Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2008-2009 (archived)


Department: Psychology


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2008/09 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • PSYC2111 Brain Processes of Cognition & Perception OR Modules to the value of 100 credits from Level 2 Applied Psychology (C810)


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop an understanding of a range of topics within visual neuroscience


  • The module will cover a range of topics including visual system development, retinal, subcortical and cortical organisation and the processing of visual stimuli, the visual neuroscience of brightness, colour, shape, object, motion and depth perception, vision and action, attention and consciousness, together with treatment of the psychophysical and physiological methods used in their study
  • The module will build on the coverage given to the broad topic area provided in the Level 2 module Brain Processes of Cognition & Perception
  • The module will also cover related conceptual and historical issues in psychology

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed knowledge of key theories and empirical work in visual neuroscience, and their influence on current research
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to review critically and consolidate understanding of a coherent body of psychological knowledge and apply it appropriately
Key Skills:
  • Good written communication skills
  • Good IT skills in word processing
  • Abilities to work independently in scholarship within broad guidelines

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

  • Students' acquisition of knowledge of theory and evidence will be facilitated by lectures, group discussions and detailed reading lists
  • These modes of teaching provide students with detailed knowledge of the key theories and the skills needed to evaluate different theoretical positions in light of current evidence
  • The summative essay and examination will assess students' detailed subject knowledge
  • Feedback on progress in acquiring knowledge of theory and evidence will be provided in response to the summative essay
  • All modes of teaching are designed to promote the critical evaluation and appropriate application of evidence and arguments
  • Assessment of these abilities is based on the summative essay and written examination
  • Feedback is provided for the summative assessment
  • Independent student research, student-led discussions and small group work develop students' abilities to work independently in locating and evaluating information from a range of sources
  • Students' skills in independently undertaking a literature search and then collecting and collating the resultant material through critical evaluation of recent material will be assessed by the summative essay (no reading list is set)
  • An assessment of the range, recency and appropriateness of sources will be included in the overall assessment of the essay
  • This assessment also allows for assessment of students' independent scholarship and feedback on this is provided
  • The use of a summative essay and written examination will ensure that students' written communication skills are assessed
  • Feedback is provided for the summative assessment
  • Good IT skills are required for the preparation of the summative essays and student-led small group work
  • Feedback is provided regarding the adequacy of these skills where necessary

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 18 Usually weekly 2 hours 36
Workshops 3 Approximately 1 per term 2 hours 6
Preparation and Reading 158
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
2000 word summative essay 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
two-hour examination 100%

Formative Assessment:

Preparation of a short Powerpoint presentation of a selected journal article

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