Psychopharmacology is of great practical interest to clinical psychologists. We will investigate the effects of clinical medications on human psychobiology, and debate how they can facilitate therapeutic approaches. We will also investigate the social-recreational drugs, including legal drugs such as alcohol and nicotine, and illegal drugs such as cannabis and cocaine. We will review their effects on mood and behaviour, and debate how their use can heighten distress. Many drugs are addictive, and so we will also cover topics such as chronic tolerance and drug dependency.
Students design, execute, analyze and report on projects of their own choosing based around a particular cognitive neuroscience application, drawing on the workshops/seminars which include cognitive psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, eye tracking, electrophysiological, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and brain stimulation techniques. This core module is appropriate to students wishing to pursue a career in cognitive neuroscience.
This optional module provides students with the opportunity to conduct an extended literature review to discover what is currently known about an interesting, but less well known, area of psychology that is not taught as part of the psychology curriculum in Level 5 or 6. Students work independently, guided by their dissertation supervisor, to research a topic of their choice. In recent years students have written dissertations about ‘political psychology’, ‘positive psychology’ ‘why people take part in extreme sports’, ‘does cannabis use cause schizophrenia’ and many other diverse lines of enquiry.
The effects of psychoactive drugs upon human behaviour. Some classes of psychoactive drug are used to treat clinical problems, for example antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia, or antidepressant drugs for clinical depression. The other main area of psychoactive drug usage is for social and recreational purposes. Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are legally available, while other drugs such as cannabis, Ecstasy/MDMA, amphetamine, and the opiates are illegal. Their regular usage of is often associated with psychological and health problems, while some can have adverse neurocognitive effects, and many are addictive. The core textbook ‘Understanding Drugs and Behaviour’ is written by the unit leader.