Module details for Brain Investigations


This module builds on the content from PSY301. It will offer a general introduction to the field of cognitive neuroscience but also specialist insights into current research topics. The theoretical and methodological foundations of cognitive neuroscience will be comprehensively reviewed and students will develop key skills to understand and report cognitive neuroscience research via individual and group work.


This module will provide the student with knowledge and understanding of key principles of cognitive neuroscience; philosophical issues involved in mind/brain studies; advantages and limitations of the available techniques; experimental design principles; specialist research areas.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Understand the basic ideas, principles and issues underlying cognitive neuroscience.

2.  Evaluate the advantages and the limitations of different techniques used in mind and brain studies.

3.  Critically evaluate the design of experiments on the relationship between mind and brain.

4.  Identify suitable research questions and designs in cognitive neuroscience.

5.  Understand, interpret and accurately report cognitive neuroscience research findings as presented in primary sources.

Indicative Content

1 Introductory Concepts

Cognitive Neuroscience: history, definitions, themes, approaches and issues.

2 Methodological and design principles

Methodological and design principles: different approaches and common issues in psychology and cognitive neuroscience.

3 Available techniques

Techniques & technology: Series of lectures on the methodologies that are currently available in cognitive neuroscience, broadly divided in measurement and manipulation techniques.

4 Specialist Areas

Specialist areas: lectures on contemporary research - these may vary from year to year and may be selected from the following (non-exhaustive) list: perception; action; attention; attentional control; memory; emotion; social cognition; language; numerical cognition; executive functions; decision making.

5 Identifying, reading and reporting primary sources

Students will be guided in searching for suitable primary sources and understanding cognitive neuroscience research reports. They will also be required to engage in supervised presentations of research papers followed by discussions with the class.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Practical Activity 0
Assessment 50
Independent 114
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.