Science of the Imagination - PSYC6393

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module focuses on imaginative cognition - the capacity for humans to mentally simulate other times, places, and possibilities outside the present. We will consider theoretical perspectives and debates on the imagination from a range of disciplines, and will examine how the imagination – whilst seemingly intangible – can be empirically quantified and studied. We will discuss the contributions of the imagination to people's decisions, actions, and beliefs. Teaching topics may include, but are not limited to, pretend play and imagination in childhood, counterfactual and future thinking, mental imagery, thought experiments, creativity, imagination in clinical populations, the neuroscience of the imagination, and imaginative cognition in other species.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 22
Private study: 128
Total: 150


Optional to Psychology undergraduate courses.

Available as a wild module, subject to prerequisites.
Available to Short Term Credit students at the discretion of the School or module convenor.

Method of assessment

*Written assignment (2000 words) 50%
*Presentation in small groups (plus supporting documentation) 40%
Participation in class discussion 10%
*These elements are pass compulsory and must be passed to achieve the learning outcomes of the module.

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages (

Learning outcomes

Subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module you will be able to:
1. demonstrate an understanding of the interdisciplinary study of the imagination, including relevant concepts, theories, methods, and research findings.
2. critically evaluate theories, methods, and research findings related to the psychology of the imagination.
3. identify research questions and study designs to address gaps or limitations in the study of the imagination.
4. conceive of ways research findings and module content on the psychology of the imagination could be applied for real-world benefit (e.g., schools, workplaces, government).

Generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module you will be able to:
1. critically evaluate scientific theories and evidence in published research.
2. demonstrate critical thinking in written communication
3. demonstrate effective oral communication skills by articulating opinions clearly, considering others' perspectives, and engaging in discussions.
4. manage time, plan work, and study independently.
5. apply concepts from research to applied settings.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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