Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Psychology


Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • 60 Credits from Level 2 Psychology modules.


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module will give students an understanding of the development of cognition and perception and its basis in the brain. We place key historical debates – such as between nativist and empiricist approaches to child development – within a contemporary Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience approach to studying how the mind and brain develop.


  • This module will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the development of cognition and perception and its basis in the brain
  • We begin with perceptual (visual and multisensory) development
  • We move on to key aspects of cognitive development, such as understanding of space, number, and causality
  • The module relates these functions to brain development and to developmental neuroimaging (fMRI) and neurorecording (EEG) methods and findings. It introduces students to the emerging new discipline of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • We place this work in the conceptual and theoretical context of historical and current approaches to understanding cognitive development

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed knowledge of key theories and findings in cognitive and perceptual development and its basis in the brain
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, data manipulation and data presentation
  • 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, some small group work, audio-visual materials, 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 exam will assess students' detailed subject knowledge
  • The use of group discussions / small group work will ensure that students are exposed to a range of different theoretical positions, and encouraged to understand their inter-relations
  • Lectures, discussions and small group work will also give students the opportunity to interpret and evaluate the significance of empirical work
  • The summative exam assesses students' acquired knowledge of theoretical principles and empirical studies and their ability to organise and synthesise them coherently and critically in written form in response to a set question
  • The use of a summative written examination will ensure that students' written communication skills are assessed

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 11 1 per week 2 Hours 22
Preparation and Reading 78
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100%

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