Module Catalogue 2018/19

PSY3018 : The Damaged Brain: Case Studies in Neuropsychology

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Quoc Vuong
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The primary aims of this module are :
(1) Introduce students to the principles and methods of neuropsychology
(2) Introduce case studies as an experimental approach
(3) Demonstrate how the damaged brain in combination with recent brain imaging techniques can inform students about cognitive functions in areas such as vision, language, motor control and conscious awareness
(4) Develop critical analysis and oral communication skills

Original Summary:
This module introduces students to the growing field of neuropsychology which examines the relationship between brain structures and functions such as vision, language, motor control, and conscious awareness. As the title suggests, the module focuses on (1) how brain damage leads to deficits in these functions, and (2) how case studies can inform researchers about how the brain works in neurologically healthy people. For example, in prosopagnosia, lesions to the temporal lobes can lead to a profound inability to visually recognize faces (even of the individual’s own face!) but with no impaired vision. Students will critically examine neurological case studies, and learn how this method complements more recent brain imaging techniques in both healthy and damaged brains.

Outline Of Syllabus

The specific themes covered in this module are:
(1) History and development of neuropsychology
(2) Review of brain anatomy
(3) Using case studies to understand the undamaged brain
(4) Case studies across different possible functions
Vision: e.g., prosopagnosia – impairment in face recognition
Language: e.g., aphasia – deficits in language production
Memory: e.g., amnesia – memory loss following brain damage
Motor control: e.g., apraxia – deficits in motor control
(5) Imaging the healthy and damaged brain – introduction to the different techniques to see the brain (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging)
(6) Methods of assessing impact of brain damage on functions, and methods of rehabilitation

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

(1) Build on prior knowledge of language, perception and cognitive psychology introduced in other modules such as PSY1004 and expanding to other areas such as motor control. Previous modules have focused on healthy subjects.
(2) Build on prior knowledge of brain anatomy and neurophysiology introduced in other modules such as PSY1004
(3) Critically assess individual case studies to supplement critical assessments of other types of research methods (e.g., experimental designs with neurologically healthy subjects)
(4) Develop an integrative understanding of cognitive and motor functions from a combination of case studies and modern neuropsychology methods; learn how neuropsychology can complement and deepen knowledge gained from other areas such as abnormal and evolutionary psychology

Intended Skill Outcomes

(1) Subject-specific skills
-       gain knowledge of how cognitive and motor deficits can be measured
-       gain knowledge of recent techniques for imaging both healthy and damaged brains
(2) Cognitive/Intellectual/Key skill
-       interpreting and synthesizing case studies
-       oral presentation of case studies which will allow them to practice their presentation skills before they do their 3rd year project presentation at the end of Semester 2
-       develop critical thinking, analysis, and oral communication skills

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Present
  • Self Management
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Problem Solving : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Assessed
      • Written Other : Assessed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00Presentation preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading120:0020:00Read assigned articles
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Includes presentations
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity13:003:00Presentation preparation in group
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:00Revise lecture notes
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures are needed to discuss the underlying principles and methodology of neuropsychology (ILO 1-4). The seminars allow students to discuss specific case studies, develop presentation skills, and provide time for individual presentations (ILO 5-6). The private study provides student with the opportunity to evaluate the evidence and carry out further reading as they see fit.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A80Students have to answer 1 out of 3 unseen essay questions (70%), and 3 out of 3 unseen short-answer questions (10% each)
Oral Presentation151M20In class presentation. Presentation will be 10-20 minutes depending upon student numbers.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The unseen exam will assess (1) students’ understanding of the principles of neuropsychology; (2) their ability to critically interpret case studies covered in lectures and tutorials; and (3) their abilities to generalize knowledge to new case studies not covered during the course of the module (ILO 1-4).

The individual presentations will provide students (1) the opportunity to research their own case study; (2) the opportunity to critique other peoples’ interpretations; (3) the opportunity to practice oral presentation; and (4) receive feedback.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.