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PSY2014 : Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Alexander Thiele
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide in depth knowledge of current thinking and theories in cognitive neuroscience, with particular reference to:
(a)       Methods of cognitive neuroscience;
(b)       Higher order perception
(c)       Models of attention
(d)       Learning and memory
(e)       Action control
(f)       Executive function and frontal lobes

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics to be covered are: methods of cognitive neuroscience (psychophysics, computer modelling, animal research, neurology, non-invasive brain imaging); higher order perception (object recognition, literacy, face processing, agnosias); models of attention ( bottom-up attention, top-down attention, attentional networks, visual search, neglect); learning and memory (models of memory, memory circuits, amnesias, encoding and retrieval); Action control (the motor system, control of movement, neural prosthetics, motor deficits); executive function and frontal lobes (frontal lobe anatomy, action selection, value representation, evaluation of action consequences, higher order cognitive dysfunction)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading41:004:00Read assigned articles
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Includes group discussion, critical analysis of published work, presentation of discussion outcome
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:0012:00Revise presented video material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study601:0060:00Revise lectures in accordance with suggested reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures, the essential and additional reading, and the associated handouts form the core factual content of the course. The second session each week is an interactive session in which students read a paper or extract from the current literature, and discuss its interpretation in small groups. The papers used in this second session are key papers from the past 10 years that have influenced thinking in the respective area of research. This allows the students to understand the methods used to investigate a research question, obtain an understanding of statistics in relation to data, develop skills in absorbing new information, and learn to think critically. Group discussion in interactive sessions will foster deep learning, and train oral scientific communication skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination901A100Unseen exam (essay 50% and MCQ 50%)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination essays will be used to assess knowledge, independent learning and understanding of the material relevant to the module, the ability to integrate this material and to communicate clearly, and the ability for critical thought.

The multiple choice element of the examination will provide information about the depth and breadth of the students’ knowledge base. Multiple choice examinations are regularly used in Psychology stage 2 modules, and care is taken to ensure that the questions are of varying levels of difficulty and assess understanding as well as factual recall. The existence of an essay component also provides a cross-check against the MCQ assessment.

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.

Reading Lists