Psychology and Neuroscience: Trends and Issues

Module summary

Module code: PSYC1037
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Education, Health and Human Sci
Department: Human Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Sandhiran Patchay


Pre and co requisites

Normally Brain, Behaviour and Cognition at level 5


This module aims to give students the opportunity to expand their understanding and knowledge of the neural basis of a broad range of everyday human behaviours. It will provide a contemporary neuroscience perspective on and an evaluation of the current status and future directions in the topics addressed on this module. It will also illustrate how research integrating analysis at a psychology level and a neuroscience level can foster more comprehensive theories of the mechanisms underlying complex human behaviours. Moreover, this module aims at enabling students achieve a thorough knowledge of traditional and state-of-the-art neuroscience techniques and methods. Finally, this module will provide a historical and philosophical account of neuroscience approaches, methods and paradigms relating to the topics that will be addressed.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an enhanced understanding of how the human brain mediates complex behaviours.
2. Discuss the recent advances in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying these behaviours, and will be able to critically evaluate the theories of these mechanisms.
3. Describe and evaluate current neuroscience techniques, methods and paradigms.
4. Examine topics in psychology from a neuroscience perspective.
5. Show a sound understanding and give accounts of the philosophical and historical bases of the neuroscience approaches, methods and paradigms addressed on this module.

Indicative content

A selection of current topics of interest in psychology will be examined from a neuroscience perspective, under two main themes. There will also be a focus on historical and conceptual issues, in particular, historical emergence/influences of and key claims within the approaches to behavioural and cognitive psychology and neuroscience; scientific paradigms; ethical considerations.
Theme A – Behavioural / Systems Neuroscience :
Motor imagery and rehabilitation of motor function.
Visuomotor integration: Neural underpinnings of reaching and grasping.
Intentional actions (interactions among motor, cognitive and perceptual systems).
Neural basis for motivational processes (e.g. eating behaviour and satiety).
Neural correlates of consciousness.
Language processing.
Failure of memory: Confabulation.
Aging of postural control and locomotor function.
Theme B – Social Neuroscience:
Mirror neurons: Action observation and imitation.
Human belief systems.
Face processing.
Neural basis of fear, experienced aggression and aggressive behaviours.

Teaching and learning activity

Lectures, seminars, group discussions, comprehension exercises and self-study supported by library facilities, electronic databases and materials posted in the module shell on the online learning platform.


Library Project - 100%
LO - 1 to 5
Numerical grading
Pass mark - 40%
3000 words
Students will have the opportunity to study in depth the brain structures and neural mechanisms involved in a psychological phenomenon of current interest, making use of lecture material, library facilities and electronic databases. They will conceive their own title for their library project related to a topic covered on this module; the title will seek approval from the module tutor. They will write a scholarly review with a focus on brain-based empirical data (including images, diagrams and figures), methodology, ethical considerations, recent advances and future directions. The review will contain a historical and epistemological account, an analysis and synthesis of relevant research and an evaluation of theories and evidence.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Students will be required to present their chose title for the library project assignment to the tutor for approval. They will need to explain its relevance to the module and how they will go about their library project. This will allow formative assessment of their chosen topic and of their understanding of the basic brain mechanisms underlying the psychological problem they will review. They will obtain feedback from the tutor.
During seminars, students will also be given the opportunity to discuss their progress on this module with the tutor.