Module code: PSY3107

Module Overview

Please note: This module is part of the Neuroscience stream of Level 6 optional modules and will not be running every year. In some years an alternative optional module within the Neuroscience stream will be offered instead.

Ageing is associated with changes in brain structure and function; and brain damage and degeneration through stroke or dementia in later life is both common and life changing. This module will take you through the latest research on brain damage and degeneration – learning about risk factors (both environmental and genetic), the neuroanatomy behind how the brain changes with age and after damage or degeneration, impact on language and memory, and potential intervention strategies. This module will allow you to consider current debates in the literature, and engage critically with the material.

Module provider


Module Leader

EVANS Simon (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BSc Psychology Levels 4 and 5 or equivalent

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  1. Introducing dementia, stroke and the ageing brain, and setting out assessment (SE and HT)

  2. Healthy cognitive and neural ageing (SE)

  3. Cognitive decline and dementia risk(SE)

  4. Neurodegeneration and neurocognitive deficits in dementia (SE)

  5. Treatment and prevention of dementia; media coverage(SE)

  6. Presentations on science article in the media (SE)

  7. Presentations on science article in the media (SE)

  8. A dementia in focus:- Semantic Dementia (HT)

  9. Neurocognitive deficits: Aphasia (HT)

  10. Neurocognitive deficits: Dyslexia (HT)

  11. Therapy, tDCS and neural plasticity in the media (HT)

Each session except the first will involve group discussion of two papers from the literature which present different views on key topics in this field. They will also include a 1 hour lecture (except the first which will be 2 hours, and the presentations lectures).

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAM (1 HOUR) 50
Coursework ESSAY (6 PAGES) 50

Alternative Assessment

Students who take temporary suspension partway through this module may not be able to complete the remaining classes for this module on their return if it is not running in the following academic year. Such students will have the choice to take a replacement module, or, if they have already completed an assessment for the original module, to attend classes from a new optional module within the same stream (area of psychology) and complete an alternative assessment based on this content that meets the learning outcomes of the original module. The specific alternative assessment will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate each of the learning outcomes.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Exam (50%)

  • Essay (50%)

Exam (1 hour, 50%)

A 1 hour exam will assess your knowledge and critical engagement with the module content, you will be required to answer 1 question in the form of an essay, from a choice of 4.

Critical Analysis Essay (6 pages, 50%)

The essay should review and critique opposing viewpoints on a particular aspect of the literature based on one of the lecture topics. The essay should (a) set the context for why the topic is important, (b) provide the theoretical background and summarise the debate, (c) critique the literature, and (d) describe a specific question for future research.

For support, we will discuss the assessment in class in Week 1. The deadline will be near the end of the semester.

Formative assessment and feedback

During each lecture, there will be a group presentation on a relevant paper. Students’ will be assigned to a group; each group will be required to present twice across the course: the aim is to stimulate class debate and discussion.

Module aims

  • Give an overview to different causes and consequences of brain damage and degeneration, and the changes that occur with age
  • Allow critical engagement with current research debates
  • Provide an understanding of risk factors implicated in brain damage and degeneration
  • To provide an understanding of the neuroanatomical and functional consequences of brain damage and degeneration
  • To explore in detail two common disorders (stroke, dementia) and their cognitive deficits
  • Provide an understanding of current interventions to improve outcomes
  • Critically assess media coverage of these disorders and interventions

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically analyse and summarise research articles on the biopsychological basis of brain damage and degeneration C
002 Discuss causes, consequences and interventions of brain damage and degeneration K
003 Develop and present research concepts on brain damage and degeneration PT
004 Critically discuss myths and media representation of brain damage/ degeneration PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  1. Develop creative and independent thought suitable for critical scientific thinking

  2. Increase knowledge on the causes and consequences of brain injury and degeneration

  3. Develop a high level of understanding of brain injury and degeneration

  4. Develop an understanding of the causes of brain damage and degeneration

  5. Understand the nature of impairments of cognition following brain damage and degeneration

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 9 lectures of 1 or 2 hours (as detailed above)

  • 8 x 1 hour class discussion

  • 2 x 2 hour presentations of science articles in the media

  • Independent student reading

  • Independent presentation preparation 

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY3107

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics with Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

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 2019/0 academic year.