Psychology in the Real World

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
16 November 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module closely links to the Department's mission to foster an "Understanding of our place in the world". The module will feature a range of state-of-the-art psychological research as conducted by Essex based researchers and demonstrate what and how their area of research has contributed to society.

This module's precise content will vary from year to year, lectures will focus on introducing key research questions before outlining how answers to these questions have contributed to addressing challenges faced by society at large.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To enable students to understand and explain the role psychological research plays in “the real world”, that is beyond academia. How can psychology research be used effectively to help society? What can fundamental research contribute to day to day tasks (e.g., how to find the milk in the fridge), or more taxing questions (e.g., where does AI work lead us)?

  • To enable students to understand how psychologists from Essex apply their knowledge beyond academia.

  • To introduce students to a range of different Essex research and the contributions it has made to society.

  • To provide students with the opportunity to review existing evidence from a variety of different psychology disciplines and explore how this knowledge was integrated into practice.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Develop a systematic understanding of empirical research relating to current issues in psychology.

  2. Demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge from different disciplines in psychology to provide solutions to real-world problems.

  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationships between empirical evidence, and the use of that evidence in the real-world situations.

  4. Critically evaluate the methods used in psychological research in applied settings.

Module information

This module will outline how principles of psychological science are relevant to everyday life and will address questions such as "How has cognitive psychology started today's AI revolution", "What are the therapeutic uses of virtual reality for the treatment phobias and anxiety", "Does training people where to look improve performance", "What role does sensory processing play in the understanding and treatment of migraines", "Who is taking drugs and what interventions can psychology provide", "What gestures can be useful for clinicians", "What can psychologists contribute to information design", or "Can psychology tell us anything about how we search for our keys, or find milk at the supermarket"?

Questions such as these will be addressed by critically examining "what the problem is" and what research evidence we can use to answer these questions to have an impact beyond academia. As part of your assessment, you will work on a "real-life" problem, i.e. a problem that an existing company or organisation is facing and you will contribute to them addressing the issue basing your advice on content learned throughout the module. This focus on "real-life" problems will be beneficial for you in future employment where it may be relevant to translate your existing knowledge into company specific strategies.

For each topic, students will be introduced to relevant background literature and typical research methodologies to help form a thorough understanding of how this knowledge can be applied outside the lecture hall. Crucially, over the course of this module, students will train this skill and thus the module will help students draw links between a variety of research that they've previously been introduced to and the benefit this research delivers to the real world.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Lectures.

The lectures will be focus on answering questions from different psychology fields in the context of how they contributed to real life problems. Each question will be addressed by providing background knowledge of the research area before focusing in on specific research findings and how this knowledge has been used in practice (or has the potential to be used in practice).

Students will be encouraged to participate in lectures though discussion groups, asking questions, and also through the use of digital interactive platforms. This will ensure that the learning environment is inclusive for all students. Colour and font on slides will be in line with best practice to help those who are visually impaired. Discussion forums on Moodle will provide an additional platform for students to seek additional support and to identify areas that need further explanation.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Applied Essay    100% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Maxwell Roberts, email:
Max Roberts



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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