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PS355 - Attention

  • Module code: PS355
  • Module name: Attention
  • Department: Psychology
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

The aim of this module is to provide a broad understanding of attention, why we need it, how it works and what happens when it breaks down. Topics will include how we can select just a few items among many; whether we select the items themselves or the locations they occupy; whether there are some items that we cannot help but attend; how attention can be affected by brain damage; how we can sometimes fail to see items that appear right in front of our eyes and how we use modern brain-scanning techniques to investigate attention.

Principal learning outcomes

"At the end of the module students should be able to: Discuss the evidence for and against several of the main theories of attention; Discuss what happens when attention is impaired after certain brain lesions, as well as show understanding of some of the normal temporal and spatial limits of attention; Discuss theories of how we use attention to help us search and relate to the visual environment; Demonstrate knowledge of the ‘classical’ attention paradigms (such as Inhibition of Return and Negative Priming etc.) along with some more recent experimental paradigms; Demonstrate knowledge of the pros and cons of multiple brain scanning techniques used to investigate attention, with some examples of modern day research. "

Timetabled teaching activities

Length of module: 12 weeks. One lecture per week; one seminar per week. Attendance at lectures and seminars is compulsory.

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: PS355-15)
D1 (Assessed/examined work) Assessed Course Work 30%
Assessed Course Work 3%
Examination - Main Summer Exam Period (weeks 4-9) 33%
locally Adminstered Exam 34%
Assessed Course Work 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Psychology (C800) - Year 3
  • BA in Philosophy with Psychology (VL78) - Year 2
  • BA in Philosophy with Psychology (VL78) - Year 3
  • BA in Philosophy with Psychology (with Intercalated year) (VL79) - Year 4