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Module PPP-4025:

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Ken Valyear

Overall aims and purpose


How can advancements in neuroscience inform solutions to real-world challenges, and how can real-world challenges inform advancements in neuroscience?

In this module, students explore how foundational science principles can be used to guide and constrain modern applied and translational neuroscience.

The core focus of the module is ‘good’ study design. What makes for an effective neuroscience-inspired clinical intervention, for example, and what are some of the associated practical challenges?

Course content

Course content

By reviewing specific examples of published studies, and by participating in “hands-on” demonstrations, this module aims to establish an advanced-level understanding of the fundamental study-design principles and practical challenges of modern applied and translational neuroscience.

Topics span the areas of (1) rehabilitation neuroscience, with a focus on restoring sensory and motor functions and language; (2) human performance enhancement; and (3) neuroscience-inspired technological design and implementation.

Students will gain hands-on experience with advanced methods, including brain stimulation.

Assessment Criteria



B+ to B- Work displays sound knowledge and understanding, but with some limitations. There is evidence of background study. The work has a defined and logical structure, but with some weaknesses in the way in which arguments are presented. There is some original interpretation and demonstration of understanding of links between topics. The work is presented carefully with accurate communication and few factual or computational errors.



C+ to C- Work displays knowledge of key areas/principles, with limited evidence of original interpretation or relevant background study. The work contains some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure. Arguments are presented, but they lack coherence. The work contains factual or computational errors with little evidence of problem solving. There are weaknesses in the standard of the presentation and its accuracy.



A* to A- Work displays comprehensive knowledge and detailed understanding, reflecting extensive background study. The work is highly focussed, well structured, logically presented, and with defended arguments. The work contains original interpretation, and new links between topics are developed. The work is presented to a high standard, with accurate communication and no factual or computational errors.

Learning outcomes

  1. Ability to critically evaluate the fundamental principles underlying best practice in applied neuroscience.

  2. Ability to critically and comprehensively discuss the strengths and limitations of a specific neuroscience-based application.

  3. Ability to identify strong/poor evidence-based practice, and formulate testable hypothesis for potential advancements.

  4. Ability to formulate a design for a well-controlled clinical/rehabilitation trial, product design, or technological enhancement of perfrormance grounded in basic neuroscience research.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ORAL Group-led discussion of paper on chosen topic (pro-seminar series format).

Lead a discussion of a paper(s). Focus on the study design: rationale, strengths and limitations, and possible alternatives.

ESSAY Propose a novel application/investigation, or review and critique of existing practice.

Propose a novel research programme, in the form of a mini grant proposal. Generally, the research programme can be one of two types:

Type 1: Applied: propose a programme of study to develop new/revised application(s) – e.g. clinical intervention(s) – based on concepts derived from basic science.

Type 2: Basic: propose a programme of study to develop a new basic science experiment(s) to test the theoretical principles that underpin a current application(s).

ORAL Present a summary of your proposal

Summarise your research proposal (Assessment 2). Tell us your idea, and project plan. Include: Motivation and Significance; Specific Aims; Methods; Hypotheses.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 162
Practical classes and workshops

1h practical lessons and demonstrations approximately every other week.


2h lectures per week with an option to discuss and clarify specific subtopics with the Lecturer teaching the respective topic, one-to-one or in small groups in 5 drop-in sessions 2 hour per week + 2 hours every other week = 32.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • 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.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • 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
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

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.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Engage in effective teamwork for the purpose of collaborating on psychological projects.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • 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.
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • 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.


Resource implications for students

There are no costs to students. Resources include: Primary research articles, Clinical reports, and book chapters from Handbooks on Neuroscience, Neurorehabilitation, Performance, Motor learning and Memory.

Reading list

Primary research articles, Clinical reports, Handbooks on Neuroscience, Neurorehabilitation, Performance, Motor learning and Memory.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: