Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module PSYC40330: Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience

Department: Psychology

PSYC40330: Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08


  • none


  • none

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • none


  • To provide students with advanced in-depth knowledge of current theoretical issues within cognitive neuroscience
  • To provide students with advanced in-depth knowledge of historical and philosophical issues within cognitive neuroscience


  • The module uses seminars to examine current research issues in a range of areas within the area of cognitive neuroscience
  • These current issues may include topics in the fields of memory, vision and attention, amongst others.
  • Students will be presented with a choice from around 100 classic papers in cognitive neuroscience
  • Workshops will be used to assist students to carry out in-depth reviews of two of these classic studies and place them in the context of modern theory.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed understanding of specific research questions in the field of cognitive neuroscience
  • Aquisition of knowledge about the history, background and development of research within cognitive neuroscience
  • Detailed understanding of "classic" experiments in cognitive neuroscience
  • Understanding of the relevance of "classic" studies to modern research
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Developing the ability to incorporate a response to peer review into written material
Key Skills:
  • Good written communication skills
  • Developing the ability to learn independently within broad outlines

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Seminars in the Michaelmas term will support students' in-depth learning specific research questions in cognitive neuroscience.
  • Seminars will involve both small group teaching and student-led discussion, which will assist students to learn independently and develop their oral skills
  • The formative essay will be based on work arising out of the seminars and will assess students' written communication skills as well as their in-depth knowledge of these current research issues.
  • Workshops in the Epiphany term will support the students' in-depth learning of classic studies in cognitive neuroscience.
  • Workshops will be primarily student-led and supported on-line with DUO through the use of discussion forums.
  • Workshops, like seminars, will therefore develop students' oral communication skills
  • On-line support of the workshops on DUO will develop students' IT based skills
  • Students' understanding of classic experiments will be formatively assessed by their creating poster presentations and summatively assessed by means of a written report based primarily on the work carried out for the poster.
  • Presenting work as a poster is an important skill and the workshops support the development of this skill
  • Formative assesment of the poster will provide feedback on the students' oral skills, written skills and in-depth understanding of classic cognitive neuroscience experiments as well as their relation to current research
  • The workshops will also support the development of other key subject skills, that of providing peer review on others' work, and that of incorporating peer review into later versions of written work.
  • The students' ability in peer review will be formatively assesed on their written reviews of a sample of other students' poster presentations.
  • The ability to incorporate responses to peer review into later versions of written work will be summatively assesed in the written report based on the poster
  • Students' in-depth knowledge of specific current research questions as well as classic research in cognitive neuroscience will be summatively assesed in a written exam.
  • The written exam will also assess students' written communication skills and their ability to learn independently.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Total 300
Seminars 10 weekly (Michaelmas term only) 3 hours 30
workshops 5 fortnightly (Epiphany term only) 2 hours 10
Preparation and reading 260

Summative Assessment

Component: Unseen exam Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
exam 2 hours 100%
Component: Written report Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

2000 word essay on first term's work. Poster presentation of second term's work. Peer review of others' posters (two peer reviews of 200 words).

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University