Module code: PSY3095

Module Overview

This module explores a range of myths across the discipline of psychology with a focus on scientific evidence, methodological robustness, theoretical frameworks, and the interface between scientific research and their representation in the media. 
This module also represents an opportunity for students to develop advanced critical thinking skills and synthesise their study of psychology to date. In particular the module will explore areas of research relating to the breadth of psychology such as cognitive, biological, developmental psychology, aspects of sexuality and gender and aspects of applied psychology such an environmental and health. Each lecture will address a specific area of research and encourage critical thinking in terms of design, measurement, sample and 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 strategies 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 and will conclude with an analysis of the notion of scientific truth. 

This module clearly builds upon all of the modules covered so far on the programme and provides a cross psychology analysis of all perspectives within our discipline.  To this end it fits towards the end of the students journey as they begin to pull together all of their degree so far.  In addition, however this module also gives students additional critical thinking skills which will be key to their remaining modules and in particular their dissertation, 

Module provider


Module Leader

OGDEN Jane (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: C800

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The first 3 lectures will cover the information, myths and facts, the critical tool kit and key methodological issues.   

The next 6 lectures will illustrate how to use the critical tool kit with a focus on what evidence there is and how it is presented and will focus on specific ‘myths’ within psychology.  These may include: Learning styles; Left brain / right brain; Sexuality and gender; the impact of nature; the impact of social media; the development of expertise; myths of autism. These will vary depending upon the expertise of available staff members.  
The final two lectures will focus on scientific truth and how it is constructed and how to add flair to critical thinking.  

In addition, the module includes weekly online zoom discussions for 30 minutes each week (weeks 3-11).  In these we will go through a chosen media article or research paper to discuss these in terms of what evidence there is (ie design / measures / sample) and how the evidence is presented (ie persuasive strategies) as a means to utilise the critical tool kit and prepare for the assessment.  

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination Online ONLINE 2 HOUR EXAM WITHIN A 4-HR WINDOW 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The¿summative assessment¿for this module consists of: 
Seen examination¿(online within 4 hours, 100%) 
The seen exam will involve answering 1 question to offer a critical analysis of one research paper and one associated media report using the critical tool kit. 

This assessment will demonstrate student’s critical thinking skills and their ability to critically evaluate a research study and media article in terms of what evidence there is (ie design, measures, sample etc) and how the evidence is presented (ie persuasive strategies).  These skills will be illustrated in each weekly lecture as the lectures utilise the critical  toolkit and show how it can be applied to a particular topic.   


Students will also be supported in this assessment through the weekly online sessions as we work through individual research papers and media articles. 

Justification for assessment methods 
This assessment will address all learning outcomes.¿¿ 

Module aims

  • To describe the notion of critical thinking and develop student¿s ability to use the critical toolkit to think about what evidence there is and how it is being presented.
  • To critically evaluate the evidence for a range of key areas in psychology with a focus on design, measurement, sample and theory and the disciplinary focus
  • To explore how each area has been adopted by the media with a focus on theories of persuasion, language used and persuasive strategies.
  • To encourage students to adopt a holistic view of psychology as a scientific discipline
  • To encourage students to develop a critical approach to science in general, evidence and the notion of truth.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
003 Evaluate research evidence with a focus on methods, measurement, theory and the disciplinary framework CPT
004 Understand how to use the critical tool kit with a focus on what evidence there is and how it is presented KCPT
005 Analyse the ways in which scientific research is translated into a literature accessible by the lay public CPT
006 Understand the use of methods of persuasion KCT
007 Critically evaluate the notion of truth, myths and scientific evidence CPT
008 Understand the relationship between scientists, the media, and the general public KP
001 CPT
002 K

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The¿learning and teaching¿methods include: 
11 x 2 hour lectures, 9 x 30 minute online sessions and 128 hours of independent study, which involve: 
Weeks 1-3 -¿ Lectures setting the scene for the module with a general overview of critical thinking, the critical tool kit and a focus on key methodological issues 
Weeks 3-9¿ – Lectures presenting information regarding a specific myth with time for small group tasks and class discussion 
Weeks 10-11 – Lectures to cover higher level critical thinking with a focus on truth, theory and the practice of science.  


The first 3 lectures will involve in class tasks to highlight methodological issues such as the notion of truth, sampling theory, reverse causality and 3rd factors variables.  Discussions within each lecture on a specific myth will enable students to consolidate their critical thinking skills and gain feedback on their ability to apply them to a specific area. The final 2 lectures will involve additional worked examples to show students how to summarise a research study and to apply the critical toolkit to a specific research area and media article.  

Weeks 3-11 – 30 minute online sessions to practice critically analysing research papers and media articles to practice for the final assessment and give feedback along the way. Formative feedback will be given each week and students will be asked to send their chosen research paper and media article to the module convenor for brief feedback.. 
Dedicated SurreyLearn page including space to discuss readings and the week’s critical questions. 

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: PSY3095

Other information

In line with Surrey’s Curriculum Framework, we are committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module contributes to three of the five pillars in the following ways: 


Employability (E) 

This module supports the students’ employability skills as it encourages independent thinking and aims to build the student’s confidence in their ability to think for themselves and critically evaluate information.  I encourage ‘closed laptops’ to help students learn and think in the moment.  In addition, students will be taught how to identify persuasive strategies used by the media which will be a key skill if they chose to work in sectors such as advertising, communications, public relations or marketing.  

Digital capabilities (D) 

Students will need to identify a media article and critically evaluate it using the persuasive strategies taught as part of the critical tool kit.  This will involve searching a range of media sources such as online newspapers, blogs and video channels. Given the omni presence of social media and the impact it can have on people’s lives this module will teach students to be critical of what they read which is a key skill in the modern world.  

Resourcefulness and resilience (R) 

Students live in a world where they are bombarded with information from a multitude of sources.  This can have a negative impact on their well being.  This module will teach them how to be critical of what they read and should help build their resilience against the negative aspects of the media.  

Global and cultural capabilities (G) 

The world is rapidly changing which brings with it new information coming from a multitude of new sources.  This module will teach students how to be critical of this information to be able to make informed judgments about what to believe and what not to believe.  



Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons)(CORE) 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% 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 2023/4 academic year.