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Unit information: Neuropsychological Approaches in Clinics and Research in 2015/16

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Unit name Neuropsychological Approaches in Clinics and Research
Unit code PSYCM0040
Credit points 20
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 is divided into two components. Part A provides a comprehensive review of techniques and methods employed to study the human brain. Part B provides an introduction to principles of clinical neuropsychology, and reviews methods employed for diagnosis and treatment of a variety of major clinical syndromes as well as focusing on the causes of these syndromes. Overall, Parts A and B will provide students with a deeper understanding of functional neuroanatomy and organisation of the human brain.

Part A begins with a review of the functional neuroanatomy of the human brain. This is followed by a comprehensive review of the major techniques and methods employed to study the human brain. Review of these techniques will allow students to appreciate the theoretical interpretation of both spatial and temporal aspects of cerebral activity. The content will cover the entire brain, and will not simply focus upon structures typically associated with higher-order cognitive function. Part A involves ten lectures each lasting 2 hours delivered over ten weeks.

Part B involves lectures delivered by active clinicians who work in the NHS. It will cover key aspects of neuropsychological practice including lectures on neuroanatomy, neuropathology, neuropsychological assessment and an introduction to rehabilitation. Part B will also provide students with a contemporary neuropsychological understanding of a range of conditions commonly encountered in clinical practice including traumatic brain injury, movement disorders, epilepsy, stroke and dementia. In addition, the content will examine the manner in which Neuropsychologists can best interact with other professionals (e.g. medical and therapist colleagues as well as professionals outside of health, e.g. social services). While the unit has an applied component, lectures will also reinforce knowledge in functional neuroanatomy and theories of cerebral function. Part B involves 10 lectures, each lasting 2 hours, delivered over ten weeks.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The intended learning outcome of Part A is a thorough understanding of research techniques employed to study the brain. In particular, students will be expected to understand the physical principles of a range of techniques as well as demonstrate an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, students will be provided with a range of examples of how different techniques are applied to the study of the brain, and the kind of inferences and conclusions that these applications permit. Finally, students will understand the important relationship between spatial and temporal resolution of various techniques.

The intended learning outcome for Part B is an introduction to principles of Clinical Neuropsychology. Students will learn how knowledge of neuropsychological theory, functional neuroanatomy and technical approaches to studying the brain are used within a medical/clinical context. In addition, part B will provide insights into clinical practice, and will be valuable for all who wish to pursue a clinical career, or who wish to pursue research that involves interaction with patients.

Teaching Information

For Part A, teaching will consist of ten two-hour lectures given by research active staff members, with a strong seminar-style interactive component.

For Part B, teaching will involve 10 x 2 hour seminars that will be led by research-active and clinically active members of Frenchay Hospital Department of Neuropsychology.

Assessment Information

Part A: Unseen 2-hour written examination that assesses the level and depth of background knowledge (50%).

Part B: 2000 words coursework essay which requires students to provide evidence of critical understanding of a topic in applied neuropsychology (50%).

Reading and References

  • Andrewes, D. (2013) Neuropsychology: From Theory to Practice. Hove: Psychology Press.
  • Brodal, P. (2010). The Central Nervous System (4th Edition). Oxford: University Press.
  • Feinberg, T. E., & Farah, M. J. (Eds.). (2003). Behavioural Neurology and Neuropsychology (2nd Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Kolb, B., & Wishaw, I. Q. (2009). Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology (6th Edition). New York: Worth Publishers.
  • Lezak, M. (2012). Neuropsychological Assessment. Oxford: University Press.
  • Richards, D., Clark, T., & Clarke, C. (2007). The Human Brain and its Disorders. Oxford: University Press.
  • Vanderploeg, R. D. (Ed.) (2000). Clinician's Guide to Neuropsychological Assesment. Oxford: University Press.

The following two books provide advanced and detailed treatments of a number of key topics raised in the seminars. These are not introductory readings but are included here for those who wish to undertake early advanced reading:

  • Flanagan, J. L., & Harrison, P. L. (Eds.). (2012). Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests and Issues (3rd Edition). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Waller, N. G., Yonce, L. J., Grove, W. M., Faust, D., & Lenzenweger, M. F. (Eds.). (2006). A Paul-Meehl Reader: Essays on the Practice of Scientific Psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.