Neurocriminology (L4115B)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module takes an interdisciplinary approach to explore crime and justice in their relationship to the human brain. It examines how the neural underpinnings of our thinking and behaviour can influence, and be influenced by, interaction with the criminal justice system at all levels. The module will:

  • consider factors around the notion of a ‘criminal mind’
  • examine the roles of intoxication and addiction in driving criminal behaviour
  • the relationship between brain state and culpability
  • automatism
  • psychopathy
  • false and distorted memory
  • heuristics and biases
  • sociogenomics and the role of environment
  • the neural architecture of impulse and restraint
  • where our increasingly detailed understanding of the brain can help or hinder the principled administration of justice.

It will also look to what the future may hold for the criminal justice system, given the increasing role of neurotechnology in understanding, controlling and preventing crime. We will examine issues around the:

  • privacy of brain data
  • deep brain stimulation
  • brain machine interfaces
  • brain-scanning lie detectors
  • digital phenotyping
  • behavioural prediction.


33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Test)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 30 hours of contact time and about 270 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.