Module PPP-1005:
Brain & Mind

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Guillaume Thierry

Overall aims and purpose

Brain and Mind is an introduction to the functional anatomy of the human brain.This module will be the opportunity for you to approach the way in which the brain implements the human mind.

Course content

I will start with a general introduction to the concept of mental representation, i.e., the basic concept behind that of mind. Lecture 1 will be devoted mainly to the anatomy of the brain, which is a prerequisite for you to understand the biological bases of psychology. When possible, brain structures are described in relation to their function or at least some aspects of their reason to be. In lecture 2, we will look at the elementary unit of thinking in your brain, the neuron.

Then we will have two lectures by a inspiring guest lecturer, Professor Oliver Turnbull, who is pro-vice chancellor for teaching and learning of Bangor University. Professor Turnbull will introduce the concept of consciousness and explore what we know of animal minds.

Then we will resume our lecture series. In Lecture 3, we will start reviewing particular aspects of normal behaviour and abnormal behaviour and relate them to specific brain structures. First, we will look at face processing. Lecture 4 will review main concepts regarding language production and comprehension. In lecture 5, the brain structures underlying emotion and executive functions will be introduced. Lecture 6 will be a 3D virtual anatomy practical to prepare you for or summarise the hands-on brain anatomy practical in which you will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hold a real human brain between your hands. Finally, in the last lecture of the series, lecture 7, I will introduce some important aspects of functional cerebral asymmetry in relation to the main division of the human brain into hemispheres. Throughout the module, the aim will not be to give you detailed understanding of the mechanisms underlying human cognitive functions but rather present essential ideas about ways in which we can relate psychological function to brain anatomy. The whole course will serve as a foundation for the wide range of courses in which the brain (as a biological organ) is considered.

Try to keep in mind that the amount of information your brain can store is essentially unlimited (or at least impossible to imagine). The more you read and look at photographs and drawings, the more you will learn and remember. In fact, the more you learn, the more you enable your brain to learn (it is just the opposite of a limited space that can be filled). Therefore, go for it!

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Adequate answer to the question, largely based on lecture material. No real development of arguments.

good

Reasonably comprehensive coverage. Well organised and structured. Good understanding of the material.

excellent

Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area clarity of argument and expression. Depth of insight into theoretical issues

Learning outcomes

  1. Use a basic neuroscience vocabulary and demonstrate a capacity of orientation in the brain organ. Major subdivisions (such as the temporal lobe) should be known as well as essential subregions (e.g. primary auditory cortex).

  2. Localise the essential landmarks on external anatomy and common sections of the brain, and understand the principles of functiional subdivisions of the human cortex.

  3. Name the different parts of a neuron and show an understanding of the fundamental principles of neural communication.

  4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of structure-function relationships for major anatomical structures in the human brain.

  5. Illustrate the principles of the clinical approach, i.e. the characterization of a link between brain lesions and neuropsychological symptoms.

  6. Understand the importance of obtaining converging evidence from different sources (anatomy, physiology, lesion data, functional imaging and/or electrophysiology) in order to specify structure/function relationships.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Final Exam 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture 22
Private study 71
Laboratory

This is a hands-on brain anatomy practical lasting half an hour during which a brain anatomy expert will take you on a tour of the human brain. You will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hold a real human brain in your hands. The number of hours is indicative of preparation time and dedicated revisions.

3
Practical classes and workshops

This year, for the first time, we will have 5 multiple-choice questions presented and answered at the beginning of 8 sessions about the content of the preceding session. After each mini-test, the lecturer will provide the answers and justify them. A number of the questions reviewed in these mini-tests will be included in the final exam.

4

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Understand and investigate the role of brain function in all human behaviour and experience.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.

Resources

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: