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Course CodeBPS306
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

An Introduction to the Human Brain

Neuropsychology is a specialist area of psychology concerned with diagnosis and treatment of brain dysfunctions. It is relevant to people who seek a more in-depth understanding of the brain and how damage through congenital conditions, injury, disease or disorders can affect its functioning and behaviour.

Anyone who takes this course should have some basic understanding of the brain's anatomy and human biology.  You will not learn how to undertake psychological testing of neuropsychological problems, or diagnose mental health problems but you will learn about different types of brain dysfunctions, signs and symptoms, and how they manifest in people. 

Learn about the structure of the brain and how it relates to neurological conditions.

Develop your understanding of the way a person’s psychology is affected by anatomical and physiological characteristics of that person’s neurological system.

What you will learn in this course

In the course you will study the following over the course of ten lessons -

  • The Foundations of Neuropsychology
  • The Structures of the Brain
  • The Anatomy of the Brain
  • Brain Laterality
  • The Brain, Personality and Emotion
  • Perception Disorders
  • Motor Disorders
  • Dementia
  • Neurodevelopment

Who is this course suitable for?

An understanding of psychology is useful for this course, but not essential.  The course is of interest to anyone wishing to understand more about the brain and neurological conditions, including those working in the following areas:

  • Psychology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Biological Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Research

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Foundations of Neuropsychology
    • What is neuropsychology?
    • The Information Processing Approach
    • Studying the human mind
    • Techniques used
    • Brain scans
    • Animal studies
    • Methods of investigating the brain
    • Psychological tests
    • Stroop test.
  2. Neurophysiology
    • Neurons
    • Parts of a neuron
    • Neurotransmitters
    • Effects of neurotransmitters
    • Neurotransmitters and their effects
    • Endorphins
    • Disorders associated with neurotransmitters
    • Glia cells
    • Schwann cells
    • Nerve impulse
    • Synaptic transmission
    • Nerve impulse
    • Neuromuscular transmission.
  3. Neuroanatomy
    • The nervous system
    • Parts of the central nervous system
    • The brain
    • The spinal cord
    • Spinal nerves
    • Blood brain barrier
    • Peripheral nervous system
    • Autonomic nervous system
    • Sensory somatic nervous system
    • Spinal nerves
    • Cranial nerves
    • How the nervous system works (a summary)
    • Problems with brain functioning
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Brain tumours
    • Injuries to the head
    • Epilepsy
    • Headaches
    • Mental illness
    • Meningitis and encephalitis.
  4. Laterality and Callosal Syndromes
    • Brain lateralisation
    • Left handedness
    • Cognitive neuropsychology
    • Callosal syndrome
    • Complete severance
    • Split brain
    • Complete severance
    • Split brain syndrome
    • Lobotomy
    • Psychosurgery
    • Dual brain theory
  5. Cognition, Personality and Emotion
    • Brain damage
    • Emotion and moods
    • Phineas Gage
    • Brain damage and emotion
    • Frontal lobe
    • Higher level functioning
    • The Limbic system
    • Neurotransmitters
    • Neuropsychology
    • Emotions research.
  6. Perception Disorders
    • Hemispatial neglect
    • Causes of hemispatial neglect
    • Auditory perceptual disorder
    • Agnosia
    • Visual agnosia
    • Types of visual agnosia
    • Prosopagnosia
    • Simultanagnosia
    • Optic aphasia
    • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder.
  7. Motor Disorders
    • Parkinson’s Disease
    • Motor disorders resulting from traumatic brain injury
    • Non traumatic and/or genetic paediatric movement disorders
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Motor conditions
    • Gerstmann’s Syndrome
    • Apraxia
    • Motor skills disorder
    • Motion dyspraxia
    • Neural transplants and Parkinson’s Disease
    • Gene therapy
    • How does gene therapy work
    • Ethical issues surrounding gene therapy,
  8. Language
    • Broca’s area
    • Wernicke’s area
    • Speech
    • Language
    • Speech and language disorders
    • Apraxia
    • Aphasia
    • Stuttering
    • Neurogenic stuttering
    • Troyer syndrome
    • Speech disorders.
  9. Dementia
    • Kinds of dementia
    • Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Vascular Dementia
    • Multi-infarct Dementia
    • Parkinson’s Disease
    • Pick’s Disease
    • Dementia with Lewy Bodies
    • Huntingdon’s Disease
    • Pseudo-Dementia
    • Spotting dementia and other conditions,
  10. Neurodevelopment
    • Major processes of neurodevelopment
    • Neurogenesis
    • Migration
    • Differentiation
    • Apoptosis
    • Aborisation
    • Synaptogenesis
    • Asperger Syndrome
    • Neuroplasticity and brain damage.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Studying the Brain is Increasingly Easier

Neuropsychology involves studying the brain and nervous system to better understand how people think, on a physical level.

We undertake these studies in different ways. In recent times, the range of tools available to neuropsychology, have increased in complexity, allowing us to see things that were once hidden to us. 

Modern tools include a whole range of different types of brain scans, including:

CAT (computerised axial tomography) scans

Here, an x-ray beam goes through an individual’s head and a level of radioactivity is detected.

PET (positron emission tomography) scans

A radioactive tracing substance is administered either into the blood stream via injections or inhalation, or by administering an artificial substance similar to glucose (a brain fuel), then the movement of that radioactive substance can be detected and observed over a period of time. Areas involved in motor control and sensory stimulation can also be observed

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans 

These scans produce clearer and more detailed pictures than CAT scans. MRI is used to detect structural details of the brain. Some substances contained in water molecules in the brain, such as hydrogen atoms, respond to magnetic fields. When a magnetic field is applied, the interaction between molecules and the magnetic field are monitored, allowing different tissues to be distinguished, based on their constituent molecules. These changes are interpreted by a computer, and thus can be used to detect very small tumours. They can still only tell us about the structure of the brain rather than its functioning.

Functional MRI scans

This scan produces images of the brain with areas of high activity indicated, so we can get a picture of the brain whilst functioning. This provides more spatial information than PET scans and shows changes over shorter periods.

Squid (superconducting quantum interference devices) magnetometry

This scan measures the magnetic field produced by neuron activity in the brain. Irrelevant magnetism may interfere with results and the machine has to be kept at extremely low temperatures.

The five most widely used psychophysiological measures include: EEG, muscle tension, eye movement, skin conductance, and cardio-vascular activity. 

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

This measures electrical recordings from the scalp. Electrodes pick up small changes in electrical activity in the brain. Since the neurons within the brain are some distance from the electrodes, changes in voltage provide an idea of overall electrical activity in the brain and not that of individual neurons. Changes are represented on a computer screen. The changes in patters are often known as brain waves. Typically, it measures the activity in the outer layer (cerebral cortex) of the brain.  EEGS are useful, as they have found that we have five stages of sleep, can help to detect epilepsy, damaged brain tissue and tumours. EEGs also helped to identify the functions of the two hemispheres of the brain.  However, EEGs have largely been replaced by brain scans.  

Electromyogram (EMG)

Psychological arousal can be measured by an electromyogram (EMG) this measures the tension of stationary muscles.  An electrode is placed either on the surface of the skin, or with its tip just inside a muscle so that the electrical activity can be determined. Eye movement is measured via electrodes placed on each side of the eye this is known as electro-oculography.

Emotional thoughts and experiences are associated with increases in the ability of the skin to conduct electricity. The two most common measures are skin conductance level and skin conductance response.

Three different measures of cardiovascular activity are frequently employed in psycho-physiological research, heart rate, blood pressure and blood volume. It has long been known that there is a relationship between cardiovascular activity and emotion.

The Benefits of Studying This Course

Study this course to learn about the human brain and the impact of neurological damage or disease on behaviour and emotions. Learn what happens to people with dementia, motor disorders, and other brain dysfunctions in this fascinating course.

This course will suit people with an interest in: 

Biological sciences
Health sciences
Psychiatric nursing
Health professions

Enrol now to find out more.

Or, If you have any questions about the course, get in touch with our specialist Psychology tutors - they will be pleased to help you.

Meet some of our academics

Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).
Gavin ColePsychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin is both a highly experienced Psychologist and tutor. Gavin has over 25 years experience in the Psychology industry, and has been working with ACS since 2001. He has worked in both Australia and England, and has been involved in writing numerous books and courses in Psychology and Counselling

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