module specification

PC5052 - Psychobiology (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Psychobiology
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
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%   MCT
Seen Examination 50%   Seen exam
Running in 2021/22
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The module is designed to:
1. Allow students to evaluate key biological, genetic and evolutionary theories of behaviour in their historical and cultural contexts.
2. Facilitate students’ critical appraisal of theories in biopsychology in terms of their internal logic and ethical application, and in relation to data from controlled and observational research.
3. Encourage independent learning through the access of background information using appropriate primary and secondary sources.

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


Topics will be drawn from:

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

Learning Outcomes LO 1 - 3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Lectures will provide students with the basic framework and knowledge for the topic, and deeper knowledge and critical understanding will be promoted through directed study of recommended reading material, seminars, formative testing, and engagement with digital resources provided.

Learning outcomes

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

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

Assessment strategy

A multiple-choice test (MCT) will assess the breadth of knowledge of the material covered in the module up to that point and a written exam will assess the depth of knowledge of core concepts, theories and research in biopsychology. Formative assessment will be provided throughout the module for self-reflected learning development. Students require a minimum aggregate grade of 40% from both assessments in order to pass the module.


Chandler, C. (2015) Psychobiology. Chichester, Wiley Blackwell [CORE]
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.