PSBA004 Introduction to Psychology

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2019
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 3 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Mgr. Tatiana Malatincová, Ph.D. (lecturer)
doc. PhDr. Jana Marie Havigerová, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. PhDr. Jana Marie Havigerová, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Jarmila Valchářová
Supplier department: Department of Psychology - Faculty of Arts
each odd Monday 14:00–15:40 C33
  • Timetable of Seminar Groups:
PSBA004/01: Mon 10:00–10:50 C51, T. Malatincová
PSBA004/02: Mon 11:00–11:50 C51, T. Malatincová
PSBA004/03: Mon 12:00–12:50 C51, T. Malatincová
PSBA004/04: Mon 13:00–13:50 C51, T. Malatincová
Just like in most courses in Psychology, students will be required to read and/or study academic texts in English.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The course has the following objectives:
1. Introduce psychology as a field of study, as a science, and as a profession, including its disciplines, interdisciplinary overlaps, and methodology;
2. Give an overview of the nature of psychological constructs and basic topics addressed by different areas of psychology;
3. Provide students with the basics of critical and scientific thinking and argumentation;
4. Acquaint students with the basic types of information sources and provide them with basic skills necessary in literature search and processing of information available in scientific literature;
5. Provide students with basic skills necessary for academic writing, including citing of information sources.
Learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the students will:
- be familiarised with the position of psychology among other fields of study and its nature as an empirical probabilistic science;
- be faliliarised with common areas of application of psychology and necessary qualifications;
- distinguish between basic features of critical scientific thinking and pseudo-scientific thinking and use this distinction in thinking about issues addressed by psychology;
- be acquainted with the basic characteristics of psychological constructs, theories, definitions and methods, as well as basic issues and areas addressed by scientific psychology;
- understand the importance of interdisciplinary overlaps in psychological research, and limitations and volatile nature of scientific knowledge;
- understand the difference between fundamental issues and constantly evolving approaches in psychology;
- be acquainted with different types of scientific literature and will be able to make basic judgements about the quality of information sources;
- be able to work with electronic databases and find adequate sources when addressing different topics;
- cite sources adequately using the APA style;
- know how to write a brief summary of a research article for personal research purposes;
- be acquainted with different genres and basic principles of academic writing relevant to writing assignments in their future courses.
  • 1. Introduction: Course syllabus and requirements. Studying at a university – structure; rules, regulations and requirements; academic etiquette.
  • 2. Psychology as a field of study: Psychology as a social science; psychology and other fields of study; psychological disciplines; curriculum of the Bachelor’s degree programme in psychology.
  • 3. Introduction to critical and scientific thinking: Scientific and pseudo-scientific thinking; brief history of scientific thinking; deductive and inductive reasoning; scientific argument; errors and biases in critical thinking.
  • 4. The nature and development of psychological theories: Memory and learning; learning as the development of knowledge; deep learning.
  • 5. Interdisciplinary models in psychology: Psychology and philosophy; biology; cognitive sciences.
  • 6. Academic information sources: Types of information sources; electronic information sources at Masaryk University; literature search; APA citation standards; academic writing in psychology.
  • 7. Psychology as a probabilistic science: The nature and limitations of scientific knowledge in psychology; principles of inductive reasoning; importance of statistics in psychology; dependence of psychological constructs on scientific methodology; types of psychological constructs.
  • 8. Psychological constructs – development and diversity: Personality, intelligence, and temperament; psychology of individual differences; types of measurement in psychology; psychological assessment of personality and ability.
  • 9. Human behaviour: Behaviour as a function of the person and the environment; human behaviour compared with animal models and economic models of rational behaviour; unique characteristics of human experience; social processes; consciousness and awareness; automaticity versus intentionality; self-regulation; experiment in social psychology; human research ethics.
  • 10. Human development and mental health: Importance of developmental psychology; lifespan development; nature versus nurture; psychology and macro-social phenomena; research in developmental and lifespan psychology; mental health versus illness; conceptualisations of normality.
  • 11. Applications of psychology: Fields and careers in professional psychology – description and qualification.
    required literature
  • Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Sixth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2010. xviii, 272. ISBN 9781433805622. info
    recommended literature
  • Ciccarelli, S. K., & White, J. N. (2017). Psychology (5th ed.). Pearson.
  • Gleitman, H., Gross, J., & Reisberg, D. (2011). Psychology (8th ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Myers, D. G., & DeWall, C. N. (2015). Psychology (11th ed.). Worth Publishers.
  • Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. (2012). Psychology: Modules for active learning (13th ed.). Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
  • Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Namy, L. L., & Woolf, N. J. (2015). Psychology: From inquiry to understanding.Pearson.
  • Slife, B. D., Reber, J. S., & Richardson, F. C. (eds.) (2004). Critical thinking about psychology: Hidden assumptions and plausible alternatives. American Psychological Association.
  • Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Ruscio, J., & Beyerstein, B. L. (2010). 50 great myths of popular psychology: Shattering widespread misconceptions about human behavior. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • DIENES, Zoltán. Understanding psychology as a science : an introduction to scientific and statistical inference. First published. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. ix, 170. ISBN 9780230542303. info
  • Critical thinking in psychology. Edited by Henry L. Roediger - Robert J. Sternberg - Diane F. Halpern. 1st pub. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. xii, 340. ISBN 9780521845892. info
  • SINNOTT-ARMSTRONG, Walter and Robert J. FOGELIN. Understanding arguments : an introduction to informal logic. Ninth edition. Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2015. xvi, 510. ISBN 9781285197364. info
  • KAHNEMAN, Daniel. Thinking, fast and slow. 1st ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. 499 s. ISBN 9780374275631. info
  • Ridley, D. (2012). The literature review: A step-by-step guide for students (2nd. ed.). SAGE.
  • MEŠKO, Dušan, Dušan KATUŠČÁK and Ján FINDRA. Akademická příručka. České, upr. vyd. Martin: Osveta, 2006. 481 s. ISBN 8080632197. info
  • ČMEJRKOVÁ, Světla, František DANEŠ and Jindra SVĚTLÁ. Jak napsat odborný text. Vydání první. Praha: Leda, 1999. 255 stran. ISBN 8085927691. info
Teaching methods
The instruction involves classroom lectures, online lectures, classroom discussions and weekly homework focusing on developing critical thinking and other academic skills.
Classroom lectures take place every other week. Online lectures in the forms of short videos will be available in the corresponding e-learning course in the ELF.
Classroom instruction consists of seminars only (45 min./week). Seminars take the form of group disussions on various "everyday psychology" topics, which are announced in advance. The goal is to illustrate the application of knowledge discussed in the lectures, and how different fields of psychology are integrated when addressing these issues. Each student has to register for one of the seminar groups available before the start of the semester in the IS.
Students are required to study the obligatory materials, including videolectures, before each seminar as assigned. Seminar attendance is compulsory.
Assessment methods
An 80% seminar attendance is required in this course. Students are also required to submit all assigned homework in time and in the required standard.
The final colloquium takes the form of an oral group discussion during the exam period. Students draw and respond to one of colloquium questions. The list of colloquium questions will be available at the end of the instruction period.
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
The course is taught annually.
Teacher's information
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2020, Autumn 2021.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Autumn 2019, recent)
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