Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Cognitive Neuroscience Insights into Brain Plasticity (PGT Conv) PSYCH5047

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course will survey the paradoxical (sometimes productive) neuro-psychological phenomena that can be observed after lesions of the central or peripheral nervous system, or by non-invasive (transcranial) brain stimulation. These phenomena contrast with the more common functional deficits of brain lesions or brain stimulation, and will be used as windows to detail current concepts in cognitive neuroscience, brain plasticity and rehabilitation.


2 hours of lectures for 5 weeks

Requirements of Entry

At least 2:1 honours degree in a science subject.

Excluded Courses



Examination 100% you will answer 1 question from a choice of 3

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

Each lecture begins with case descriptions of patients with paradoxical (sometimes productive) effects of stimulation/lesions on behaviour. Examples include: hyper-attention; an anarchic hand; the experience of leaving one's own body; or the integration of phantom limbs into one's own body scheme. The lectures explore how these phenomena fit or informed models of cognitive processes and plasticity in different domains (e.g. attention, motor control, interhemispheric interactions, multisensory integration) and points to implications for neurorehabilitation. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Differentiate between non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (including TMS, tDCS, tACS) that are used at the forefront of cognitive sciences as neurocognitive probes, and understand their relation with other widely established neuroimaging approaches (fMRI, EEG).

■ Critically evaluate functions that can be uncovered by brain-stimulation/disruption or peripheral lesions (peripheral visual pathways), due to the potential of the brain to cope with interference or deafferentiation (plasticity).

■ Critically evaluate the implications of these observations on current models of brain organization across different cognitive domains (attention, motor control, interhemispheric interactions, multisensory integration) cutting across the discipline of cognitive neuroscience

■ Reflect critically on these key models and associated concepts

■ Critically evaluate current experimental approaches in clinical neurorehabilitation that use current concepts in brain plasticity for neuromodulation to bias brain reorganization in desired directions.

■ Synthesize the complexity of brain organization at the macroscopic level (network of brain areas) in light of brain plasticity.

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.