Module code: PSYM059

Module Overview

This module should provide a good theoretical background on fMRI methods and make students confident in participating in neuroscientific discussions, evaluating methodological approaches in fMRI research and to criticise research outcomes based on finding flaws in applied methods. These are core skills for a scientific career and will have to be used when participating in conferences and when peer reviewing manuscripts and grant applications. In addition, there will be practical sessions in which students will have the opportunity to get hands on experience of the relevant methods.


Communication and interpersonal skills will be further developed in scientific discussions, and basic leadership skills shall be fostered when chairing a discussion.

Module provider


Module Leader

EVANS Simon (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: C845

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Session 1: General introduction to psychophysics & fMRI;

Session 2: Further fMRI

Session 3: Theoretical background of psychophysics

Session 4: Critical discussion of empirical article utilizing psychophysics

Session 5: Creating fMRI designs.

Session 6: Critical discussion of empirical article on fMRI

Session 7: Lab practical on psychophysics

Session 8: Lab practical on fMRI design of experiment       

Session 9: Lab practical collecting fMRI data (extended to 3 hours).

Session 10: Analysis fMRI data. (extended to 3 hours).

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 1500 WORD ESSAY 40

Alternative Assessment

Alternative critical discussions will be arranged (20%)

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate critical evaluation skills, which primarily is evaluated in the group participation and 1500 word essay. Know-how and knowledge on fMRI methodology are evaluated in the lab report.

  • Specifically, the critical discussion evaluates ability to constructively participate in and contribute to scientific discussions, the ability to increase communication skills and improvement of evalauation of self-reflection, peer and lecturer assessment (outcomes 5, 6 and 7): 20%.

  • The 1500 word essay assesses evalation skills of the advantages and disadvatages of fMRI, the critical evaluation of how to best integrate fMRI with other methods and the critical evaluation of whether fMRI was applied correctly in a research paper (learning outcomes 2, 3 and 4): 40%.

  • The lab report assesses how to handle application of fMRI methods in psychological research (learning outcome 1): 40%.

Formative assessment is given during lectures via informative questions to evaluate knowledge transfer, during practical sessions, where fMRI acquisition and analysis skills are trained and success of data analysis can be evaluated, and during discussion sessions where understanding and critical discussions are summarized in a general discussion with the lecturer.

Feedback is provided using verbal feedback during discussions in lectures and during general discussions, which informs writing the essay. Written and verbal feedback during practical sessions informs writing the lab report.

Module aims

  • To obtain a good theoretical background on fMRI methods and its usage in psychological research
  • To enable students to develop critical thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of using fMRI  for investigating neuroscience
  • To gain an overview over recently published work using up-to-date application of  this method
  • To ‘get hands' on experience using this methods

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 To learn how to handle application of fMRI methods in psychological research (P, S)
2 To be able to critically evaluate advantages and disadvantages of this method C
3 To be able to critically evaluate how to best integrate fMRI with other methods C
4 To be able to learn how to assess whether a particular method was applied correctly in a research paper C
5 To be able to constructively participate in and contribute to scientific discussions PT
6 To be able to increase communication skills T
7 To be able to pursue continuous improvement via self-reflection, peer and lecturer assessment PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 126

Lecture Hours: 20

Laboratory Hours: 4

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The module incorporates a number of different methods of teaching and learning, including lectures, class discussions, oral presentations, group work, hands-on-experience with fMRI design development, data acquisition, pre-processing and post-processing analysis.

Lectures, seminars and practical sessions

Readings using lecturers guidance

Responding to questions in class

Producing an essay

Preparing and taking part in the exam

Preparing and taking part in seminars

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.