Neuropsychology of Ageing and Dementia

Module titleNeuropsychology of Ageing and Dementia
Module codePSY3436
Academic year2017/8
Module staff

Dr Sharon Savage (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

With the ageing population comes a variety of challenges, including those to cognitive health. In 2014, reports from the Alzheimer’s Society estimated that there were over 770,000 adults aged over 65 years living in the UK with some form of dementia, together with a further 40,000 people diagnosed with young onset dementia. The impact of dementia extends beyond the person to be felt also by the family, friends and wider community. There are currently no medical treatments available to cure these conditions. One-third of cases of Alzheimer’s disease, however, are thought to arise from potentially modifiable factors such as obesity, smoking, depression and limited educational opportunities in earlier life. Consequently, the need to understand and extend knowledge of both “normal ageing” and pathological changes is of great importance.

Neuropsychology is the study of brain-behaviour relationships. In understanding how the brain is impacted by dementia and the resulting clinical syndromes, management and advances in treatments can be made. Through this module you will gain a thorough grounding in the neuropsychological approach to dementia, including knowledge of the clinical profiles of the main types of dementia, tests used to diagnose dementia, and the current best practices to manage these conditions. The latest research findings will also be explored and critically evaluated, with contributions from staff in the REACH team who are engaged in cutting-edge research in this field.

In taking this module, you will become familiar with the main types of dementia, gain knowledge and skills regarding the diagnostic process, and understand how to critically analyse non-pharmacological intervention studies. This module provides a key starting point for anyone considering a future working as a psychological practitioner or working with older people who have dementia. Content for the module will include research-led teaching by the module convenor and other members of the Centre for Research in Ageing and Cognitive Health (REACH) team, ensuring the most up-to-date information is available regarding intervention strategies for both Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s dementias, as well as approaches to assist carers.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to enable you to develop and apply clinically related skills regarding identifying and managing different forms of dementia. You will develop important skills in observing behaviour, assessing different forms of cognition, integrating patient history with clinical profiles and critical appraisal of the literature.

Through attending the weekly seminars and completing the assessments, you will further develop the following academic and professional skills that will be transferable to future employment:

  • problem solving (linking theory to practice, developing your own ideas with confidence, being able to respond to novel and unfamiliar problems)
  • managing structure (identifying key demands of the task, setting clearly defined goals, responding flexibly to changing priorities)
  • time management (managing time effectively individually and within a group)
  • collaboration (respecting the views and values of others, taking initiative and leading others, supporting others in their work, maintaining group cohesiveness and purpose), and
  • audience awareness (presenting ideas effectively in multiple formats, persuading others of the importance and relevance of your views, responding positively and effectively to questions).

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a psychological practitioner in the NHS or a career in clinical neuropsychology the seminar will assist in developing skills for postgraduate study. The seminar will give you direct experience with specific neuropsychological tests used by clinicians, as well as insight into current issues.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe the clinical profiles of the most common forms of dementia, and be able to identify the key differences between the main types
  • 2. Explain how to conduct a neuropsychological assessment to assist in determining a dementia diagnosis
  • 3. Evaluate the methodological quality of current research regarding non-pharmacological interventions for dementia
  • 4. Demonstrate emerging clinical skills by applying knowledge of criteria for dementia subtypes when considering case examples

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Acquire detailed, systematic and comprehensive knowledge within the discipline, with in-depth specialisation at the forefront of the discipline in certain areas, and demonstrate advanced critical understanding of this knowledge and of the limits and provisional nature of this knowledge
  • 6. Review and critically evaluate published work at an advanced level and identify the strengths and weaknesses of this work, and at an advanced level structure this literature to present logical, coherent and sustained arguments to support conclusions at an advanced level
  • 7. Address systematically complex problems at an advanced level which may be framed within unpredictable contexts, think critically, creatively and independently, and fully appreciate the complexities of the issues
  • 8. Understand and apply essential principles in designing novel research, and critically evaluate and analyse empirical evidence, and assess the reliability of empirical evidence using a range of defined techniques at an advanced level
  • 9. Illustrate the wider ethical issues relating to the subject and its application at an advanced level

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Interact effectively and supportively within a learning group
  • 11. Manage your own learning using the full range of resources of the discipline and with minimum guidance
  • 12. Engage effectively in debate in a professional manner and produce detailed and coherent written work
  • 13. Identify with confidence and flexibility complex problems and apply appropriate knowledge and methods for their solution

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module consists of a series seminars based around the following topics:

  • Introduction to neuropsychological principles
  • Healthy ageing vs disease
  • Diagnostic criteria for the major forms of dementia
  • Clinical profiles and progression of dementia syndromes over time
  • Approach to neuropsychological assessment
  • Intervention strategies in dementia
  • Current areas of research development

The order in which these seminars is delivered may vary, according to availability of speakers.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching33Seminars
Guided Independent Study80Reading in preparation for weekly seminars and presentations
Guided Independent Study37Writing of coursework report and revision for exam


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Engagement in seminars11 seminarsAllInformal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation1015 minutes + 10 minutes question time3, 6 ,8-11, 13Oral and peer feedback
Report402000 words1-2, 4-13Written
Examination503 hours1-9, 11-13Generic


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PresentationPresentation3, 6, 8-11, 13August Ref/Def
ReportReport1-2, 4-13August Ref/Def
ExaminationExamination1-9, 11-13August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Three assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the examination you will have the opportunity to take a second examination in the August/September re-assessment period. Where you have been referred/deferred in the report you will be required to resubmit the report. Where you have been referred or deferred in the presentation, reassessment will be by arrangement with the module convenor. For a referred presentation, reassessment shall be by individual presentation in the August Ref/Def period. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferrals are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Miller, B L, and Bradley F. Boeve. The Behavioral Neurology of Dementia. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, 2016

Additional suggested reference texts:

  • Lezak, M.D., Howieson, D.B., Bigler, E.D. & Tranel, D. Neuropsychological Assessment 5th edition. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Psychology, neuropsychology, dementia, ageing, clinical psychology

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

PSY1204, PSY2303, PSY2304 or equivalents

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date