module specification

PC5052 - Psychobiology (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module title Psychobiology
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 50%   MCQ
Seen Examination 50%   Seen exam
Running in 2019/20
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

1. To evaluate key biological, genetic & evolutionary theories of behaviour

2. To facilitate students’ critical appraisal of these theories in terms of (a) their internal logic and (b) data from controlled and observational research

3. To encourage independent learning through the access of background information using appropriate primary and secondary sources.

The module contributes to the practical application of theoretical positions to real world problems, thereby providing additional transferable skills, e.g. evidence based practice, research and synthesis.

Prior learning requirements

PC4005 Study Skills and Introductory Biopsychology


Topics will be drawn from:

Neurochemistry & neurophysiology of nerve transmission; behavioural genetics; psychoneuroendocrinology; Psychopharmacology; cognitive neuroscience. Biological aspects of learning, memory, motivation, emotion, sleep & arousal, decision making, executive function. Sensory systems and conditions, e.g. pain, synathesia, phantom limbs. Evolutionary explanations of brain and cognition and of behaviours/dispositions such as mating strategies, sexual jealousy, and psychopathologies. LO1,LO2,LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Lectures will provide students with the basic framework and knowledge for the topic, but deeper knowledge and understanding will be promoted through directed study of recommended reading material, workshops, and online formative testing.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Identify biological, genetic and evolutionary explanations of behaviour;
2. Evaluate the explanations in (1) using research evidence;
3. Produce discursive evidence of their understanding related to (1) and (2) under timed exam conditions;

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment –  seen exam – questions provided 48 hours before exam date, but no study materials allowed during the exam.

Formative assessment will be provided for self-reflected learning progress.

Additional formative assessment can be gained from a non-contributory web-based test, where answers will be provided to students after completion of the test.


Chandler, C., (2015) Psychobiology. Chichester, Wiley Blackwell

Breedlove, S.M., N.V. Watson, and R. M.R., Biological Psychology: An Introduction to Behavioral, Cognitive, and Clinical Neuroscience 6th ed. 2010, Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.

Carlson, N. R. (2006). Physiology of Behavior (9th ed.): Allyn & Bacon

Chandler, C. (2010), The Science of ADHD: A Guide for parents and Professionals., Oxford: WileyBlackwell

Pinel, J. P. J. (2005). Biopsychology (6th ed.): Allyn & Bacon.