Study Experimental Psychology with our Oxford Summer School 2018 | Students aged 13-15

Also available for students aged 16-18.

Class Summary

The Experimental Psychology class has been designed to offer students from varying backgrounds an introduction and insight into studying Experimental Psychology. Experimental Psychologists have addressed some of the most intriguing questions of life: What makes you you? What makes you different from other people? Is there always a clear difference between Good and Evil? This class provides students with the opportunity to study, discuss and debate these alongside a wide range of other fascinating and controversial issues.

The class provides students with the opportunity to study topics beyond those they will have met in formal education, and to discuss and approach established arguments from alternative and challenging perspectives. Topics include the study and measurement of personality, infant development, social development, and attachment in childhood. The class also looks at key principles of experimental design, animal testing and the issue of ethics in experimental research – how should we engage with ethically controversial studies which have nevertheless helped further psychologists’ research?

The class will give students a thorough grounding in the most important theorists in Experimental Psychology (starting, of course, with Pavlov and Freud) and the concepts that they pioneered. Lively discussion is encouraged among students, including reflection on their own experiences. Topics will be explored through a combination of structured teaching, varied activities and exercises, class discussion, and video stimuli. Students will also get the chance to design, conduct and report on their own psychological experiment, which will form the basis of the assessment for this course. Students will thereby learn the practicalities of how Experimental Psychology is studied in the laboratory as well as in the classroom.

By taking this course, students learn a range of fundamental psychological concepts, gain an understanding of some of the classic studies in psychology, explore the processes and practicalities of conducting psychological research, evaluate research material in light of their own experiences, receive an overview of the discipline of psychology and understand the dynamic nature of experimental psychology as a field of study. They are encouraged to be supportive of each other, balancing open mindedness with a critical approach to the material they read.

Taking Experimental Psychology is a good way to develop a grounding in the scientific method applied to something that we can all easily comprehend: not the far-off world of black holes or the minute interactions of quarks, but our own minds and the processes that inform who we are as people. In this way it makes scientific approaches and ideas accessible even to students who might not currently think of themselves as being interested in the sciences – a fantastic gateway to further study. This class encourages students to share their own ideas and their own experiences; after all, even before you have learned anything at all about Psychology, you already know a great deal about the experience of being human.

Expectations/Prerequisites

No prior knowledge in Psychology or Biology is necessary. All that is required is an enthusiasm for Psychology and a desire to work with others to further students’ own knowledge.