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Unit information: Introduction to Biological Psychology in 2013/14

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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. Ludwig
Open unit status Open




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


This unit shows how the study of behaviour emerges from the theory of evolution as a distinct discipline. Conditioning research is discussed as an area which is still developing, and the unit should enable a student to grasp the evolutionary significance of basic learning mechanisms.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, you will have acquired a good understanding of how the biological and mental explanations of behaviour are complementary and how these have been developed in a comparative context. You will learn how the Central Nervous System (CNS) is organised and how groups of neurons can process information. Also, you will appreciate how specific and general biological processes contribute to the limitation and versatility of behaviour. Such information is vital to understanding how some people become functionally damaged (clinical case studies). You will also gain a broad understanding of classical and instrumental conditioning, and will appreciate the importance of contemporary research investigating phenomena in associative learning.

Teaching details

This unit comprises 16 x 50 minutes lectures, plus an overview session and a revision session for the end of unit examination.

Assessment Details

  • 50% coursework
  • 50% MCQ examination

Reading and References

Schacter, D.L Gilbert, D.T., Wegner, D. M. (2009). Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers.