Skip to main content


PSY2014 : Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Alexander Thiele
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


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 ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00Present in person
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities11:001:00Includes MCQs, and specific short written summary tasks, where sample answers are accessible.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Present in person - Read assigned article, essay writing will be discussed.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study41:004:00Revise presented video material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study761:0076:00Revise 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. Lectures and related video material are combined to increase diversity of materials. Each topic will be broken into smaller sub-sections which have topic related questions at the end, which students are asked to answer before accessing sample answers for comparison. 2 relevant papers will need to be read by the students after key content has been taught and they are encouraged to write an essay related to one of the papers. They will be given guidance on essay writing in an interactive session. The papers used are key recent papers that have influenced thinking in the respective area of research. This allows the students to understand the methods used to investigate a research question, and 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
Digital Examination901A100MCQs (45), short answer questions (4 max 400 words), unseen, PIP Inspera invigilated.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The Examination will be comprised of two components; 45 MCQ questions and; an essay question where student answer 1 question from a choice of 4.
The multiple choice element of the examination will provide information about the depth and breadth of the students’ knowledge base and will specifically assess knowledge, independent learning and understanding of material relevant to the module.
The examination essay 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.

Students will also have the opportunity to engage in Formative Practice. In this optional exercise, students will take part in two seminars to develop essay writing skills. They will read an assigned article for each seminar and be invited to submit a short essay on the specified article. This will be submitted and the module leader will provide detailed feedback on the essay. This will help prepare students for the essay component of the exam.

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.

Reading Lists