PY3PBM-Pain: Body & Mind

Module Provider: Psychology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: PY2RM Research Methods and Data Analysis
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Tim Salomons


Summary module description:
PY3PBM: Pain: Body and Mind

This module will enable students to take a multidimensional and multidisciplinary approach to the study of pain in both clinical and non-clinical populations. Students will gain experience of critical evaluation of existing research and theoretical perspectives in the pain literature; further develop their ability to study independently, and gain experience of current research being undertaken in the department.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, students will be able to:
1.Critically analyse research on pain mechanisms and pain measurment in both clinical and healthy samples
2.Apply their understanding of the key factors in defining and measuring pain
3.Appraise key theoretical explanations for how both adaptive and maladaptive pain arise.

Additional outcomes:
Students will further develop their skills in:
1.Analysis and synthesis of complex, multi-disciplinary literature relating to pain
2.Successful team-work and self-confidence, through Team-based Learning
3.Designing appropriate experiments to test research questions derived from theory

Outline content:
The module comprises seven 2-hour seminars.
We know pain when we feel it, but defining it is more difficult. Is it a sensation? An emotion? Is it the product of injury? Is it a creation of the brain? Understanding this complex phenomenon requires an interdisciplinary approach spanning psychology, neuroscience, philosophy and medicine. This course will begin by asking “what is pain?” and “what function does it serve?”. To better understand how pain serves its function, we will examine the biological mechanisms that give rise to pain, with particular emphasis on the brain. We will also examine how we measure pain and how we communicate pain to others in social contexts.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The course will combine more traditional didactic learning (i.e. lectures) with a Team-based Learning approach. Students will complete online questions based on the weeks readings, then will work in teams to discuss and converge on answers, which will form the basis for interactive class discussion.. Students are expected to prepare for each session by reading set papers each week.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15
Guided independent study 85
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 75
Written assignment including essay 25

Other information on summative assessment:
This module is assessed through coursework (25%) and a final exam (75%).
The 1.5-hour Summer Exam will require students to answer 1 essay question on topics covered in the module.
Coursework will comprise a written report.

Formative assessment methods:
Students have the opportunity to provide the module convenor with up to two essay plans for comment and feedback in preparation for the exam.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    1.5 hours

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-assessment is by re-examination in August / September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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