Course modules

Module information for Psychology, MSc (Conversion Degree) [Year 1]

Brain and Behaviour

Module summary

Module code: PSYC1118
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Education, Health and Human Sci
Department: Human Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Robert Willson



This course examines a broad range of topics recommended by the British Psychology Society, which are aimed at explaining the biological basis of behaviour. It also examines the historical and conceptual issues surrounding approaches, methods and paradigms when considering these topics. The student will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of a range of topics in the field of biopsychology, including how the nervous system is structured, functions and communicates with the body, how hormones influence behaviour, emotional behaviour, evolutionary aspects of behaviour, behavioural genetics, spatial cognition, regulation of feeding and sleep/arousal. Furthermore, this course aims to enable the student to apply their knowledge and understanding of Biopsychology real world issues and situations.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a sound understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system and the processes underlying neurotransmission.
2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of explanations of behaviour from a biopsychological perspective.
3 Analyse and critically evaluate theories, models and empirical evidence in Biopsychology and discuss their implications for applied psychology.
4 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of historical and conceptual bases of approaches, methods and paradigms addressed in the different topics examined on this course.

Indicative content

Biological bases of behaviour: structure and functioning of the central nervous system, neurobiology, principles of psychopharmacology. Behaviourism; associative learning; biological basis of learning; evolutionary aspects of behaviour; behavioural genetics; hormones and behaviour; biological basis of spatial cognition; feeding; addiction and reward; sleep and arousal; biopsychology of emotion.

Teaching and learning activity

Lectures, seminars, group discussions, and self-study supported by library facilities, electronic journal databases and materials posted in the course shell on the online learning platform.


Method of SUMMATIVE assessment: Biopsychology Take-home Test
Outcomes assessed:1-4
Grading Mode (e.g. pass/ fail; %): %
Weighting % :100%
Passmark: 50%
Word Length:2x1500 words
Outline Details: The Take-home Test paper comprises a list of essay-type questions on biopsychological topics. Students must answer TWO questions from that list of questions. The paper will normally be available two weeks before the end of term, and submission will be via the normal coursework submission mode.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Exercises and discussions in seminars with feedback and guidance. There will be opportunities to discuss the student’s progress in the seminar sessions.