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PSY3018 : The Damaged Brain: Case Studies in Neuropsychology

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Quoc Vuong
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


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 about cognitive functions in areas such as vision, language, motor control and conscious awareness
(4) Develop critical analysis and oral communication skills

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 e.g.
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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:005:00Presentation preparation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Work on summative report (literature search, integrate lecture materials, research design, write-up)
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials81:008:00Non-synchronous online. Reading pre-recorded lecture materials before scheduled lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture62:0012:00PIP: Discussion of research themes, includes student-led group debate and preparation for report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00Present in person - explore brain and group discussion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00Present in person. Formative presentations by students.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00Present in person. Prepare for summative assessment, includes Q&A.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study134:0034:00Revise lecture materials, read articles and prepare for discussions in scheduled lectures
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures, workshops and practical are needed to discuss the underlying principles and methodology of neuropsychology (ILO 1-4). The small group teaching and presentations allow students to debate issues in neuropsychology, 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M100Design a study that uses case studies and neuroimaging methods to test a neural model (1500 words)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MPresent in person: 15 minute
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative report will assess (1) students’ understanding of the principles of neuropsychology; (2) their ability to critically interpret neuroimaging methods and case studies; and (3) their ability to apply their knowledge in order to design a study that can test a neural model (ILO 1-4).

The formative oral presentations will provide students (1) the opportunity to research their own case study; (2) the opportunity to critique other students’ interpretations; (3) the opportunity to practice communication skills; (4) the opportunity to work as a team; and (5) 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.

Reading Lists