Psychology involves the study of the brain and mind, cognition and encompasses the mental and brain processes involved in attention, learning and memory, language, action, awareness, thinking and reasoning, cognitive and social development, the psychology of social groups, and atypical psychology. The course at Cambridge is geared towards the experimental and biological parts of the discipline. Those more interested in social psychology or personality may wish to consider the Politics, Psychology and Sociology Tripos.
Teaching is provided in three broad sections:
A. Cognitive and Experimental Psychology
B. Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience
C. Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Individual Differences.
Candidates for the Psychology Option study material across all three sections, whereas candidates for the Cognitive Neuroscience Option only take modules from sections A and B.
Students will have been introduced to some of these topics in the Natural Sciences Tripos courses: Part IA Evolution and Behaviour, Part IB Experimental Psychology or Part IB Neurobiology, or in the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos courses: Part IB Neurobiology and Human Behaviour, and Part IB Special Option: Experimental Psychology.
Teaching is also provided on statistics and experimental design (Paper 1) and also tests the candidate’s ability to relate and integrate information from different branches of the subject, and includes questions on the history and philosophy of psychology.
There are no practical classes. Instead, each student conducts an experimental research project, under supervision, over two terms, and submits an independent written report. A dissertation – an extended critical review of an area of the psychological or cognitive neuroscience literature other than that of the project – may also be submitted. The Tripos mark is based on the project report (20%), and Papers 1 to 2 (20% each).
Almost all those admitted to the course will have taken Part IB Experimental Psychology in the Natural Sciences Tripos, or Part IB of the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos.
For those who have met the requirements, and have taken the Psychology Option, the degree received is recognised by the British Psychological Society as conferring ‘graduate basis for registration’, an essential prerequisite for postgraduate training and practice in certain professional branches of psychology.
For students who do well in the Part II course, there are good opportunities to take up pure or applied research.
N.B. It is also possible to read Part II Physiology and Psychology, a joint course combining
aspects of the individual Part II subjects.
- Barlow, H B & Mollon, J D. The Senses. Cambridge University Press (revised1989). Paperback. [A textbook by local authors, covering both sensory and perceptual processes].Bruce, V, Green, P R, & Georgeson, M A (1996). Visual Perception. PsychologyPress, 3rd Edition. Paperback
- Coren, S., Ward, L.M., Enns, J.T. (1994). Sensation and Perception 4th Edition Harcourt Brace; FortWorth,
- Snowden, R Thompson, P & Troscianko, T (2006). Basic Vision. Oxford University Press, Paperback
- Goldstein, E B (1999). Sensation and Perception. Wadsworth, 6th Edition.
- Gregory, R L (1977). Eye and Brain. 5th Edition. OUP (1998).*
- Moore, B C J (2012). An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing. Emerald, 6th Edition.
- McNicol, D (2005). A Primer of Signal Detection Theory. Erlbaum, Mahwah, New Jersey. Paperback. Michaelmas
- Osherson, D N, Kosslyn, J M & Hollerbach (1990). Visual Cognition and Action (An invitation to cognitive science, Vol. 2). MIT. Paperback.+
- Plack, C J (2005). The Sense of Hearing. Erlbaum, Mahwah, New Jersey.
- Speaks, C E (1996). Introduction to Sound. Singular Publishing Group.
- Snowden, Thompson & Troscianko, Ch. 9.
- Pashler, H (1998). Attention. Psychology Press.*
- Styles, E A (1997). The Psychology of Attention. Psychology Press.*
Learning & Memory
- Anderson, J R (2000) Learning and Memory. Wiley: New York.
- Gluck, M A et al. (2008) Learning and Memory: Worth: New York.
- Gazzaniga, M S et al. (2002) Cognitive Neuroscience, 2 ed. Norton; New York.
- Eysenck, M & Keane, M (2005). Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook, 5th Edition. Psychology Press*+
- Baddeley, A (1997). Human Memory: Theory and Practice (Rev. Ed.). Psychology Press*+
- Ward, J (2006). The Student’s Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience. Psychology Press*+
- Posner, M (1989). Foundations of Cognitive Science. MIT Press*
Reasoning & Decision making:
- Manktelow, K (1999) Reasoning and Thinking (Psychology Press). Ch. 3–4, 8–10.
- Eysenck, M W (2001) Principles of Cognitive Psychology (Psychology Press), Ch. 9 &10. (Ch. 15 & 17 in Eysenck & Keane, Cognitive Psychology: a Student Handbook (3rd Edition.) cover similar material).*
- Gazzaniga, M S et al (2002) Cognitive Neuroscience: the Biology of the Mind (2nd Edition) (Norton).
Language & The Brain:
- Principles of Neuroscience, 4th Edition. (Kandel, Schwartz, & Jessel, Eds.), Ch. 59, Language and aphasia.*
- Cognitive Neuroscience: The biology of mind (Gazzaniga et al., Eds.), Ch, 8: Language and the brain.*
- Harris, M & Butterworth, G E, (2002) Developmental Psychology: A Student’s Handbook. Psychology Press
- Bremner, J G (1998), Infancy. Oxford: Blackwells.
- Goswami, U, (1998), Cognition in Children. Psychology Press.
- Mackintosh, N (2010) IQ and Human Intelligence. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press.
- Kline, P (1991). Intelligence: The Psychometric View.
- Routledge. Cooper, C (1999). Intelligence and Abilities.
- Routledge. Deary, I (2001). Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford.
- Davison, G C, Neale, J M (2009). Abnormal Psychology. Wiley, 11th Edition
- Hogg, M.A. and Vaughan, G M. (2002) Social Psychology: An introduction. London: Prentice Hall.
- Brown, R. (2000) Group Processes. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Fiske, S and Taylor, S. (1991) Social Cognition. New York: McGraw-Hill.