Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module PSYC3647: The Ever Adapting Brain - Sensory Neuroplasticity

Department: Psychology

PSYC3647: The Ever Adapting Brain - Sensory Neuroplasticity

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap 45 Location Durham


  • 60 credits from Level 2 Psychology modules


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Excluded Combination of Modules

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  • In this module you will learn about the brain's amazing ability to adapt and change itself with a special focus on neuroplastic changes in response to sensory deprivation such as vision loss. You will learn about mechanisms and theories and applications.


  • This module examines neuroplasticity with a special focus on changes in response to sensory deprivation such as vision loss.
  • It begins with an introduction to sensory neuroplasticity before critically addressing relevant mechanisms, theories and applications.
  • These can vary from year to year but are likely to include behavioural and brain imaging evidence, the role played by age and sensory experience, the role played by cortical and subcortical structures, relevant models and methods, sensory substitution and augmentation.
  • The module will also cover related conceptual and historical issues in psychology.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed knowledge of sensory neuroplasticity including 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
  • 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, some small group work, audio-visual materials, discussions and 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 will assess students' detailed subject knowledge
  • An assessment of the range, recency and appropriateness of sources will be included in the overall assessment of the essay
  • 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 essay 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 summative essay will also assess students' written communication skills
  • Feedback on the summative essays will be available within 3 teaching weeks allowing students plenty of time to benefit from feedback on this aspect of their work

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

Formative Assessment:

<enter text as appropriate for the module>

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