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The University of Southampton
Psychology

Students from across the University seize their chance to learn about neuroscience

Published: 28 March 2014
Human Brain and Society

Students from several academic disciplines are stepping outside their subject areas to take a unique module on Human Brain and Society, offered as part of the University of Southampton’s Curriculum Innovation Programme.

Co-ordinator Professor Lindy Holden-Dye (Centre for Biological Sciences) says it has been a popular choice with 49 undergraduates signing up for the 2013-14 course. "Mental health is hugely important for society and the aim of the module is to raise awareness and improve understanding by providing a neurobiological perspective. In the course we examine several important topics in particular dementia and psychiatric disease, from biological as well as clinical and societal perspectives, with contributions from leading experts from across the University and high profile external speakers," she says.

Creative displays

Delivered by members of the interdisciplinary Southampton Neuroscience Group (SoNG); academics from across the University who all have a common interest in studying the brain and neural function in health and disease. The module covers core concepts in neuroscience starting with a lecture from Archaeology Professor Clive Gamble ‘Why are human brains so big?' in which he explores ideas concerning the evolution of human social behaviour and its relation to the development of the brain. It provides discussions on the ethics of caring for people with dementia through to the challenges presented by the impact of the use of alcohol in society. As part of their assessment, students prepare a poster, video or other creative display on any topic relevant to mental health for an exhibition; they also undertake a practical laboratory session entitled ‘Mind and Body' to record their own brain waves and physiological response to stress (galvanic skin responses).

Human Brain and Society

Psychology student Natalie Thompson made a video explaining Alzheimer's Disease to young people. She adds: "Although some of the subjects are familiar through my degree, I am enjoying learning more about the science behind it."

Computer scientist Joe Buckingham chose the module because he wanted to study something completely different. "I have been particularly interested in the societal aspects of mental health and made a video for the exhibition to explore the stigma of mental illness."

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