BSc Psychology

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Understanding Dementia: Brain and Behaviour

Unit code PSYC31242
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This course will explore dementia in terms of its behavioural characteristics and brain bases. It will involve research from neuropsychology and neuroscience. The primary forms of dementia will be explored, as will the challenges that face differential diagnosis and the discrimination between healthy ageing and the onset of dementia. The role of brain scanning in dementia research and clinical management will be discussed, as will issues relating to treatment and prevention.

This course consolidates and extends the neuropsychological and neuroscientific understanding gained from previous course units; students will be expected to be familiar with ideas and concepts as covered in PSYC11212 Brain and Behaviour and particularly PSYC21022 Cognitive Neuroscience. 

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Brain & Behaviour PSYC11212 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Cognitive Neuroscience PSYC21022 Pre-Requisite Recommended

Aims

Building on previous knowledge (recommended PSYC21022) the unit aims to:

- Introduce students to different types of dementia and current issues in dementia research

- Illustrate the relationships between the neural and cognitive aspects of dementia

- Show how dementia research can increase our understanding of perception and cognition

- Demonstrate how neuroscientific research leads to better treatments for dementia patients

Enable students’ discussion and evaluation of contemporary research, via seminars and reading groups. 

Teaching and learning methods

There will be 12 x 2 hour lectures, 10 x 1 hour seminars (involving discussions, activities and groupwork) and 10 x 1 hour reading groups (looking at relevant papers). E-learning provision:

Lecture content, supplementary reading and resources, and a monitored discussion board will be provided via Blackboard. Feedback will be provided on the coursework essay before the exam.

Knowledge and understanding

- Demonstrate an understanding of current thinking in relation to cognition and behaviour in dementia

- Understand current knowledge in relation to the brain changes accompanying dementia

Understand the critical challenges faced in the exploration of dementia

Gain knowledge of several topics relating brain and behaviour in the context of dementia

Intellectual skills

Critically evaluate the methods used to investigate dementia

Critically analyse how neuropsychological data is used to explore differential diagnosis in dementia

Appreciate how an understanding of cognitive and brain changes can help the development of treatment and promote prevention of dementia

Practical skills

Evaluate research design and methodology in a research paper

Discuss empirical findings with others within a small group context

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Independently gather and organise primary research evidence from relevant databases

Present understanding of a specific area within a presentation and an essay

Synthesise information; summarise theories and evidence; Critically evaluate research; Work effectively within groups; Communicate effectively both orally and in writing; Present concise and persuasive arguments 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Feedback methods

Essay - Feedback will be provided on the coursework essay before the exam.

Exam - Students will receive a grade and can request a summary of their feedback after the exam board.   

Recommended reading

There will not be a single recommended text book as the core course material will be recent journal

articles as the focus is on current research in the field. Some relevant background reading includes:

Gorno-Tempini, M.L., et al., (2011). Classification of primary progressive aphasia and its variants,

Neurology, 76, 1006-1014.

Hodges, J.R., & Patterson, K. (2007). Semantic dementia: a unique clinicopathological syndrome.

Lancet Neurology, 6, 1004-1014.

Metzler-Baddeley, C. (2007). A review of cognitive impairments in Dementia with Lewy Bodies relative to

Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease with dementia. Cortex, 43, 583-600.

Piguet, O., Hornberger, M., Mioshi, E., & Hodges, J.R. (2011). Behavioural-variant frontotemporal

dementia: Diagnosis, clinical staging, and management. Lancet Neurology, 10, 162-172.

DeCarli C. Mild cognitive impairment: prevalence, prognosis, aetiology, and treatment. Lancet Neurololgy

2003;2:15–21.

Collie A & Maruff P. (2000) The neuropsychology of preclinical Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive

impairment. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 24(3):365-74.

Salmon DP, Bondi MW. Neuropsychological Assessment of Dementia. Annual review of psychology.

2009;60:257-282.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 44
Independent study hours
Independent study 156

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Anna Woollams Unit coordinator

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