module specification

PC4101 - Introduction to the Biological Bases of Behaviour (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Introduction to the Biological Bases of Behaviour
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 10
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 100
70 hours Guided independent study
30 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 40%   Short-answer questions
In-Course Test 60%   Multiple-choice questions
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester LMET Distance Learning Not applicable -

Module summary

This module introduces students to the study of the brain mechanisms underlying behaviour. The focus is on comparative and physiological approaches to behaviour and the mechanisms underlying the behavioural adaptations of organisms to their environment. Students are also introduced to animal experimentation and the collection, analysis and interpretation of neuroscientific data.


Topics will be drawn from:

• Organisations and functions of nervous and endocrine systems;
• Neural transmission and drug modulation;
• Regulation of feeding;
• Localisation of function and cerebral asymmetry;
• Arousal and sleep;
• Learning and memory;
• Genetics and evolution;
• Memory LO1,LO2,LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Lecturer-provided materials will be placed online. These will include lecture slides with accompanying audio, self-test materials, and – where available – online readings.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

1. describe conceptual issues in biological psychology and the history of its development;
2. identify the operating principles of the brain and of the physiological and behavioural mechanisms involved in adaptations to the environment;
3. explain the meaning of data derived from animal and human experiments.

Assessment strategy

Formative feedback will be available in the form of: (a) comments on mid-term short-answer questions, and (b) automated responses to non-summative multiple-choice questions.


Martin, G.N., Carlson, M.R., & Buskist, W. (2011). Psychology (fourth edition). London: Pearson. [This book is available online via the library’s electronic catalogue]
Davey, G. (Ed.) (2008). Complete Psychology (second edition). Oxford: Hodder Education.