Preliminary Examination in Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics

A

  • 1. The subjects of the examination shall be:

    • (1) Introduction to Psychology

    • (2) Introduction to Philosophy

    • (3) Introduction to Linguistics

    • (4) Introduction to Neurophysiology

    • (5) Introduction to Probability Theory and Statistics

  • 2. Candidates shall be deemed to have passed the examination if they satisfy the Moderators in three subjects.

  • 3. Candidates must offer three subjects at their first examination attempt.

  • 4. A candidate who fails one subject will be permitted one further attempt at this failed subject, at the first available opportunity.

  • 5. A candidate who fails two or three subjects shall be deemed to have failed the examination. He or she will be permitted one further attempt at the whole examination, at the first available opportunity.

  • 6. The Moderators may award a Distinction to candidates of special merit who satisfy them in three subjects at their first examination attempt.

B

(1) Introduction to Psychology

Methods and topics in: development; individual differences; social behaviour; animal behaviour; the neural basis of behaviour; perception; learning; memory; language; cognition; skills; abnormal behaviour.

One three-hour paper will be set.

(2) Introduction to Philosophy

As specified for the Preliminary Examination for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

(3) Introduction to Linguistics

Provides a foundation in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, with an introduction to linguistic theory and the connections between linguistics and other subjects such as philosophy of language, sociology and psychology.

One three-hour paper will be set.

(4) Introduction to Neurophysiology

Excitable Tissues. Membrane potential, ion pumps. Action potential, refractory period. Receptor potentials. Neuromuscular transmission. Synaptic mechanisms.

Chemical Transmitters. Storage and release of transmitter. Removal and synthesis of transmitter. Selected drugs acting on the nervous system.

Efferent Mechanisms. Muscle contraction. Muscle receptors. Spinal reflexes. Higher motor centres. Autonomic nervous system.

Afferent Mechanisms. Hearing. Vision. Somaesthetic system, including pain.

One three-hour paper will be set.

(5) Introduction to Probability Theory and Statistics

This examination is intended to test the candidate's understanding of the elements of probability theory and of the principles of statistics as applied to the design and analysis of surveys and experiments and to the interpretation of the results of such investigations. The topics below are more fully detailed in Definitions and Formulae with Statistical Tables for Elementary Statistics and Quantitative Methods Courses, which is prepared by the Department of Statistics. Copies of this will be available at the examination.

Descriptive statistics and statistical presentation using graphs and simple measures of central tendency and dispersion. Frequency distributions. Samples and populations. The addition and multiplication laws of probability; conditional probability and Bayes' Rule. The binomial, Poisson and normal distributions: their properties and uses and the relationships between them. Statistical inference using sampling distributions, standard errors and confidence limits. Common uses of z, t, chi-square and F tests and nonparametric tests including tests of hypothesis for the mean, median or proportion of a single population or for the difference between two or more populations, goodness-of-fit tests and tests of difference between two population distributions.

Parametric one-way Analysis of variance. Kruskal-Wallis non-Parametric analysis of variance. The analysis of 2-way contingency tables using chi-square tests. Linear regression and correlation.

A comprehensive list of formulae together with statistical tables will be available at the examination.

One three-hour paper will be set.

For papers (1) and (5) only, examiners will permit the use of any hand-held pocket calculator subject to the conditions set out under the heading ‘Use of calculators’ in the Regulations for the Conduct of University Examinations.