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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PSYC5910M The Psychology of Ageing and Dementia

20 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Prof David Bunce

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

At least an upper second class honours degree in Psychology or a discipline containing a substantial amount of psychology and research methods training

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will explore neuropsychological themes relating to both normal and pathological ageing. It will start by considering pressing issues in the study of cognitive ageing and dementia before moving on to cover theoretical perspectives relevant to both normal ageing and neuropathological ageing. The transition from normal ageing to dementia is then considered before evaluating three influences relevant to successful cognitive ageing; genetics, lifestyle and mental health. To wind up the lecture series, two sessions will consider issues relevant to the early detection of cognitive impairment and dementia before the final lecture considers the relevance of course material to everyday behaviours and healthcare.


Students will specialise in conceptual and theoretical issues relating to the cognitive psychology of ageing and dementia.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students are expected to:

-Have an advanced and critical understanding of current theoretical concepts in the cognitive psychology of ageing and dementia literature and be able to apply these concepts when considering the assessment of older adults exhibiting cognitive impairment
-Demonstrate critical understanding of the various methodologies used in the cognitive ageing and dementia literature and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses
-Critically consider the role of cognitive neuropsychology in the assessment of older adults exhibiting cognitive deficits
-Demonstrate a critical and in-depth knowledge and understanding of how experimental psychology can inform the processes and practices used by the medical professions to identify and assess older adults exhibiting cognitive deficits

Skills outcomes
-Students will have opportunity to develop skills in selection, evaluation and application of published research relating to cognitive ageing and dementia
-Students will gain practice in the application of theory to practical real world issues and the critical appraisal of published reports
-Students will have the opportunity to develop communication skills by way of engaging in group work and written and oral argumentation


Importantly, the lecture series will integrate both cognitive and neurobiological perspectives on ageing and dementia, and highlight the applied relevance of course material to, for example, everyday behaviours and healthcare processes and practice.

1. Pressing issues in the neuropsychology of ageing and dementia
2. Cognitive ageing: Concepts, theory and methods I
3. Cognitive ageing: Concepts, theory and methods II
4. Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia I
5. Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia II
6. Key themes in cognitive ageing and dementia I: Genetics
7. Key themes in cognitive ageing and dementia II: Lifestyle
8. Key themes in cognitive ageing and dementia III: Mental Health
9. Early detection of cognitive impairment and dementia I: Key issues
10. Early detection of cognitive impairment and dementia II: Neuropsychological assessment
11. Cognitive perspectives on everyday behaviour and ageing

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours176.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will have 176 private study hours. It is envisaged that this time will be approximately spent as follows:
Reading for each lecture: 11 x 6 hours - 66 hrs
Peer group work - 10 hrs
Revision and practice exam questions - 45 hrs
Independent literature searches and reading - 55 hrs

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

To monitor progress, students will be asked to research a particular theme related to cognitive ageing and dementia. The students will later need to write an essay (individually) on a topic related to this theme. The students will need to work with their peers (in groups of no more than 6) in order to give a short Powerpoint presentation. The class will be split into groups with the presentations being given to the other groups within the class (who will lead a question phase following each presentation, and will also provide anonymous formative feedback to the presenters regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the presentation by means of a standardised form). It is expected that every student in each group will contribute to presentation and discussion. The exercise is based around peer group teaching, where students in groups will present an evaluation of a theme by identifying, summarising and applying relevant evidence from the psychological literature. Materials from these presentations will form a peer learning resource that can feed into coursework preparation and exam revision. All presentations and discussions will be closely monitored by the staff member, who will provide verbal feedback within the seminars themselves.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1500 words80.00
Oral Presentation5 minutes0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)80.00

The Oral Presentation is pass for progression.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 00 mins20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)20.00

The exam consists of MCQs.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 27/09/2021 12:22:06


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