Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

As part of advanced training in psychology, this unit provides you with the opportunity to be exposed to specialised training in psychology. Topics may be drawn from one or more distinct areas of psychology, including (but not limited to) cognitive, social, developmental, health and applied psychology. The material will be of an advanced nature, offering engagement with cutting edge research and innovation and in-depth examination of contemporary perspectives on, and interpretation of, recent trends in the field psychology, as well as an awareness of its historical and philosophical underpinnings. The choice of specific topics will be driven by the expertise of the Lecturers assigned to teach the unit. The aims of this unit are to develop your advanced skills in (a) critical analysis of theories and models presented to explain observed trends in an area of psychology, (b) the use of research evidence to develop, modify or reject theories and models and (c) the development of research designs that may address an open research question in the area under investigation.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - demonstrate an ability to critically analyse research evidence and theoretical accounts in the psychology topics under study (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10); 

LO2 - demonstrate an ability to synthesise and present theoretical models and evidence in a logical, structured and eloquent manner, in oral and written format. (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10); 

LO3 - identify the critical predictions of the theoretical models under study, and the methodological approaches used to test those predictions (GA4, GA5, GA8); 

LO4 - develop proposed empirical approaches to the investigation of critical issues in the specific topic under study (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10); 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 


Specific topics or a range of topics may be drawn from the following themes, based on research expertise of the Lecturer in charge of the unit: 


Ageing; Aggression; Altruism and Helping Behaviour; Attachment and Adjustment; Attention; Attitudes; Collective and Group Processes; Attraction; Attributions; Cognition and Ageing; Cognitive Development; Cognitive Disorders; Cognition and Performance; Cognitive Neuroscience; Cognitive Schemas; Community Psychology; Counselling Psychology; Clinical Psychology; Cross Cultural Psychology; Developmental Psychopathology; Educational Psychology; Eating Behaviour; Emotion; Evolutionary Psychology; Executive Function; Experimental Psychology; Forensic/Criminal Psychology; Gender Roles and Sexuality; Health Psychology; Indigenous Psychology; Judgement and Decision Making; Language; Learning; Linguistics; Memory; Mental Imagery; Morality; Motor Cognition; Music Cognition; Neuroimaging; Neuropsychology; Organisational Psychology; Perception; Personality; Problem Solving; Psychology and the Law; Reasoning; Relationships; Self-Esteem; Self-Preservation; Self-Concept; Self-Regulation and Self-Determination; Social Cognition; Social Development; Spatial Cognition; Sports Psychology.  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit will be delivered face-to-face with 2 hour sessions ever week. The sessions will mostly be organized as guided seminar discussions workshops where a topic is introduced and discussed in class. The discussions are guided by the Lecturer so that they focus on the issues that are relevant to the development of the target learning outcomes. This format is chosen as it is the ideal approach to facilitate critical thinking and oral communication skills and because it fosters the role of the student as an active participant in a fundamental part of the research enterprise. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit all of the assessment tasks. In addition to this, students must obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50% to pass the unit.  

To allow you to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes, assessment in this unit will involve written and oral presentation assessment. The written assessments will include (a) an essay that critically analyses theory and related empirical research, and (b) a research proposal. You will also do an oral presentation. In combination, these tasks will enable you to demonstrate your ability to critically analyse and synthesise research, and to identify appropriate research methodology to test hypotheses. The three assessments will be based around a single topic, with timely feedback provided that will enable you to develop and refine your work.   

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


you will critically analyse theory and empirical evidence and present your critique as an essay. 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA2, GA4,GA5, GA8, GA10 

Oral presentation:  

you will demonstrate your ability to analyse, synthesize and present information in an oral format. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Research proposal:  

you will demonstrate your ability to identify a research question and to apply your knowledge of the methodological approaches in the area to test said question. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4,

GA2, GA3, GA4,GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Behavioral and Brain Sciences  

Brain and Cognition  


Child Development 

Developmental Psychology 

Health Psychology  

Health Psychology Review 

Journal of Applied Psychology 

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience  

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 


Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews  

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 

Psychology and Aging  

Psychology and Health 

Psychological Bulletin  

Psychological Review 

Social Cognition 

Social Development 

Trends in Cognitive Sciences  

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