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Unit information: Introduction to Biological Psychology in 2016/17

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Unit name Introduction to Biological Psychology
Unit code PSYC10009
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2D (weeks 19 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Kazanina
Open unit status Open




School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


This unit is based on a biological approach to behaviour with particular reference to the importance of neurophysiological processes. The unit begins by providing foundation for understanding how the Central Nervous System (CNS) is organised and how groups of neurons function. We then considers how neural systems can process information allowing decisions to be made, how learning takes place and which brain processes that accompany emotional experiences. Also, you will appreciate how specific and general biological processes contribute to the limitation and versatility of behaviour. Such information is vital to understanding what can easily go wrong so that some people become functionally damaged.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will be exposed to concepts relevant to brain functioning from chemistry, biology and neuroscience that will enable them to place psychology in a broader context of life and natural sciences. On completion of this unit, students will have acquired a good understanding of how the biological and mental explanations of behaviour are complementary, how sensory input is processed to yield perceptual experiences, and neural underpinnings of learning and emotions. By the end of the unit, you will also have participated in and gained knowledge of a range of research experiments in the School of Experimental Psychology.

Teaching details

This unit comprises 12 x 1 hour lectures, plus 2 x 1 hour revision sessions. Students will also participate in 2 hours’ worth of experiments at the School of Experimental Psychology.

Assessment Details

  • This unit is assessed 100% by one hour MCQ examination
  • Participation in 2 hours’ worth of the Experimental Hours Scheme is required for the award of credit.

Reading and References


Schacter, D., Gilbert, D., Wegner, D. & Hood, B. (2014). Psychology; Second European edition. Palgrave MacMillan; UK.


Kalat, James W. (2013). Biological psychology. 11th ed., International student ed.. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.

Suggestions for further reading will be made separately through Blackboard