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Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience

Module titleIntroduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
Module codeNEU2003
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Byron Creese (Convenor)

Dr Miguel Dasilva Ogando (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Memory, language, vision, and our conscious experience are central to our identity and are what make us uniquely human. When applied to health, developing, and testing hypotheses which explain the biological basis of these processes are fundamental to our understanding and clinical management of a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions. Neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques like fMRI and EEG are central to research in cognitive neuroscience, while computerised neuropsychological testing provides a framework in which precise cognitive domains can be linked to specific neural pathways. This module will provide a thorough grounding in the methods and core concepts which help us understand the neural correlates of cognition.

This is an optional module for BSc Neuroscience and has no pre-requisite modules.

This module is not suitable for non-specialist students.

Module aims - intentions of the module

You will be introduced to the history and philosophy of cognitive neuroscience before exploring methods in cognitive neuroscience, memory, and other key cognitive processes, and how all of these are linked with the diagnosis and study of neurodegenerative disease. 

The module will provide you with a thorough theoretical grounding in core cognitive neuroscience methods such as neuroimaging (fMRI), electrophysiology (EEG or TMS), genomics and computerised neuropsychological testing. Through understanding these methods, and through examination data from psychopharmacological and patient studies, you will study cognitive neuroscience with a particular focus on the diagnosis, assessment, and experimental study of diseases of the nervous system.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe the historical and philosophical development of cognitive neuroscience.
  • 2. Recognise some of the ethical issues raised by carrying out cognitive neuroscience experiments with human participants.
  • 3. Discuss how key methodologies are applied in cognitive neuroscience.
  • 4. Comprehend key theoretical concepts relating to different aspects of cognitive neuroscience such as, memory, language, attention, vision, and emotion.
  • 5. Discuss the effects of drugs on psychological processes (e.g., mood, cognition, and perception).
  • 6. Outline how cognitive neuroscience is applied to some diseases of the nervous system (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease).

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the principles underpinning data presentation within Cognitive Neuroscience.
  • 8. Understand how experiments involving humans contribute to our understanding of the brain

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Communicate information orally with audio-visual aids
  • 10. Synthesise relevant aspects of the scientific literature in the construction of written arguments

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows: 

The module begins with an introductory workshop to outline its broad aims, weekly structure, and assessment processes.

Following this there will be a series of 1-hour lectures (online pre-recorded) covering topics such as:

  • History and philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Consciousness
  • Ethics and public engagement
  • Methods in cognitive neuroscience, including techniques such as neuroimaging (e.g., function magnetic resonance imaging), electroencephalography, transcranial magnetic stimulation, genomics, and neuropsychological testing.
  • Key theoretical concepts relating to, for example, memory, language, attention, vision, and emotion. 
  • Psychopharmacology: the effects of therapeutic and recreational drugs on mood, cognition, and perception.
  • Applied cognitive neuroscience.

Alongside lectures, a series of two-hour workshops will build upon lecture material and cover the critical analysis of scientific papers, presentation of scientific material and experimental design in cognitive neuroscience (including ethical consideration and public engagement/communication of science).  There will also be a series of 1 hour roundtable structured discussions to consolidate lecture material. These sessions will help you develop the skills needed for the assessments.

The skills and knowledge gain in this module will be assessed by a recorded oral-presentation on an aspect of cognitive neuroscience and an open-book essay examination.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities22 x 1-hour Lectures
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities126 x 2-hour Workshops
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities44 x 1 hour structured discussion sessions
Guided independent study1616 x 1 hour lectures (online pre-recorded)
Guided independent study14Lecture preparation and consolidation
Guided independent study24Workshop preparation
Guided independent study20Writing and preparing coursework
Guided independent study25Wider reading
Guided independent study33Revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Participation in presentation skills and scientific writing workshops2 x 2h9,10Oral
Example essay exam question 1000 words1-8, 10Written worked example answer (online)
Online MCQ questions 3-5 questions per lecture1-8Written (online)

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Recorded oral presentation305 minutes2-9Written
Timed essay exam (open book)7024 hours to complete, estimated 2 hours of writing time. Max 1000 words1-8, 10Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Recorded oral presentation (30%)5 minute recorded oral Presentation2-9Ref/Def period
Timed essay exam (open book) (70%)Timed essay exam (open book, 24-hour completion; max 1000 words)1-8, 10Ref/Def period

Re-assessment notes

Students who are resubmitting an item of coursework as a result of referral in the module will submit during the ref/def period a new equivalent assessment e.g., presentation on a different topic, from the one originally assessed.

Please also refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

“Writing for Science Students” – Boyle & Ramsey?ISBN-13:?978-1137571519

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages


Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, memory, language, vision

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date