading list will be provided in the first handout. The following may be useful on the general topic of

experimental design and how to read and write research reports.

Kantowitz, B.H., Roediger, Henry L. III, Elmes, D.G. (2009, 9th Ed) Experimental Psychology. Chs 3

(Research Techniques: Experiments), 5 (How to Read and Write Research Reports) and 8 (Attention and

Reaction Times). Wadsworth/Cengage Learning. From their web


you can download individual chapters for £2.99, or buy the book at a 20% discount using the coupon


Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Cognitive psychology, research, experiment, learning and memory, practical

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

PSY1201, PSY1205, PSY1206 or equivalent

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date