UCL Module Catalogue


Psychology in the Real World (BASC0015)

Key information

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Teaching department
Arts and Sciences BASc
Credit value
No prerequisite courses. Students need to be willing to be assessed by giving a presentation for 40% of their marks.

Alternative credit options

There are no alternative credit options available for this module.


This module will introduce you to topics in psychology and cognitive neuroscience with an emphasis on their relevance in everyday life. There is less emphasis on particular psychological theories and who did what experiment in what year, and more focus on “how does this knowledge transfer to real life situations.” It will be a useful ingredient in the mix if you are also doing psychology/cognitive neuroscience modules.

Indicative Topics

The module will cover the following topics, which may be subject to variation depending on developments in academic research and the interests of the class:

Sleep: 37% of your life. What is sleep? We cover some physiology, psychology, health and well-being and policy-related aspects of sleep.

Creativity: the psychology and cognitive neuroscience of creativity.

Learning: the psychology of learning and how we can do it better at all stages of life.

Social Groups: how do they form? What is the basic unit of a group? How do we get the best out of ourselves and others in groups?

Decision Making: What are the different types of decisions? Why are we so irrational? How do we make decisions under pressure?

Learning outcomes:

  • to be able to look at psychology (or any science) in the workplace, daily life and assess it with a statistical and empirical approach.
  • to apply the above in “difficult” areas. For example, why do diversity training if data suggest it has no positive effects?
  • to learn to identify a good, tractable question and present it in spoken or written form


Teaching Delivery

There will be 5 x two hour lectures in weeks 1-5. In weeks 6-10, you will make a 15-minute presentation for 40% of your course marks.

Recommended Reading

In preparation for the module, we advise reading the following core texts. These may be found in the UCL Library:

Recommended reading:

Matthew Walker: Why We Sleep

Rex Jung: The Cambridge Handbook of the Neuroscience of Creativity

Peter Brown et al: Make it Stick

Robin Dunbar: Grooming Gossip and the Evolution of Language

Kurt Gigerenzer: Risk Savvy


For further information on this module, please contact the named individual below.

Module deliveries for 2020/21 academic year

Intended teaching term: Term 1     Undergraduate (FHEQ Level 5)

Teaching and assessment

Mode of study
Methods of assessment
60% One Essay (3000 Words)
40% Presentation (10 Minutes + 5 minutes for Questions)
Mark scheme
Numeric Marks

Other information

Number of students on module in previous year
Module leader
Professor Vincent Walsh
Who to contact for more information

Last updated

This module description was last updated on 5th March 2020.