The University of Southampton

PSYC2022 Forensic Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

Module Overview

The module will be based on general principles of cognitive and affective neuroscience and refer to those principles to explain different aspects in the field of Forensic Psychology, such as Forensic Assessment of mental health, the relevance of guilt, pathways to aggressive behaviour and sexual interest in the context of criminal behaviour. Furthermore, state-ofthe- art therapeutic strategies pursued in forensic mental health institutions and prisons will be discussed and potential developments based on cognitive and affective neuroscientific evidence will be developed. The module includes lectures as well as student presentations and group work to allow students to get engaged with the topic.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To introduce basic principles and background of cognitive and affective neuroscience relevant for Forensic Psychology.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • the neuroscience of cognitive and affective processes, characteristics of subgroups of offenders, treatment interventions, scientific thinking and basic psychological concepts
  • scientifically evaluate and write, by means of group work and individual work
  • improve your skills of independent study, including time management
  • use an approach oriented attitude towards experimental neuroscience based research as well as an compassionate attitude towards the individuals who show antisocial behaviour of any kind
  • improve your ability to balance compassionate professional and objective observer


1. Introduction to the module, definitions and key facts 2. Cognitive and Affective Processes: Decision making, Behaviour control, Attention, Emotion decoding & Empathy 3. Individual characteristics: Sexual interest, Personality, Mental health problems 4. Therapeutic interventions: State-of-the-art interventions: general and specific programs, Potential new interventions

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module includes lectures, group work and student presentations. Lectures will be delivered by the module lead as well as by guest lectures. The module is delivered in a weekly double lecture slot for one semester, excluding the final reading week. It is supported by a Blackboard website which includes course outline, reading materials, lecture slides and assignment instructions. 1. Lectures: Students will be provided with a series of lectures by the module coordinator as well as by guest lecturers practising in Forensic Psychology. Contents cover the basic knowledge about cognitive and affective neuroscience related to forensic topics. 2. Group work: Weeks that include specific reading will include group work during the two-hour slot, discussing scientific papers or case examples for assessment. 3. Student presentations: Weeks that include specific reading will require preparing MC questions and critical review responses for presentation or preparation of case example assessment. 4. Writing assignments: there will be two writing assignments, one will be a critical evaluation of an original paper and one will be a forensic assessment report. 5. Private study will be required to prepare for classroom sessions and assessments. Key papers will be identified to provide starting points for private study.

Independent Study128
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Critical evaluation  (2000 words) 25%
Exam  (1.5 hours) 29%
Forensic Assessment Report  (3000 words) 25%
Peer Group Input 19%
Research Participation 2%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: PSYC1010 AND PSYC1016

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