Exploring Psychology

Ref: C3529471

Intelligence, personality, sanity, mind, gender, and identity are all concepts that influence the ways in which we think about ourselves and others. We will investigate how these words are used, both by experts and in common speech. We will critically examine the scientific evidence for popular assumptions and ask difficult questions such as what is genetic and what is learned, what is myth and what is speculation. For example, the first session will look at intelligence and consider whether it is one thing or many; if it can be measured and what IQ tests test. We will ask if intelligence is inherited or acquired; limited or expansive; a quality or quantity? You can use this course to help develop the thinking skills required for further study or simply to enjoy stimulating conversation and the realisation that these topics are all open to debate and that you can take part. Expect informed presentations with lots of supporting materials, lively discussion and friendly debate.

Course aim

• To explore the contested meanings of these concepts. • To explain the role of divergent psychological perspectives. • To reveal the social and political consequences of these ideas.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for all levels of ability and no prior educational experience is required. Everyone is welcome.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recognise that these concepts have different interpretations that are open to debate.
  • Understand that behind the different meanings are different assumptions, often with political implications.
  • Develop thinking skills that help you to be less easily be taken in those proposing simple solutions, including the experts.
  • Feel more confident in your own ability to understand complex ideas and realise that intelligence is not fixed but expands as you use it.
  • Feel able to take part in discussions about these concepts and other ideas from Psychology.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • No compulsory work to do at home but lots of opportunities for further learning including suggested reading, web-sources and video materials.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • There will also be opportunities for discussion with other students and to share ideas and experiences.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Just bring an open mind.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Before the course starts some background materials will be made available by email but these are not essential to participation in the first session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next
  • A useful preparation for any course that requires thinking critically. Particularly useful for Social Science, Psychology, Sociology, Politics and Philosophy.

Download full course information sheet

Exploring Psychology


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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