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The Cognitive Psychology of Sleep - PSY00026M

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  • Department: Psychology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Gareth Gaskell
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

We spend more than 200,000 hours of our lives asleep, compared with perhaps 20,000 hours in formal education. Surprisingly, the effects of sleep on the brain remain poorly understood. This module will explore the impact of sleep on cognitive performance, drawing evidence from behavioural neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology methods. Although the module cuts across several strands of psychology, there will be a particular focus on the potential impact of sleep on memory and knowledge.

Students enrolling on this module should demonstrate a good understanding of core knowledge in cognitive psychology, as well as intermediate skills in quantitative statistical analyses.

Module learning outcomes

  • Differentiate the main models of sleep associated consolidation
  • Evaluate evidence relating to the impact of sleep on memory and cognitive performance
  • Relate specific components of sleep to changes in behaviour
  • Explain the effects of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders on cognitive performance
  • Discuss the relationship between dreams and behaviour

Module content

  • Why do we sleep?
  • Sleep deprivation and cognitive performance
  • Theories of memory consolidation
  • Sleep and memory consolidation
  • Integration and reorganisation of memory
  • Dreams and behaviour
  • Sleep disorders and disordered sleep
  • Sleep and emotion


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 40
University - closed examination
The Cognitive Psychology of Sleep
1.5 hours 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 40
University - closed examination
The Cognitive Psychology of Sleep
1.5 hours 60

Module feedback

The marks on all assessed work will be provided on e-vision

These marks will be accompanied by module feedback circulated via e-mail.

Students will meet supervisors in wk 6 in AuT, SpT and wk 9 in SuT to discuss their marks.

Indicative reading

Introductory Reading:

Siegel, J. M. (2009). Sleep viewed as a state of adaptive inactivity. Nat Rev Neurosci, 10, 747-753.

Walker, M. (2018). Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams. Penguin.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students