As part of the formal assessment for the programme, you are required to submit an
Introduction to Biological and Cognitive Psychology essay, a narrated PowerPoint
presentation and a transcript of the narrated PowerPoint presentation. Please refer
to your Student Handbook for full details of the programme assessment scheme and
general information on preparing and submitting assignments.
After completing the module, you should be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the basic structure and function
of the nervous system.
2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts in
3. Recognise distinctive approaches and methods employed by biological and
4. Communicate ideas effectively.
Your assignment should include: a title page containing your student number, the
module name, the submission deadline and the exact word count of your submitted
document; the appendices if relevant; and a reference list (see referencing section
for more information).You should address all the elements of the assignment task
listed below. Please note that tutors will use the assessment criteria set out below in
assessing your work.
You must not include your name in your submission because Arden University
operates anonymous marking, which means that markers should not be aware of the
identity of the student. However, please do not forget to include your STU number.
Maximum word/time limit: There is a 2000 word limit for part 1 (the essay). There
is also a 15 minute narration limit and a 2000 word transcript limit for part 2 (the
Please refer to the full word count policy which can be found in the Student Policies
section here: Arden University | Regulatory Framework
Please note the following:
Students are required to indicate the exact word count on the title page of the
The word count includes everything in the main body of the assessment (including in
text citations and references). The word count excludes numerical data in tables,
figures, diagrams, footnotes, reference list and appendices. ALL other printed
words ARE included in the word count.
Part 1: Essay on Biological Psychology
The brain continually changes and reorganises itself to adapt to its environment.
These changes take place across the entire lifespan, from conception to death, and
are part of the process known as neuroplasticity.
Construct an essay to define the concept of neuroplasticity and to discuss examples
of neuroplasticity from multiple different stages of the lifespan. You should make
reference to scientific research throughout your essay.
- You need to cover multiple stages of the lifespan. For example, the pre-natal,
post-natal, infant, childhood, adolescent, young adult, adult or elderly stages
of life. You do not need to discuss all of these stages, but you do need to
discuss more than one. Your examples do not have to fit neatly into one of
the stages mentioned above, but it should be clear which part of the lifespan
each example relates to.
Examples of neuroplasticity include any instance in which the brain changes
in response to the environment. For example, you could discuss how the
brain is changed by learning, parenting, social interactions, traumatic
experiences, danger, exposure to TV/smartphones/social media, stress,
praise/criticism and many others. You could also look at how neuroplasticity
helps the brain to recover from illness, injury or exposure to drugs.
- You need to support your arguments with scientific research papers. You can
find these papers in the lessons, and you will still get good marks for doing
so, but you will be awarded extra marks for finding some of your papers
through independent wider reading. Here is a video that will guide you
through the process of finding your own research papers:
- When discussing scientific research papers, it is worth mentioning the
methods used by the researchers and their main findings. You do not have to
relay all of the technical and statistical information here. Rather, you just
need to clearly present ‘what they did’ and ‘what they found’. For example:
What were the different conditions in the study? What kind of data were they
recording (fMRI, EEG etc.)? Which areas of the brain were involved?
To go above and beyond and to push into the highest grade category, you
could discuss how neuroplasticity operates in different ways at different
stages of the lifespan. You could also critically evaluate the studies that you
include. These are not requirements. Rather, they are extra things that you
could do to excel and to challenge yourself.
Part 2: Narrated PowerPoint Presentation on Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology has made significant contributions to our scientific
understanding of learning, memory, attention and perception. Your task is to present
a narrated PowerPoint presentation about four specific significant contributions,
which are listed below.
In your presentation, you should describe each significant contribution and briefly
discuss how it has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the topic
area. You should support your arguments by making reference to scientific papers
throughout your presentation.
Learning – Latent learning
Memory – Memory distortions
Attention –Treisman’s attenuation theory
Perception – The Gestalt approach
Finally, you must produce a transcript for
your narrated PowerPoint. This is a
verbatim (word-for-word) account of everything that you said in your narration. The
transcript should be included at the bottom of your biological psychology essay (from
Part 1) under its own heading (such as “Cognitive psychology transcript”).
- A narrated PowerPoint consists of a normal PowerPoint presentation (slides,
text and images etc.) with the addition of voice recordings (i.e. narration).
Guidance on how to add voice recordings is available in the “How to record
and embed your narration” guide, which can be found in the My Assessment
tab on iLearn.
- The narration should summarise and add to the content on the slides, rather
than simply reading out the text on the slides.
- Your narrated PowerPoint must address all four of the given significant
- As with the essay, you can find research papers to support your arguments
by looking through the lessons, but extra marks will be awarded for papers
found through wider reading. Here is a video that will guide you through the
process of finding your own research papers:
- The 2000 word limit for the transcript is an upper limit and not something that
you need to aim for. Instead, it is recommended that you aim to use all or
most of your 15 minute narration limit. There is no limit on the number of
slides that you can use or the number of words that you can have in your
- To reach the higher grades, it is recommended that you use images and flow
diagrams alongside concise bullet points of text.
- While not required, you will also be rewarded with extra marks for showing
evidence of critical thinking and for considering real world implications.