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The Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention - PSY00057M

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  • Department: Psychology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Karla Evans
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

We are all familiar with the act of paying attention to something in our very complex world. Rather than being a single entity, attention can best be defined as a family of processing resources or cognitive mechanisms that can modulate signals at almost every level of the cognitive system. Attentional mechanisms shape what we see and what we can act upon. They allow for concurrent selection of some (preferably, relevant) information and inhibition of other information. This selection permits the reduction of complexity and informational overload. The goal of this course is to introduce the students to the most relevant aspects of attention, the research being done on this topic and to consider how this knowledge might be applied to real-world issues.

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

  • Understand different aspects of attention and critically asses the relationship between various models of attention
  • Compare and contrast the neural systems that mediate attention
  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of how genes can control specific structures in the brain that modulate different functions of attention
  • Critically asses the relationship between development of attention and resolution of cognitive conflict
  • Critically evaluate empirical research relating to current issues in attention
  • Evaluate how research on attention from a wide range of research fields and methods can inform real-world problems, and the practical implications of specific research findings

Module content

  • Cognitive Models of Attention
  • Imaging Attention
  • Synaptic and Genetic Studies of Attention
  • Development of Attention
  • Deficits of Attention
  • Attention Research Tackling Real-World Issues


Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 40
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention
N/A 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 40
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention
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

There are no key text for this module.

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.