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

Undergraduate Course: Origins of competence: Cognitive Ability, Interests, and Conscientiousness (PSYL10158)

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 provides an introduction to, and discussion of, research into the role played by individual difference characteristics in determining key socio-economic outcomes.
Course description The course will give an overview current research on personality, interests, and cognitive ability as causes of socio-economic competence and attainment. A primary focus will be on traits of conscientiousness and cognitive ability. The course will begin with documenting how these traits higher socioeconomic status. We will then examine the measurement of conscientiousness and of intelligence. This will be followed by research on factors claimed to increase these traits, including genetics and family environment, as well as interventions. The course will cover these topics over 10 weeks of lectures. The course will develop students skills at critical analysis and writing, as well as in depth content knowledge of the key data and theories in the field.
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 welcome. Should have degree major in Psychology and passes in psychology courses at least to the equivalent of junior honours level in Edinburgh.
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: Exam - MCQ (30%) [non-centrally arranged Exam]

Final: Exam - MCQ + 4 short answers (70%)
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Exam2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the main concepts of conscientiousness and cognitive ability.
  2. Show awareness of major findings in behaviour genetics of ability. Interpreting these.
  3. Understand the major methods for measurement, as applicable to HR and personality assessment, along with their limitations.
  4. Show awareness of relations between individual differences major socioeconomic outcomes. Ability to interpret causal inferences critically.
  5. Understand the major strengths and limitations of alternative approaches, including mindset theory, grit, meta-cognition, bias/prejudice, and hyper-environmentalism.
Reading List
Midterm: Exam - MCQ (30%) [non-centrally arranged Exam]

Final: Exam - MCQ + 4 short answers (70%)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will expose students to primary research articles and help them become critical consumers of these. The course assessments require analysis of ideas, conflicting claims, and data, and the ability to form a structured argument and present this using writing skills. As such, this course promotes the graduate attribute skills of research and enquiry, personal and intellectual autonomy, and communication, and fosters an aspirational and enquiring "mindset" (one of the topics we will critically analyse).
Course organiserProf Timothy Bates
Tel: (0131 6)51 1945
Course secretaryMiss Anna Jarvis
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