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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Undergraduate Course: Moral Judgement and Behaviour (PSYL10148)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will cover modern research into the cognitive science of moral psychology, including where moral intuitions come from, the role of experience in developing them, and how our brains produce moral intuitions and moral reasoning (and how these two are different from one another). We will then apply these ideas to 'real-world' issues, including political debates, human rights problems, and seemingly intractable disputes over various topics (e.g., trans-rights, vaccination, political and economic corruption, genocide).
Course description This course will cover several interlocking topics in modern research in moral psychology, including:

1. The development of 'moral' intuitions in infants/young children.
2. Adult moral intuitions - dual process and reinforcement learning models of such judgements.
3. Moral values, protected/sacred values, and problems associated with moral identity signalling (e.g., moral outrage).
4. Socio-cultural and political variation in moral values and the (in)stability of moral values over time.
5. Problems with the psychology of caring about others; mass atrocity, environmental destruction, and genocide.
6. Moral disengagement.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Psychology 2A (PSYL08011) AND Psychology 2B (PSYL08012) AND Data Analysis for Psychology in R 2 (PSYL08015)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should be studying Psychology as their degree major, and have completed at least 3 Psychology courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. **Please note that upper level Psychology courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Evaluate theoretical models in light of evidence that bears directly on the predictions such models make.
  2. Understand computational models on a conceptual level and link components of those models directly to empirical predictions.
  3. Apply content from the course to 'real-world' issues/debates.
  4. Understand socio-political and cultural impacts on moral values and intuitions, and how moral intuitions are often irrational and counterproductive in light of reasoned goals.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will help students develop their aspiration and personal development as well as research and enquiry by improving skills related to understanding computational models (which can be challenging for most students) and evaluating them relative to each other and to empirical evidence. Similarly, engaging with issues of differences in, and failures of, moral values and intuitions will boost outlook and engagement, personal and intellectual autonomy, and personal effectiveness. Short answer assessments will develop communication skills.
Keywordspsychology; moral judgement; behaviour
Course organiserDr Adam Moore
Tel: (0131 6)50 3369
Course secretaryMiss Susan Scobie
Tel: (0131 6)51 5505
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