Friday, 2 October 2009

Psychology 3

Well as I suspected there is a LOT of reading involved in my course this year. Someone once told me that you should treat your university course like a full time job, so you should do 35-40 hours a week. So I divided the time between the modules and split it up across the week, and I've got more than enough to keep me occupied.

First there's Biological Psychology - I had a lecture for it today, which was quite interesting. In terms of lecture related reading this one's easy - one chapter in a textbook covers two 2-hour lectures. Nice and simple. However, in week 7 we have a "Brain quiz" worth 25% of our grade for the module which involves drawing, labeling and describing the various bits of the brain, and research methods into brain biology. Lots to study for that. We even get to borrow model brains from the department to figure out where things go. I'm looking forward to that but my turn isn't until the 10 days before the test! arg!

Then there's Differential Psychology - this one's about individual differences, specifically in personality traits at this stage, and there is a lot of reading for this. A couple chapters in a text book, 3 or 4 compulsory journal articles and a few extras, for each lecture. Some lectureres might give more or less than others so i'm hoping it eases of later in the term! Fortunately there's only the one final exam for this course, so nothing in particular to stress about until much later on.

Tuesdays is Social Psychology, which is actually pretty interesting. At the moment we're looking at social comparison, and how everyone tends to rate themselves at being better than the average person on any particular dimensions. In other words, most people think that they are nicer than the average person, but obviously this can't be true because we can't all be above the average, some people have to be below! Its called the better-than-average effect (no points for imagination) and the various bits of research and theory that have gone towards explaining it are very interesting although they can be confusing at times! Reading for this course is 4 or 5 articles per lecture, for all the lectures this year, although we do get a week off with this class, which is nice.

Methodology is certainly not the worst for reading, but two hour statistics lectures are rough. I need to re-learn how to use the statistics programme, SPSS, before next term when we have to do practical projects, because lets just say it wasn't my strong point last year! Although there isn't much reading for these lectures, you do have to spend some time going over things to understand the formulas and how to do it in SPSS and what it actually means and what its actually for and all that kind of thing. We get some demonstrations as well as just lectures so they should help clarify things.

By far the heaviest work and reading load is, however, the literature review, which is worth twice as many course credits as each of the other modules, and is almost completely private study. We get three one hour tutorials on it, and are expected to hand in a 5000 word review by the last week of term. Rough! Fortunately i managed to get the topic that I really wanted: "Can mental imagery help treat movement disorders and/or limb pain?" You may find that as term goes on and I start to try and make sense of all the articles and "synthesise" them together i start ranting on about it here - I'll try to make them as lay-person friendly as possible, they might make interesting reading, and you all can constructively criticise my writing. Obviously I can't put up sections from the report until after its marked, but you can give me pointers on things which aren't making any sense.

Anyway, enough about me and my degree, how are you all?

love Katie

No comments: