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

Undergraduate Course: Towards A Decolonised Approach to Psychology & Language (PSYL10182)

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 address the timely topic of decolonising academic disciplines, focusing on psychology and language. As the title suggests, decolonisation will be understood not as a product but a process, to which this course will aim to contribute.
Course description To start with, we will attempt to identify current constraints on our understanding of human mind and language and the dangers of constructing theories with universal claims based on a small selection of languages, cultures, societies and populations. We will then discuss how we could move towards a more inclusive, representative and deeper understanding of mind and language, taking into account the cultural and linguistic diversity of the world. We will cover a wide range of methods and approaches, from neuroscience and cognition, through linguistic typology and sociolinguistics, to discourse analysis and social psychology.
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 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
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Oral Presentation: 30%
2. Positionality statement: 70%
Feedback Formative feedback will be given by both lecturers throughout the course. It will include feedback on the oral presentations, which form the first part of assessment, as well as on in-class discussions around the topic of positionality, which will be the theme of the second part of the assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and question the current cultural and linguistic default settings of psychological science.
  2. Appreciate the importance of cultural and linguistic context of psychological research and trace the development of theories and methods across time and place.
  3. Reflect how students own personal, social, cultural and linguistic background can influence their way of thinking, learning and doing research.
  4. Formulate ideas for future research and teaching agenda, which moves towards a decolonised approach to psychology and language.
Reading List
Adams, G., Dobles, I., Gómez, L. H., Kurti, T., & Molina, L. E. (2015). Decolonizing Psychological Science: Introduction to the Special Thematic Section. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 3(1), 213-238.

Bak TH, Alladi S (2016) Bilingualism, dementia and the tale of many variables: why we need to move beyond the Western World. Cortex. 74, 315-317.

Bak TH (2016) Cooking Pasta in La Paz: bilingualism, bias and the replication crisis. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. Published on-line 1 July 2016.

Bak TH, Mehmedbegovic D (2017) Healthy linguistic diet: the value of linguistic diversity and language learning. Journal of Languages, Society and Policy. Published on-line 21 May 2017.

Bhatia, S. (2017). Decolonizing psychology: Globalization, social justice, and Indian youth identities. Oxford University Press.

Blasi DE, Henrich J, Adamou E, Kemmerer D, Majid A (2022) Over-reliance on English hinders cognitive science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 26 (12): 1153-70.

Henrich, J., Heine, S.J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 61:83

Laungani PD (2007) Understanding Cross-Cultural Psychology: Eastern and Western Perspectives. Sage: London.

Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. Routledge & Keegan Ltd. (also available in Penguin Classics)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will promote intercultural competence and critical awareness of one's own positionality. It will develop the ability of critical analysis of psychological research through putting it into the broader picture of its temporal and spatial, and through them, cultural and ideological context. Students will gain competence in engaging with ideas, topics, and persons globally. It will allow students to gain understanding of cultural viewpoints and consequently efficient cross-cultural communicators. In addition, the presentation part of the assessment will develop students communication and presentation skills. The course requires students to reflect and think through their assumptions thus developing competence in independent thinking.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Thomas Bak
Tel: (0131 6)50 9861
Course secretaryMiss Anna Jarvis
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