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Mind & Brain - PSY00036M

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  • Department: Psychology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Philip Quinlan
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module offers a blend of empirical and philosophical approaches to understanding human cognition. The course starts of with an overview of different theories of the mind that have been central to psychological accounts of mental functioning in the twentieth century. Discussion then moves onto consider evolutionary psychology and how it relates to cognition. This thread is picked up in the next seminar in which differences between human and nonhuman cognition are addressed. Next we focus on the topic of moral reasoning and here philosophy, experimental psychology and neuroscience become intertwined. Various examples of connectionist models of the mind are covered in the next seminar and the differences between symbolic and sub-symbolic accounts will be considered. In addition, the concept of mental rules will be examined. Several of the themes covered in the first two sessions are returned to in the next seminar that contrasts "direct" and "establishment" theories of human perception.  The course concludes with an in-depth appraisal of conflict adaptation effects in both behaviour and the brain.

Module learning outcomes

  • Appreciate and describe the difficulties in attempting to understand the nature of the human mind
  • Critically evaluate particular theories of the mind, theories of perception and cognition
  • Provide an evidence-based account of evolutionary psychology and how it relates to the mind
  • Critically evaluate the differences between human and nonhuman mental activity
  • Provide a critical defence of the relevant behavioural and neural evidence that supports models of human cognition covered in the course

Module content

  • Theories of mind
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Humans vs. the rest: What is the human mind really like?
  • Moral reasoning
  • Connectionist models of mind
  • The nature of perception
  • Conflict adaptation
  • Revision - writing and marking. Debates.

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
N/A 40
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Mind and Brain
N/A 60

Special assessment rules


Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
N/A 40
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Mind and Brain
N/A 60

Module feedback

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

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

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

Indicative reading

Although there is no textbook that fits exactly with the module I do encourage the students to purchase a copy of Levitin, D. J. (2012). Foundations of cognitive psychology (Second Edition). Pearson and refer back to Quinlan and Dyson (2008).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University constantly explores 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. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.