Skip to main content


SPE1056 : Brain and Behaviour Across the Lifespan I: Introduction to Psychology and Social Interaction

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Faye Smith
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


To give an overview of psychological and sociological factors affecting communication across the lifespan, through 2 strands:

Introduction to Psychology:

To introduce foundation concepts from cognitive and developmental psychology

To explore and evaluate different psychological theories relating to development

To understand important cognitive changes across the lifespan

To develop reporting skills and practice through writing essays, observational reports and logs, and giving presentations.

Social Interaction, Contexts and the Sociology of Communication Impairment:

To provide a practical introduction to the theories of how we perceive ourselves and others and how this influences our interpretation of behaviour and situations, particularly in relation to clinical practice.

To consider the influence of social contexts on behaviour and the role of demographic and cultural factors.

To consider cognitive and psychosocial consequences of ageing and disability.

To provide students with the opportunity to observe, analyse and evaluate interactions between individuals and groups, considering the importance of the environmental context and the respective roles and power balance of the individuals.

In addition, students develop their academic skills through this module, including essay writing, critical appraisal oral presentations, debating and report writing.

Outline Of Syllabus

For students studying the clinical programmes (BSc Speech & Language Therapy and Masters of Speech & Language Sciences), the HCPC Standards of Proficiency are of relevance. This module addresses aspects of the following standards but is not the only module to do so:

2.11 recognise the power imbalance which comes with being a health professional, and ensure they do not abuse this for personal gain

5.2 understand equality legislation and apply it to their practice

5.4 understand the duty to make reasonable adjustments in practice and be able to make and support reasonable adjustments in theirs and others' practice

7.3 understand the characteristics and consequences of verbal and non-verbal communication and recognise how these can be affected by difference of any kind, including, but not limited to, protected characteristics, intersectional experiences and cultural differences

12.9 understand psychology as relevant to lifespan development and change, typical and impaired communication and psychological and social wellbeing

12.10 understand sociology in relation to the practice of speech and language therapy, including its application to educational, health and workplace settings and within multi-cultural contexts

12.13 understand the diversity of client's cultural background, including awareness of cultural groups, protected characteristics, and social class

Introduction to Psychology:

Theories of development
Perception, attention and memory
Changes across the lifespan
Nature-nurture debate
Psychology of language
Workshops on academic writing, critical appraisal and referencing

Social Interaction, Contexts and the Sociology of Communication Impairment:

Sense of self and personality
Intuition and social cognitive biases
Verbal and nonverbal communication
Social and professional interactions
Power balance in professional interactions
Group formation, structure and decision making
Psychosocial consequences of ageing and disability
Discrimination and prejudice

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture152:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical61:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice42:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1134:00134:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge outcomes are primarily addressed through lecture materials and guided reading/independent study. Skills outcomes are addressed through workshops and class activities e.g. presentations and debates.

Teaching involves a range of practical elements e.g. observing interaction sessions.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A50Psychology: 2000 words on key debate in field of psychology
Report2A50Observational Report: Evaluation of a video-recorded clinical interaction. Up to 3 A4 pages double-spaced.
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
Essay1MFormative psychology essay: 1000 words on key debate in field of psychology.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge outcomes are assessed through the essays. Skills outcomes are promoted by setting a formative essay mid-term in semester 1 and providing timely feedback for students to apply this in their summative essay. Observational report assesses ability to observe, analyse and evaluate professional, clinical interactions laying core foundations for future observations in clinical modules.

Reading Lists