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PS30212: Genetic psychology

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Psychology
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: ES80OR20
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment detail for this unit will be available shortly.
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this module you must take PS20167
Learning Outcomes: In completing this unit students would be expected to:
* Critically evaluate different concepts of heritability, including those based on family, twin and population-based studies
* Gain a broad understanding of different genetic methods
* Critically evaluate the role of the media in communicating genetic research related to mental health.

Aims: The aims of this unit are to
* Gain a critical understanding of heritability of mental health traits
* Understand the strengths and limitations of genetic research in the field of psychology
* Apply the concept of gene-environment correlations and interactions to different mental health conditions
* Illustrate the role of epigenetics in mental health.

* Comprehensive and scholarly written communication
* Concise, time-bound and effective written communication for real world impact (press releases, policy briefing)
* Ability to select, summarise and synthesise written information from multiple sources
* Ability to develop rigorous arguments through precise use of concepts and models
* Ability to apply theory into practice
* Ability to select and use appropriate ideas to produce a coherent response to a pre-set question
* Ability to produce work to agreed specifications and deadlines
* Ability to use peer feedback as an assessment for learning
* Ability to work independently, without close supervision orĀ guidance.

Content: The content of the unit
* A short introduction to DNA and basic biology
* Controversies around heritability
* Gene-environment correlations and interactions
* Strengths and limitations of genetic research as well as common pitfalls
* Behavioural and neuroimaging geneticsĀ 
* Epigenetics and controversies around transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.

Programme availability:

PS30212 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Psychology


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
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