Course syllabus for

Experimental psychology, 15 credits

Experimentell psykologi, 15 hp
This course syllabus is valid from autumn 2024.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Course code
Course name
Experimental psychology
15 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
G1 - First cycle 1 
Grading scale
Fail (U), pass (G) or pass with distinction (VG)
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Decided by
Programnämnden för Psykologprogrammet
Decision date
Revised by
Education committee CNS
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Autumn 2024

Specific entry requirements

Mathematics 2a or 2b or 2c, Social Sciences 1b or 1a1+1a2.


On completion of the course, the student should be able to

Module 1, Perception and attention

  • describe the way our senses and our brain interpret the environment in psychologically meaningful units and various theories about this
  • describe the principles of how we pay attention to certain types of information, but not other

Module 2, Emotion and motivation

  • describe basic homeostatic emotions such as hunger, thirst and sexuality from psychological, evolutionary and neuroscience perspectives
  • describe basic emotions such as fear and anger from psychological, evolutionary and neuroscience perspectives and reflect on the ways in which feelings (or emotions) play a central role in people's lives

Module 3, Experimental methodology

  • define and understand the meaning of descriptive statistical concepts (e.g. population, sample, measures of central tendency, variance) and statistical inference (e.g. significance, significance level, within- and between-subject comparisons, t-test), and be able to discuss and implement statistical analysis of simple experimental data
  • characterise descriptive methods and the difference between qualitative and quantitative data
  • describe the principles of experimental design and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of experimental methodology in different research contexts
  • in a group setting plan and carry out a laboratory session in the form of a smaller experiment and in writing be able to analyse, report and discuss its results
  • during a seminar be able to discuss your own as well as other students' experimental lab-reports from a statistical, methodological, and ethical perspective


The course is divided into three modules, as follows:

Perception and attention, 5.0 hp

Grading scale: VU

This module deals with sensory and perception, that is how our minds are informed about the world around us and about events in one's own body, as well as psychological research about how this information is interpreted and used. The neurophysiological background of these functions is treated comprehensively. Perception can not treat all available information but attention processes will select the information to be prioritised that will guide action. Theories (and the neurological basis) of attention are included.

Emotion and motivation, 5.0 hp

Grading scale: VU

The module deals with driving forces and emotional dynamics behind human action. It applies original biologically-based driving forces as hunger, thirst, sexuality and emotional connection to other people and social motives such as for example dominance and neurophysiological control of these. Feelings are treated within the concept emotion, where basic emotion states such as joy, sorrow, fear, anger and disgust are treated from evolutionary biological, psychological and neuro-scientific perspectives. Further, emotional communication is treated, and the interplay between emotion and other psychological processes.

Experimental methodology, 5.0 hp

Grading scale: VU

The module provides an introduction to statistics that partly deals with descriptive statistical concepts such as population and sample distribution, measures of central tendency (e.g. mean), variability (e.g. standard deviation) and statistical estimation, and introduces inference statistics with significance tests of differences between the two groups.

Further, an introduction is given to experimental research methodology with an overview of basic concepts such as experimental variables (independent, dependent and irrelevant variables), experimental control, and causal inferences. Further, experimental design and the usability of experimental methodology for various types of issues and scientific writing are discussed.

Teaching methods

The main part of the teaching takes place in the form of lectures/ seminars where the students are encouraged to actively participate. Further, demonstrations and statistical calculation exercises, and an implementation of a laboratory work, are included. This laboratory work implies that the students in groups formulate an issue for an experiment and plan, carry out, analyse, and report this in a written report that is then presented at a seminar. Reports may be written in and ventilated in English.

Some course elements are compulsory, see heading "Examination".


Module 1, Perception and attention is examined in the following way:
a) written examination at the end of module 1, is graded U (Fail), G (Pass) or VG (Pass with distinction)
b) active participation in compulsory demonstrations, according to schedule

The module is graded U, G or VG.
The grade G on the module requires G on examination a, as well as fulfillment of compulsory course elements.
The grade VG requires, in addition, the grade VG on examination a.

Module 2, Emotion and motivation is examined in the following way:
a) written examination at the end of module 2, is graded U, G or VG
b) active participation in compulsory seminars and group assignments, according to schedule

The module is graded U, G or VG.
The grade G on the module requires G on examination a, as well as fulfillment of compulsory course elements.
The grade VG requires, in addition, VG on examination a.

Module 3, Experimental methodology is examined in the following way:
a) written examination of method (is graded U, G or VG) and statistics (is graded U, G or VG)
b) written report of completed group experiment and oral review of this in a seminar. It is also required that the group acts as a critic of another group's report. The examination is graded U or G.
c) attending compulsory elements of laboratory work, according to schedule

The module is graded U, G or VG.
The grade G on the module requires G on both parts of examination a (method and statistics), G on examination b, as well as fulfillment of compulsory course elements.
The grade VG requires, in addition, VG on at least one of the two parts of the examination a (method and/ or statistics).

Course grade
The entire course is graded U, G or VG.
The grade G requires at least G on all the three modules. The grade VG requires in addition VG on at least two of the three modules.

Absence from or unfulfillment of compulsory course elements
The examiner decides whether, and if so how, absence from or unfulfillment of compulsory course elements can be made up for. Study results cannot be reported until the student has participated in or fulfilled compulsory course elements, or compensated for any absence/ failure to fulfill in accordance with instructions from the examiner. Absence from or unfulfillment of a compulsory course element may imply that the student can not retake the element until the next time the course is offered.

Limitation of the number of examinations
Students who do not pass the regular examination are entitled to retake the examination on five more occasions. If the student has failed a total of six examinations/tests, no additional examination will be given. Each occasion the student participates in the same test counts as an examination. Submission of blank exam is counted as an examination. An electronic examination that has been opened via the learning management system counts as an examination, even if the examination is not submitted. An examination to which the student registered but did not attend, will not be counted as an examination. In order for an examination assignment to be relevant for assessment, it must have been submitted by the appointed time, otherwise the student is referred to the re-examination opportunity.

Possibility of exception from the course syllabus' regulations on examination
If there are special grounds, or a need for adaptation for a student with a disability, the examiner may decide to deviate from the syllabus' regulations on the examination form, the number of examination opportunities, the possibility of supplementation or exemptions from the compulsory section/s of the course etc. Content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and attitudes may not be changed, removed or reduced.

Transitional provisions

If the course is cancelled or goes through substantial changes, information about interim regulations will be stated here.

Other directives

Course evaluation takes place in accordance with KI's local guidelines. Results and possible actions are communicated to the students via the course web page.

Literature and other teaching aids

Mandatory literature

Adolphs, Ralph; Anderson, David J. The neuroscience of emotion : a new synthesis
Barrett, Lisa Feldman How emotions are made : the secret life of the brain
Biswas-Diener, R.; Diener, E. Noba textbook series: Psychology
Borg, Elisabet; Westerlund, Joakim Statistik för beteendevetare : faktabok
Purves, Dale. Principles of cognitive neuroscience
Reisberg, Daniel Cognition : exploring the science of the mind
Research Methods in Psychology (4th edition) Rajiv Jhangiani, S; I-Chant Chiang, A; Cuttler, Carrie; Leighton, Dana C
Further study material (e.g., articles) may be included (approx. 200 pages).