PSY-40127 - Cognitive and Biological Psychology
Coordinator: Einat Rashal
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 7
Credits: 30
Study Hours: 300
School Office: 01782 733736

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This module will allow you to develop your knowledge and reflective skills on a range of topics in biological and cognitive psychology centred on current issues relevant for the discipline. It will allow you to understand how they relate to the development of psychology as a discipline and to other areas in psychology. This module, where possible, will also help you to develop an appreciation of the impact of cultural and individual differences in psychology. Typical cognitive topics could include perception, attention and inhibitory control, human learning and memory, mental imagery. Biological topics are related to the central nervous system in normal and pathological conditions, highlighting the brain substrates underpinning mental processes and behaviour. You will have weekly asynchronous teaching (online, not live) with synchronous weekly seminars (online, live) led by our expert tutors. You will also be encouraged to think critically about the application of cognitive and biological psychology in professional contexts, for example you might be asked to critique the `medical model┐ of psychosis or current national guidelines around communication with dementia patients.

This module will enable students to develop an advanced knowledge of biological psychology and cognitive psychology, to understand current issues in their study and to critically evaluate theories and research in these areas. Students will be also encouraged to recognise not only that biological and cognitive aspects are often highly integrated, but also that they interact with social, developmental and other aspects in psychology, to determine mental processes and behaviours. Moreover, this module will aim to help students develop, where possible, an appreciation of cultural and individual differences in psychology. The module will cover both biological and cognitive psychology in a range of applied contexts to demonstrate the utility of such knowledge to students in a practical sense.

Intended Learning Outcomes

describe, explain and critically evaluate key issues, theories and research in biological and cognitive psychology;: 1,2,3
apply underlying concepts and principles of biological and cognitive psychology to explain human mental processes and behaviour;: 1,3
accurately use language and terminology relating to biological and cognitive concepts;: 1,2,3
reflect on the ways in which different perspectives in psychology can be integrated to give a holistic view of human thought and behaviour;: 1,3
critically evaluate the application of biological and cognitive psychological theories in a professional context.: 3

Study hours

300 hours Independent study, comprising:
- 24 x 2 hours weekly asynchronous learning = 48 hours
- preparation for the production of the MCQs (24 hours)
- preparation for the academic blog entries (wider reading, structure assignment, writing up, proofreading: 72 hours)
- preparation of the critique (72 hours)
Total assessment prep = 168 hours
Independent and guided reading = 84 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Writing Assessment weighted 40%
Academic blogs
For this assessment, students will have to write two blog entries that will focus on cognitive and biological topics taught in the module (core teaching sessions and/or workshops). Each entry will be a maximum of 1,000-words long (with 10% leeway). Students will have to choose two out of four titles/topics proposed by the teaching staff. The assessment will cover both biological and cognitive topics; students will need to write about both across the breadth of their assessment submission. In the blog, they will be asked to reflect on the theoretical and methodological aspects of the chosen topic, providing critical evaluation. Students should write in an accessible style, being engaging, but also clear and rigorous on a scientific point of view (i.e., evidence-based statements, citing appropriate sources). Images could be included to enhance clarity and engagement. When appropriate to the topic, students should also provide their own voice (e.g., experience with aspects of the topic) and some creative insight into the topic.

2: Coursework weighted 20%
Student produced MCQ's
Student must produce a total of 8 Multiple choice questions per semester, each with 4 answers. They must explain the correct answer and why 3 conceptually appropriate red herrings have been proposed (4 biological psychology and 4 cognitive psychology).

3: Critique weighted 40%
Critically evaluate practice within a specified area of professional psychology which employs cognitive or biological psychology, for example, the `medical model┐ of psychosis or the evidence base for `third-wave┐ cognitive behavioural therapies. (1,500 words)