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

Undergraduate Course: Thinking and Reasoning (PSYL10138)

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 would provide foundational coverage of classic research in reasoning (e.g. syllogistic reasoning, conditional propositions, and causal reasoning) leading up to more advanced material (judging and reasoning about probabilities, Prospect Theory).
Course description This course will cover concepts of rationality, the 'classic' research into the cognitive psychology of reasoning, and decision-making. Topics will include:

1. Nature of representation, operations on representations, and levels of analysis. Different types of models in psychology (i.e., descriptive, normative, verbal vs formal).
2. Epistemic rationality and its connection to Bayes' Theorem. Issues of rational belief revision.
3. Deductive reasoning in syllogisms and if-then conditionals, with a specific focus on the debate between mental rules and mental models approaches to these topics.
4. Probabilistic approaches to deduction. Dual process models of reasoning.
5. Instrumental rationality and its connection to decision theory.
6. Abductive reasoning & science of explanation.
7. Subjective expected utility theory and Prospect Theory
8. Decision by Sampling and heuristics within the bounded rationality paradigm.

Skills taught/developed in this course are hierarchical information integration with respect to empirical results and theoretical models; ability to systematically evaluate computational models; critical analysis; and writing skills.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Psychology 2A (PSYL08011) AND Psychology 2B (PSYL08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students who are Psychology majors and in their third or final year at their home university are welcome to take this course.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 70 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Midterm: Short Answer Questions (1000 words 30%)
Final: Exam (Short Answer Questions 70%)
Feedback Mid-term short answers will have correct answers posted and formative feedback regarding why students' answers did (not) earn maximum points.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Knowledge & understanding of rationality and its application to modes of reasoning/decision making
  2. Hierarchical information integration with respect to empirical results and overarching theoretical models of cognition and rationality
  3. Understanding of distinction, and relationship, between descriptive models and normative models in developing scientific theory
  4. Ability to evaluate competing models in light of ambiguous evidence (i.e. ongoing debate with results backing both sides)
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 rationality both theoretically and empirically, and with the wider rationality community via relevant readings, will boost outlook and engagement and personal and intellectual autonomy. Short answer assessments will develop communication skills.
Course organiserDr Adam Moore
Tel: (0131 6)50 3369
Course secretaryMiss Anna Jarvis
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