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Cognition, Emotion and Development

Module titleCognition, Emotion and Development
Module codePSY1207
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Heike Elchlepp (Convenor)

Dr Matt Owens-Solari (Lecturer)

Professor Natalia Lawrence (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In lectures and practical classes (including some demonstrations and experiments), and in small group tutorials, we introduce you to how psychologists and neuroscientists investigate mental representations and processes in the developing child and human adults. We will explore some of the resulting theoretical conceptions of human development, and of emotional responses, how our senses enable us to perceive the world, language processing, memory, thinking, attention and multitasking, and the effects of emotion on cognitive processing, together with some practical implications of this knowledge (e.g, study skills, mobile phone use while driving, treatment of psychopathological conditions) and questions on the relation between conscious awareness and information processing in the brain.

This module has no pre-requisites; PSY1202 Introduction to Biological Psychology provides helpful background on the neural substrate of cognition and emotion.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the scientific study of human cognition, emotion and their development. You will first be introduced to some of the ways psychologists study child development, including observational and experimental procedures, longitudinal, cross-sectional, correlational methods and psychometric testing. The module will provide an understanding of how these and other procedures are applied to some of the major questions about development, in particular the roles of nature and nurture in development, stages of intellectual development, and development of language and social cognition. The module then explores, using evidence from behavioural and neuroscientific data from adult participants: the nature of emotional responses; the mental processes and representations that enable us to select and interpret information made available by the senses, to understand language, to remember facts and episodes, to think, act and react in complex environments; the interaction between emotion and cognition. It also examines to what extent we are consciously aware of our mental and emotional states, processes and representations. The module aims to provide you with subject-specific skills which are applicable across the whole range of psychology, and the grounding for more advanced study in the second and final years. It also introduces Psychology students to conduct laboratory research in human experimental psychology, so that you begin to acquire skills and knowledge which you will have opportunities to develop in your second year practical modules and final year project.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Indicate familiarity with a conceptual framework: the computational theory of mind
  • 2. Give examples of techniques for investigating mental representations, processes, and emotional responses in adults, and of their application
  • 3. Describe basic concepts and findings concerning human cognition and emotion
  • 4. Identify research designs and methods appropriate for investigating cognitive development
  • 5. Describe theories and findings in the area of cognitive development

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. Demonstrate basic factual and conceptual knowledge and understanding of the subject
  • 7. Review and evaluate published work, identifying some of its strengths and weaknesses
  • 8. Structure your writing to present logical and coherent arguments
  • 9. Address problems systematically, thinking critically and creatively, and appreciating the complexities of the issues
  • 10. Evaluate and analyse empirical evidence

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 11. Work within an appropriate ethos to access and use a range of learning resources
  • 12. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses, making use of feedback
  • 13. Collect and manage information from a range of sources
  • 14. Take responsibility for your own learning with appropriate support
  • 15. Manage time effectively to meet deadlines

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Sessions on cognitive development, including methods of investigation, language development, stages of cognitive development, and nature versus nurture in intellectual development.

Sessions on emotion and cognition; including theories of emotion, the emotional brain, emotional processing in psychological disorders, the interaction between cognition and emotion, and emotion regulation.

Sessions on methods for investigating cognitive processes, starting with perception, continuing with reading and language comprehension, components of working and long-term memory, forgetting and false memories, reasoning and rationality, selective attention, cognitive capacity and control, and consciousness.

Three tutorials (on cognitive development, embodied emotion and practice in answering short-answer and multiple choice exam questions with example answers from previous years and their marks and feedback).

Three practical classes: (1) social-cognitive development; (2) word recognition, emotion and visual short-term memory; (3) attention and control.

Revision class on the cognition and emotion material (Term 3, before exams).

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 Teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Tutorials (3 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Practical classes (3 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Q&A revision class
Guided Independent Study117Reading of textbooks, journal articles, web resources, lecture synopses available on ELE, review of lecture slides, practical results, and ECHO lecture recordings, reading for and writing of essay, revision for exam


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Tutorial 3 x 1 hourAllOral

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
Essay on cognitive development502000 words4-10, 12-17Written comments
Examination on the “cognition and emotion” component of the module501 hour1-3, 6-16Generic feedback (comments posted on ELE)


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay4-10, 12-17Aug Ref/Def
ExaminationExamination1-3, 6-16Aug Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the essay you will be required to resubmit the essay. Where you have been referred/deferred in the examination you will have the opportunity to take a second examination in the August/September re-assessment period. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative reading:

  • Eysenck MW and Keane MT (2015, 7th Edition). Cognitive Psychology: A student handbook. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-1-84169-540-2 paperback). [The 6th edition, 2010, is fine.]

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Psychology, perception, cognition, cognitive, mind, consciousness, development, developmental, mental, emotion, memory, attention, language, thinking, reasoning, reading

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date