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Dr Amy Orben - 8 Weeks Lent Term - Further details TBC

Is psychology a robust science?

To answer such a question, this course will encourage you to think critically about how psychological research is conducted and how conclusions are drawn.

To enable you to truly understand how psychology functions as a science, however, this course will also need to discuss how psychologists are incentivised, how they publish and how their beliefs influence the inferences they make. By engaging with such issues, this course will probe and challenge the basic features and functions of our discipline.

We will uncover multiple methodological, statistical and systematic issues that could impair the robustness of scientific claims we encounter every day. We will discuss the controversy around psychology and the replicability of its results, while learning about new initiatives that are currently reinventing the basic foundations of our field. The course will equip you with some of the basic tools necessary to conduct robust psychological research fit for the 21st century.

The course will be based on a mix of set readings, class discussions and short lectures. Readings will include a diverse range of journal articles, reviews, editorials, blog posts, newspaper articles, videos, and even collections of tweets. No exams or papers will be set; but come along with a critical eye and a willingness to discuss some difficult and controversial issues.

Recommended Reading:

Chris Chambers (2017). The 7 deadly sins of psychology: A manifesto for reforming the culture of scientific practice. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Zoltan Dienes (2008). Understanding Psychology as a Science. London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.