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Unit information: Functional Neuroanatomy, Neuroscience Methods and Issues in Neuropsychology in 2018/19

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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


This unit comprises two components described as “Part A - Issues in Neuropsychology” and “Part B - Functional neuroanatomy and neuroscience methods”.

Part A: Issues in Neuropsychology.

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 students to understand abnormal reactions to illness and disability including malingering, factitious disorder, somatoform disorder and conversion disorder. Students 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. Students 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 students 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 students 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 students how to conceptualise, assess in clinical practice and diagnose abnormal illness presentations and behaviour.
  3. To guide students 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 students 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 students understand the role of neuropsychology in relation to the assessment of disability subsequent to brain damage / disease.
  6. To help students develop the necessary skills to communicate with clinical colleagues, patients and relatives about abnormal illness behaviour in clinical practice. To help students 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 students 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.

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

Teaching details

Part A:

A week block of lectures provided by clinical subject matter experts.

Part B:

Weekly lectures.

Assessment Details

Part A: 3 hour examination to include long answer questions, short answer questions and multiple choice questionnaire. Each section is equally weighted and the exam provides 66% of the total unit mark.

Part B: Assessment involves an unseen examination (2 hours) that assesses the level and depth of background knowledge. The two hour exam delivers 34% of the total unit mark.

Reading and References




Part A: Issues in Neuropsychology

  • Archiniegas, D., Anderson, A. & Filley, C. (2013) Behavioural Neurology and Neuropsychiatry. Cambridge University Press. ONLINE ACCESS
  • David, A., Lishman, W. A. et al. (2009) Lishman’s Organic Psychiatry: a textbook of neuropsychiatry (4th ed). Wiley-Blackwell. ONLINE ACCESS
  • A foundational text on the psychiatric aspects of neurological disorders.
  • Donders, J. & Hunter, S. (2010) Principles and Practice of Lifespan Developmental Neuropsychology. Cambridge University Press. ONLINE ACCESS. See chapters on neurodevelopmental disorders (ADHD, ASD, learning disorders and intellectual disabilities, as well as sensory impairments).
  • Hallett, M., Stone, J. & Carson, A. (2016) Functional Neurological Disorders. Academic Press. ONLINE ACCESS. The most up-to-date and comprehensive text on functional disorders.
  • Noggle, C. A. & Dean, R. S. (Eds) (2013) The Neuropsychology of Psychopathology. Springer. Arts and Social Sciences (RC467NEU)
  • Richards, D., Clark, T. & Clarke, C. (Eds.) (2007). The Human Brain and its Disorders. OUP. Oxford.
  • Mesulam, M. (2000). Principles of Behavioural and Cognitive Neurology (2nd edition). Oxford University Press.

Part B: Functional Neuroanatomy and Neuroscience Methods

  • 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.