What are people most afraid of? What do our dreams mean? Are we natural-born racists? What makes us happy? What are the causes and cures of mental illness? This course tries to answer these questions and many others, providing a comprehensive overview of the scientific study of thought and behaviour. It explores topics such as perception, communication, learning, memory, decision-making, persuasion, emotions, and social behaviour. We will look at how these aspects of the mind develop in children, how they differ across people, how they are wired up in the brain, and how they break down due to illness and injury.
Foundations – In this module, you will learn about foundational psychological theories and findings in psychology. We will start with the discovery that our mental lives have a physical basis, introducing the field of neuroscience. And then we will turn to two major psychological theories that have come to shape the world that we now live in—Freud’s psychodynamic theory and Skinner’s theory of behaviourism.
Development and Language – In this module, you will learn about foundational psychological research into development and language. Specifically, you will learn about methods for studying how infants and children think and the core discoveries that they have led to. Then you will learn about the structure of language, how language is learned, and end with a little bit on animal communication, language processing, and the relationship between language and thought.
Cognition – In this module, you will learn about cognitive psychology. Specifically, you will learn about how we perceive the world, how attention works, and we store our experiences in memory.
Self and others – In this module, you will learn about psychology examining the self and others. Specifically, in the first half, you will learn about social and non-social emotions. In the second half, you will learn about how we deal with other people—social psychology.