Human Cognitive Neuropsychology

August 6, 2015

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Established by Professor Sharon Abrahams in 2006, this programme provides intensive training and specialist knowledge within human cognitive neuropsychology and related fields of study.

The teaching is closely integrated with the Human Cognitive Neuroscience research unit, a group of internationally recognized cognitive psychologists and neuropsychologists.

The programme takes one year full time, or two years part time.

Content and structure

For a comprehensive overview of the programme, go to Human Cognitive Neuropsychology > Curriculum Options.

Compulsory courses

Compulsory courses are aimed at providing a comprehensive understanding of the basic principles of research design and application. There are statistics courses which provide both a grounding in the principle and theory of statistics and in statistical programming software (R). In addition, there are courses which focus on a range of research skills, from the understanding and application of different methods and research tools, to the writing of research proposals, and the dissemination of research.

Optional courses

Students have the opportunity to take a wide range of further courses covering topics such as clinical neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, brain imaging, language disorders, working memory, visual cognition, perceptual awareness and multisensory integration. In addition, they can also choose from a range of courses in associated disciplines of Individual Differences, Informatics and Psycholinguistics. Please consult our comprehensive overview of the programme (above) to see the complete list of optional courses.


The dissertation is worth one third of the total credits that are required to qualify for an MSc, and involves conducting a research project under the supervision of a member of staff. Students then produce a written report, in which they describe their research and interpret their findings.

Supervisors are normally chosen from staff within Psychology. Each supervisor offers a number of different projects related to their ongoing research. Students can choose one of these projects or suggest and negotiate your own research ideas with a member of staff. (Please be advised that conducting research in clinical settings requires NHS approval, which can take more than 6 months to obtain. For this reason, students can adapt their research project to a non-clinical setting, or select a clinical research project that is already in progress within the University).

Entry requirements

The programme is intended for graduate psychologists who wish to pursue a research-oriented career in cognitive psychology/neuroscience/neuropsychology or a clinically-oriented career in neuropsychology.

This is a popular programme, and acceptance can be competitive. Applicants are selected on the basis of their prior academic performance.

Why Edinburgh?

The University of Edinburgh is firmly established as a world-leading centre of research. The Research Excellence Framework in December 2014 placed Edinburgh as best in Scotland and 3rd in the UK, based on volume of world-leading and internationally excellent research in Psychology.

Students interested in interdisciplinary study also benefit from the close links that exist within the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

The University attracts a high calibre of visiting speakers. These talks are an excellent way to explore new topics and to get to know other postgraduate students.


The following staff are involved with the teaching on this programme:

Research interests
Dr Elena Gherri
Programme director
Action-perception links: spatial attention within and across sensory modalities; conflict and cognitive control.
Neuropsychology and neuroimaging in motor neurone disease and frontotemporal dementia; memory dysfunction associated with hippocampal damage.
Relationship between language, cognition and motor function.
Individual differences; quantitative methods.
The cognitive neuroscience of consciousness and perceptual awareness; Interactions between visual awareness and attention, emotion, and working memory; top-down influences on perceptual processing; foundations of cognitive science, in particular the scientific study of consciousness.
Cognitive neuropsychology, in particular in amnesia, visuo-spatial and representational neglect, apraxia and the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's Disease.
The cognition of human memory in the healthy brain across the lifespan, focused on experimental behavioural studies of working memory.
Working memory, attention, and their development across the lifespan.
Cognitive neuroscience of memory and ageing.
Perceptual, oculomotor and attentional control in scene perception and reading; computational and statistical modeling.

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