Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Biological Psychology 1

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The unit is an introduction to the biological basis of behaviour and it explores the explanation of behaviour in terms of physiological systems and anatomical structures. By the end of this study-unit students are expected to:

• Understand the principles of neuronal action and transmission;
• Know and understand the anatomy and physiology of the brain;
• Be aware of the relation between molecular and cellular Neurobiology and behaviour;
• Understand that brain-behaviour relation can be researched by using modern methods and technologies by recording activities in various brain areas during specific activities.

This study-unit is compulsory for the B.Psy (Hons) degree students but is optional for Non B.Psy students taking Psychology as a main area of study.

Study-unit Outline:

1. Introduction to Biological Psychology

2. The Cells of the Nervous System
    - a. Neurons and Glia

3. The Nerve Impulse
    - a. The Resting Potential
    - b. The Action Potential
    - c. Propagation of the Action Potential

4. Communication at Synapses
    - a. The Concept of the Synapse
    - b. Chemical events at the Synapse
    - c. Neurotransmitters and Behaviour

5. Synapses, Drugs and Drugs of Addiction
    - a. Drugs and Behaviour

6. Genetics and Behaviour
    - a. Genes, dominant and recessive
    - b. Behaviour is affected by both genetic and environmental factors
    - c. Genes can change by mutations

7. Brain Anatomy
    - a. Structure of the Vertebrate Nervous System
    - b. Cerebral Cortex
    - c. The Endocrine System
    - d. The Blood-Brain Barrier
    - e. Research Methods

8. Brain Development
    - a. Development of the Brain
    - b. Migration of neurons to their proper targets
    - c. Experiences alter Brain Anatomy
    - d. Plasticity after Brain Damage

9. The Visual System
    - a. The Eye and its connections to the Brain
    - b. The Law of specific nerve energies
    - c. Visual receptors (rods and cones)
    - d. Colour Vision
    - e. Neural Basis of Visual Perception
    - f. Development of Vision

10. Audition
    - a. Structure of the Ear
    - b. The Amplitude and Frequency of Sound Waves
    - c. The Pathways of Auditory Impulses

11. The Mechanical Senses
    - a. Somatosensory System
    - b. The vestibular System
    - c. Nociceptive Nerves
    - d. Pain Relief

12. The Chemical Senses
    - a. Sense of Taste
    - b. Sense of Smell (Olfactory)

13. The Control of Movement
    - a. Muscles and their Movements
    - b. Brain Mechanisms of Movement
    - c. Movement disorders

Required Text:

- Kalat James W., Biological Psychology, 11th Edition, International Edition, Wadsworth , Cengage Learning.
- Bryan Kolb, Ian Q. Whishaw, G. Campbell Teskey, An Introduction to Brain and Behavior, 6th Edition, Macmillan International Higher Education.

Further Reading:

- Matthews Gary G., Neurobiology, Molecules, Cells and Systems, 2nd Edition, Blackwell Science, Inc.
Stephen B. Klein, B. Michael Thorne, Biological Psychology, Worth Publishers.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisites: PSY1630 or Biology at an Intermediate Level at Grade C or better


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.