Module code: PSY3099

Module Overview

Please note: This module is part of the Cognitive Psychology stream of Level 6 optional modules and will not be running every year. In some years an alternative optional module within the Cognitive Psychology stream will be offered instead.

This module examines human thinking, one of the most ubiquitous of human activities. It will explore how we should think, and examine if we are rational. It will ask how we actually think, exploring how thought functions or malfunctions. Finally, it will explore ways to use this understanding to improve judgement, decision making, and reasoning in personal and professional settings.

Module provider


Module Leader

BANKS Adrian (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BSc Psychology Levels 4 and 5 or equivalent

Module content

Indicative content includes:

1. Introduction to the themes of the module

Are we rational?

How should we think and reason (normative question)

How do we actually think and reason (descriptive question)

2. Probabilistic reasoning

The history of thinking and reasoning

3. Probabilistic reasoning

•Contemporary approaches to thinking and reasoning

4. Intro to TED talk themes

•How do we reason about moral issues?

•How do emotions affect our thinking?

5. TED talks – moral reasoning

6. TED talks – emotions

7. How do we make decisions I?

8. How do we make decisions II?

9. How can we design useful experiments?

10. How can we think and reason more effectively I?

11. How can we think and reason more effectively II?

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation TED TALK PRESENTATION 50
Coursework 8 PAGE ESSAY 50

Alternative Assessment

Individuals to record presentation at an appropriate time. Students who take temporary suspension partway through this module may not be able to complete the remaining classes for this module on their return if it is not running in the following academic year. Such students will have the choice to take a replacement module, or, if they have already completed an assessment for the original module, to attend classes from a new optional module within the same stream (area of psychology) and complete an alternative assessment based on this content that meets the learning outcomes of the original module. The specific alternative assessment will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Assessment Strategy

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

Assessment 1: TED talk Presentation (50%, in Weeks 5-6).

Students will have the opportunity to present in the form of a TED talk an argument/research topic and to collaborate with other students. The marking will take into account the individual component/group work. Students will be provided with a marking scheme and the criteria used to assess the presentations.

LO 2

Assessment 2: 8 page essay (50%).

LO 1 & 3

Assessment 3: Peer feedback

Students will read and provide feedback on a peer’s essay. This will provide valuable feedback prior to submitting their essay, and also providing feedback to others will deepen their own understanding.

LO 3

Formative assessment

Students will have the opportunity to discuss and debate on the main topics of the modules in class. They will receive formative evaluations on their contributions to in-class activities


Students will receive both verbal and written feedback during and after the lectures and assignments. They will receive peer feedback on their essay prior to submission.

Module aims

  • To develop students’ ability to autonomously think, criticize, reflect and present on a topic in the field of human thought and decision making.
  • To provide students with the basic knowledge on and understanding of how human thought and decision making has developed during the last few decades

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain and critically evaluate the main theories and experimental paradigms advanced to account for judgement, reasoning, and decision making KC
002 Be equipped to present as a group an engaging and insightful explanation of one aspect of human judgement, decision-making and reasoning PT
003 Be adept at critiquing, through written evaluation, the arguments presented by others in support of a relevant theoretical position KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Develop verbal and written presentation skills.

  • Develop the capacity to explain key concepts.

  • Develop a critical understanding of theory and evidence.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures (2 hours duration for 11 weeks, including, Group/class discussions, Classroom exercises, Prezi/Powerpoint group work).

All lecture slides, the reading lists, presentations (slides and, if necessary, video and audio) and additional learning materials will be uploaded on SurreyLearn. 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY3099

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 2020/1 academic year.