Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module PSYC3517: Hippocampus and Memory: Clinical and Health Perspectives

Department: Psychology

PSYC3517: Hippocampus and Memory: Clinical and Health Perspectives

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • • 60 Credits from Level 2 Psychology modules C800


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide a grounding in the neurobiology of the hippocampal formation, and its support of spatial and episodic memory and other cognition
  • To explore this system in healthy and clinical conditions, with the latter focused on the Dementias and Alzheimer’s disease (with some attention to Epilepsy, Stress, and PTSD)
  • To explore diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer’s disease


  • Overview of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the hippocampal formation in health and disease, including healthy ageing
  • Focus on cognitive correlates of cellular firing, including neurons in animals and humans coding for spatial and temporal variables
  • Consideration of empirical and theoretical study characterising the specific types of cognition that depend upon the hippocampal formation, focusing on navigation and spatial memory, episodic memory, and imagination.
  • Neurobiological and psychological aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, with briefer consideration of other clinical conditions involving the hippocampal formation, e.g. Vascular Dementia, Epilepsy, Stress, and PTSD.
  • Therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diagnostic approaches to Alzheimer’s disease, emphasising the use of spatial and episodic memory tests

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed knowledge of neurobiological bases of spatial and episodic memory from the level of individual neurons to brain regions to behaviour
  • Neurobiological and psychological aspects of various clinical conditions that involve disruption to the hippocampal formation, notably Alzheimer’s disease
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to review critically and consolidate understanding of knowledge and principles drawn from empirical and theoretical studies from the neurobiological, psychological, and clinical literatures involving the hippocampal formation.appropriately
Key Skills:
  • Ability to research relevant literature
  • Good written communication skills including selection of key material for argument, summarising empirical data and positions in debates, and making arguments
  • Good IT skills in word processing
  • Ability to work independently in scholarship and research within broad guidelines

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

  • Students' acquisition of detailed knowledge will be facilitated by lectures, a tutorial, and detailed reading list
  • A 2-hour tutorial giving an in-depth insight into neuropsychological tests used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. The basic tutorial unit is a pair of students. One student acts as the Clinician, the other the Patient, and then they swap roles.
  • The online exam essay assesses students' acquired knowledge of principles and empirical data and their ability to organise and synthesise them coherently and critically in written form in response to a set question.
  • The Exam essay will also assess students' written communication skills

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 1 Per Week 2 Hours 14
Tutorial (4 tutorials conducted, each student is assigned to ONE group and takes ONE tutorial). 1 1 per module 2 Hours 2
Preparation and Reading 84
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100% None

Formative Assessment:


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