Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module PSYC3427: Face Recognition

Department: Psychology

PSYC3427: Face Recognition

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap 45 Location Durham


  • 60 credits from Level 2 Psychology


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Students will develop an understanding of the psychological and neural processes underlying face perception and face recognition. Students will be introduced to different approaches in face recognition research, including behavioural experiments, neuropsychological case studies, electrophysiology and functional brain imaging. Both theoretically motivated and applied research will be discussed.


  • This module examines major findings and theories in face recognition research.
  • It begins with an introduction into the basic theories and relevant experimental approaches before critically addressing a number of topic areas
  • These can vary from year to year but are likely to include the recognition of visually derivable information from faces (e.g., age, gender, ethnic background), recognition of identity from faces, face learning, perceptual expertise in face recognition, the role of person-related semantic and affective information in face recognition.
  • The module will also cover related conceptual and historical issues in psychology

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed knowledge of the psychological and neural processes underlying face perception and face recognition, including implications for applied settings, current theory and evidence
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
  • 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, 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 examination will assess students detailed knowledge and understanding of the subject.
  • 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 examination will also assess students' written communication skills

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 1 per week 2 hours 20
Preparation and Reading 80
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2500 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