Module code: PSY1016

Module provider


Module Leader

VIOLANTE I Dr (Psychology)

Number of Credits


ECTS Credits



FHEQ Level 4

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Study Hours: 124

Lecture Hours: 22

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 4 PAGE ESSAY 25

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module will give an introduction into biological psychology.  Architecture and basic functions of the nervous system will be covered.  This will be important to understand the biological bases of psychological processes and disorders.

Module aims

In recent years there is growing interest in the biological bases of psychological phenomena. For a better understanding of psychological processes in healthy humans as well as in patients suffering from psychological or neurological disorders it is necessary to understand how the nervous system is built and how it works. Basic architecture and fundamental functions of the nervous system will be taught and there is a strong aim to link these functions with psychologically relevant topics

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate a basic knowledge about structure and function of the nervous system as listed below K
2 Appreciate the many ways in which biopsychological research contributes to our understanding of  human behaviour, cognition, and motivations / emotions KC
3 Demonstrate an understanding of basic neuro-scientific methods used in modern biological psychology KC
4 Demonstrate an ability to critically assess application of these methods in published work KCT
5 Demonstrate a basic capacity to structure and write a research-based critical evaluation of empirical work in biological psychology CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Content includes:

Introduction to Biological Psychology: What is Biological Psychology? What do we need it for?
Ethics in Biopsychology
Brain Cells
Neural Resting Membrane Potential and Action Potential
Synaptic Transmission of Information in the Nervous System
Development of the Nervous System
Wiring of the Brain
Important Neurotransmitter Systems & Psychopharmacology
Neural Bases of the Visual System
Neural Bases of Non-visual Sensory Systems
Neural Bases of Motor Control


Tutorials on Research Methods:

(week 3) Theoretical overview over different methodological approaches in biological psychology – lecture style; distribution of simple empirical articles using event-related potentials, functional MRI or transcranial magnetic stimulation as primary method – these articles are required reading for discussion in tutorial 2;

(week 5) Discussion in small groups – each group member has read an article in which one of three bio-psychological methods (ERP, fMRI, TMS) was used; each group member explains the article to the rest of the small group;


The method described in the essay needs to be a different one than the method presented in the small group discussion.

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

provide students with fundamental knowledge about biological psychology and the many ways in which biopsychological research contributes to our understanding of human behaviour, cognition, and motivations / emotions
provide basic knowledge about structure and function of the nervous system.
develop the critical understanding of advantages and disadvantages of major research methods used in biological psychology.
engage students to criticise the conclusions of the knowledge base.
equip students with skills to critically evaluate theories and evidence in biological psychology.


The learning and teaching methods include:

11 x 2 hours lectures partly with multimedia presentations and/or interactive discussion
2 x 2 hours tutorials with small group discussions
independent study

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate each of the learning outcomes

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

One 90 minute unseen 60-item MCQ examination (75%) in the formal semester exam period
One research methods essay (25%) critically evaluating the usefulness of a particular neuroscientific method for a given research question

Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback in the lectures through interactive quizzes and discussions
Verbal feedback during tutorials on article group discussions by the lecturer and peers
Written Feedback on research methods essay

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sport and Exercise Science BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.