Skip to main content

Unit information: Myths and Misconceptions about Psychology in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Myths and Misconceptions about Psychology
Unit code PSYC10005
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Hood
Open unit status Not open

Registered on Single Honours Psychology



School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


This unit is designed to counter common misconceptions that are currently pervasive in our society and explain why they are wrong or inaccurate. Not only are popular psychology myths misleading about human nature, but they also lead many to make unwise decisions. For example, many myths are exploited by some individuals for financial gain whereas others can be dangerous or lead to injustice. The aim of this unit is to consider common myths from a scientific perspective, and in doing so, cover many of the key empirical studies in the history of psychology.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will have acquired a conceptual understanding and appreciation that psychology is not just common sense but rather, a necessarily scientific approach to dealing with the foibles of human thought and behaviour. They will also have learnt about the key studies in psychology over the last 100 or so years, and some of the notable issues which are still of interest to psychologists today.

Teaching details

This unit comprises 24 x 1 hour lectures with 2 hours per week scheduled for developing the portfolio. Tutorials (1 hour bi-weekly run through the personal tutoring system) also feed into this unit.

Assessment Details

1. Portfolio and critique (50%) Students collect information on myths and misconceptions on a weekly basis and build a portfolio which they submit at the end of the unit with a 1600 word critique of their material.

2. Written examination (50%) mid-term.

Reading and References


  • Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J. Ruscio. J. & Beyerstein, B. L. (2010). 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread misconceptions about human behaviour. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.


  • Kahneman, D. (2011) Thinking, fast and slow. London: Allen Lane. Gilovich, T. (1993). How we know what isn’t so: The fallibility of human reason in everyday life. New York: Free Press.
  • Della Sala, S. (Ed.) (1999). Mind myths: Exploring popular assumptions about the mind and brain. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Hood, B. (2009). Supersense: from superstition to religion – the brain science of belief. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • Suggestions for further reading will be made separately through Blackboard