USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

PSY1101 Critical Thinking

Semester 1, 2013 On-campus Springfield
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Psychology
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Andrea Lamont-Mills
Moderator: Graeme Senior


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: BPSH or BPSB. Students enrolled in other degrees may be permitted to enrol in this course with the examiner's approval.


Much of the study in an undergraduate Psychology degree is aimed at teaching students to think like a professional psychologist. Largely this involves being able to think critically about any issue that arises and to be able to problem solve. In order to do this one needs a thorough understanding of how people learn, how they evaluate information and how they use it. Students also need to be aware of the shortcomings of the cognitive processes they bring to critical thinking and problem solving that are likely to lead to less than optimal outcomes.


Critical thinking and problem solving skills are attributes that USQ affirms its graduates should have acquired upon completion of their degree. This course is aimed directly at fostering those skills. This is done by examining the topic from a range of perspectives. The techniques of critical thinking and problem solving are explicitly taught. In addition, the issue of bias and other types of cognitive limitations that produce erroneous solutions are also examined.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the psychological basis underpinning critical thinking and problem solving skills;
  2. apply critical thinking and problem solving skills in solving applied problems;
  3. describe and apply the philosophical assumptions underpinning the scientific method;


Description Weighting(%)
1. Schema Building 10.00
2. Logical Reasoning 10.00
3. Problem Solving 10.00
4. Biases in Decision Making 10.00
5. The Scientific Method and Hypothesis Testing 20.00
6. Science and Psychology 40.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There is no text assigned for this course. Required materials will be distributed in class and made available through the course StudyDesk.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Cederblom, J & Pausen, DW 1996, Critical reasoning: understanding and criticizing arguments and theories, Wadsworth, Belmont, CA.
  • Davison, JE & Sternberg, RJ 2003, The psychology of problem solving, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  • Forte, I & Schurr, S 1997, 180 icebreakers to strengthen critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Hawker Brownlow Education, Cheltenham, Vic.
  • Goldstein, EB 2007, Cognitive psychology: connecting mind, research and everyday experience, 2nd edn, Wadsworth, Australia.
  • Halonen, J & Gray, C 2001, The critical thinking companion for introductory psychology, Worth Publishers, New York.
  • Kahneman, D & Tversky, A 2000, Choices, values, and frames, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  • Reisberg, D 2006, Cognition, 3rd edn, Norton, New York.
  • Stanovich, KE 2007, How to think straight about psychology, 8th edn, Allyn & Bacon, Boston, Mass.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 51.00
Class Contact 39.00
Private Study 70.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
CMA 20 50 15 Apr 2013
TEST 20 50 31 May 2013

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assignments satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each assignment.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    There is no penalty for late submission of assignments.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course. Note that the Conceded Pass is not available in this course due to APAC accreditation standard 2.1.9.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Access to email, discussion groups and the internet is a departmental requirement. Students are expected to open their university provided email account and check it regularly for personal communication. Information sent this way will be regarded as being receivable.

  2. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.