The Offline Brain 4H PSYCH4087

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Psychology
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

Long after playing a game of squash or reading this short abstract your past experience continues to be processed by your brain. These 'offline' processes improve your game and your understanding of this abstract, and more generally are responsible for enhacing your adaptative behaviour. This seminar based course focuses upon understanding these offline processes from a behavioural perspective, and across the biological hierarchy from single-unit recording to functional neural circuits in humans. Rather than a didactic lecture based style, this course will require students to read papers prior to the class, and engage in a subsequent discussion mediated by the academic staff member leading the course.


Five 2 hour teaching sessions over a five week block.

Requirements of Entry

For undergraduate students, successful completion of level 3H psychology single honours.

Excluded Courses





Students working together in groups of 3 will be required to produce a group research proposal (maximum of 3000 words). The groups will be created at the first meeting of the class.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to present a contemporary account of offline processing. Students will learn about offline processing from a behavioural and biological perspective, the contributions of wakefulness and sleep to offline processing, and how offline processes can be both measured and modified.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to: By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ define offline processing in both behavioural and biological terms

■ critically evaluate different methods of measuring offline processing

■ critically evaluate methods for modifying offline processing

■ critically and constructively assess different theories of offline processing

■ appraise the role of brain state (i.e., sleep vs. wakefulness) in offline processing

■ identify critical key issues that remain to be addressed

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.