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Unit information: Functional Neuroanatomy, Neuroscience Methods and Issues in Neuropsychology in 2015/16

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Unit name Functional Neuroanatomy, Neuroscience Methods and Issues in Neuropsychology
Unit code PSYCM0034
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Kit Pleydell-Pearce
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit comprises two components described as “Part A” and “Part B”. Part A: Issues in Neuropsychology (formerly, Health, illness and disability) Students will develop an understanding of the psychological and neuropsychological impact of living with a neurological disease or disability. The unit will help students understand the common themes of grief, adjustment, depression, anxiety, disability and coping as they pertain to specific neurological diseases and acquired brain injury. The unit will help candidates to understand abnormal reactions to illness and disability including malingering, factitious disorder, somatoform disorder and conversion disorder. Candidates will be encouraged to appreciate the wider systemic and psychosocial effects of neurological illness including the effects on an individual’s family, work life, social life and quality of life. Candidates will be helped to understand rehabilitation and psychological treatment options across different conditions and at different stages of chronic diseases. Throughout the unit moral, ethical and legal aspects of clinical practice will be considered.

Part A aims to fulfil part of the syllabus requirements for the British Psychological Society diploma in clinical neuropsychology and to provide candidates with a contemporary understanding of the psychological and neuropsychological aspects of illness behaviour in relation to neurological disease and acquired brain damage. Specifically the unit aims:

  1. To teach candidates about different reactions to illness, both adaptive and maladaptive and how these might present in clinical practice and with different neurological diseases / damage.
  2. To teach candidates how to conceptualise, assess in clinical practice and diagnose abnormal illness presentations and behaviour.
  3. To guide candidates in developing an awareness of the wider impact of illness and disability and the interactions between this wider environment and the way disability is manifest.
  4. To guide candidates in developing an appreciation of how reactions to illness and disability impact upon an individual’s ability to participate in and benefit from clinical treatment and rehabilitation.
  5. To help candidates understand the role of neuropsychology in relation to the assessment of disability subsequent to brain damage / disease.
  6. To help candidates develop the necessary skills to communicate with clinical colleagues, patients and relatives about abnormal illness behaviour in clinical practice. To help candidates develop an awareness of the moral, ethical and legal considerations relevant to clinical practice in relation to illness behaviour and disability

Part B: Functional neuroanatomy and neuroscience methods Part B has two central aims. First, it reviews the functional neuroanatomy of the human brain, and thus provides an absolute core set of knowledge for Neuropsychology. Second, the Unit gives a comprehensive review of the major techniques and methods employed to study the human brain (since these provide information about function at various levels in the brain). These techniques will allow candidates to appreciate the theoretical interpretation of both spatial and temporal aspects of cerebral activity. The unit will cover the entire brain, and will not simply focus upon structures typically associated with higher-order cognitive function. The Unit involves ten seminars each lasting 2 hours. Lectures can be attended online via Adobe Connect, or, can be accessed offline at a later time to suit. Where feasible, we encourage real time viewing of content.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Part A:

The principal learning outcome is to develop competence in clinical practice pertaining to rehabilitation, and, an understanding of the changing risk factors for various forms of neurological disorder across the human lifespan.

Part B:

At the end of the unit, candidates will have knowledge of a range of techniques used to investigate the human brain. This will allow candidates to pursue further self organised study of techniques which they find interesting and/or career relevant.

Teaching Information

Content of all lectures and presentations in this UNIT will be broadcast live over the unit (and recorded for later re-play for revision purposes). Candidates are free to attend in person and we encourage this for Part A, the majority of Part B is provided via distance learning web interface tools (Adobe Connect).

Part A:

10 X 2 hour lectures provided by clinical subject matter experts delivered in a single week block.

Part B:

10 x 2 hour lectures delivered weekly.

Assessment Information

Part A: 2 hour examination (1 long answer from 4 alternatives over 1 hour, 4 short answers from 12 alternatives over 1 hour) and an additional separate 40 minute MCQ assessing detailed knowledge across the entire content of Part A. The three assessment components described in this paragraph each deliver 22% of the total unit mark.

Part B: Assessment involves an unseen examination (2 hours) that assesses the level and depth of background knowledge. Candidates should note that the examination will assess knowledge of the principals of neuroscience techniques, their strengths and weaknesses, relative merits, and inferences that they permit. The two hour exam delivers 34% of the total unit mark.

Please note that the assessment load on these units was strongly guided by feedback from the professional accreditation team which reviewed our taught clinical neuropsychology programmes. In November 2010 their report was concerned that original intentions surrounding assessment load were too onerous and in the light of that accreditation feedback adjustments were made.

Reading and References

Part A:

  • Malingering and Illness Deception (2003). Halligan, Bass and Oakley. Oxford University Press
  • Cracked: Recovering after traumatic brain injury (2002) Calderwood. Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • Yates, (2003).Psychological adjustment, social enablement and community integration following acquired brain injury. Neuropsychological rehabilitation, 13(1), 291-306.
  • The human brain and its disorders (2007). Richards et al. OUP

Part B:

  • Gazzaniga, M. S., Ivry,R. B & Mangun, G. R. (2014). Cognitive neuroscience: the biology of the mind (3rded.). London: Norton.
  • Kolb, B., & Wishaw, I.Q. (2009). Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology. Worth Publishers, New York (6th Edition).
  • Cabeza, R., & Nyberg, L. (2000). Imaging cognition II: An empirical review of 275 PET and fMRI studies. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience,12(1), 1-47.
  • Cabeza, R., & Kingstone, A. (2006). Handbook of functional neuroimaging of cognition. (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press.