Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module PSYC2241: Cognitive and Biological Psychology

Department: Psychology

PSYC2241: Cognitive and Biological Psychology

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • • Either (i) or (ii) : (i) PSYC1062 IPR plus PSYC1071 Intro 1 and/or PSYC1081 Intro 2; OR (ii) PSYC1071 Into 1 plus PSYC1081 Intro 2


  • PSYC2242 Social and Developmental Psychology

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop an understanding of theoretical, methodological and empirical approaches in cognitive and biological psychology, with particular emphasis on visual neuroscience and visual cognition


  • The module will cover conceptual and historical issues surrounding cognitive psychology and a broad range of topics including a survey of methods used in studying brain and behaviour, a critical evaluation of their application in an area of psychology such as learning, and coverage of a range of topics in vision and visual cognition, including the perception of colour, form, motion and depth and their development, together with higher-level functions such as face, scene and object recognition, visually-controlled action and visual attention
  • It will provide broad-ranging coverage of some key areas of cognitive psychology, such as memory, decision-making and attention
  • The content will be delivered through weekly lectures
  • Individual student support will be provided through a weekly surgery hour
  • The module will build on the introductory coverage given in these topics in the Level 1 modules PSYC1071 Introduction to Psychology 1 and PSYC1081 Introduction to Psychology 2

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A broad knowledge base relating to the core areas of psychology and in-depth knowledge of some specialist sub-areas of psychology
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Understand the relationship between theory and data, including the ability to evaluate theories and concepts
  • Ability to formulate research questions and hypotheses
Key Skills:
  • Effective retrieval and organisation of material
  • Location, reading, and review of a body of research evidence
  • Critical evaluation of the quality of evidence and arguments
  • Ability to adopt different theoretical positions and see relationships between them

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

  • Acquisition of knowledge and understanding in this area is facilitated by the material covered in lectures, and the provision of detailed reading lists. Evidence of wider reading (i.e. not in set reading) will be required for higher marks
  • Knowledge and understanding will be assessed through examination and essay
  • The examination uses a multiple choice format to assess the breadth of knowledge of the full syllabus, and a written format to assess the ability to organise, review and evaluate evidence and theory, to provide critical appraisal, and to contrast theoretical positions
  • Feedback on progress in the module will be provided via in-class activities
  • Subject-specific and Key skills are fostered through lectures and discussion and will be assessed via the examination

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 2 Per Week for 5 weeks of the first and second term 2 Hours 40
Preparation and Reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 65%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100%
Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 35%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative exercises within lectures

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