School of Psychology

Psychobiology (C8003)


Module C8003

Module details for 2012/13.

15 credits

FHEQ Level 4

Module Outline

"Psychobiology" is a first year, core module that offers students a first overview of the various topic-areas relevant to understanding human and non-human animal behavior from a biological and/or evolutionary perspective. The module begins by discussing the basic anatomy of the peripheral- and central nervous systems (brain and spinal cord), as well as the structure and physiological function of nervous cells (neurons), including synaptic neurotransmission, hormonal actions, and intracellular electrical processes. Additionally, an introduction to systems neuropsychology is given and the effects of drugs on neuronal functioning are discussed. Next, brain-behaviour relations are discussed in greater detail focusing on three broad topic areas: First, the biological basis of emotions are considered from a hormonal- and brain systems perspective. Second, essential motivated behaviors are considered by exploring both homeostatic and non-homeostatic peripheral and central mechanisms underlying drinking and eating behaviour. Third the brain mechanisms that allow organisms to acquire, store and retrieve new information and alter their behaviours are discussed focussing on historical and recent experimental findings from studies on human- and non-human learning & memory. The final section of the module takes a more evolutionary perspective to explore how many components and aspect of human behaviour have been shaped by adaptation and selection, relying on field studies into the foundations of animal behaviour.

Module learning outcomes

Know how the major structures of the brain, neuronal morphology and physiology, neurotransmitter- and neuroendocrine signaling, and how these relate and integrate to determine behaviour.

Understand the major concepts and theories of motivated behaviour and the physiological and neurobiological mechanisms that mediate homeostatic and non-regulated drinking and eating (motivation).

Describe the behavioural and neurobiological mechanisms involved in associative learning & memory formation, and emotional behaviour.

Understand how the theory of evolution relates to human and animal behaviour.

Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
Laboratory ReportT2 Week 9 50.00%
EssayT2 Week 6 50.00%
Multiple Choice questionsEnd of Year Assessment70.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterPractical2 hours000000100000
Spring SemesterLecture1 hour222222222222
Spring SemesterSeminar1 hour001000010010

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Dr Hans Crombag

Convenor, Assess convenor

Dr Jenny Bosten

Assess convenor

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The University reserves the right to make changes to the contents or methods of delivery of, or to discontinue, merge or combine modules, if such action is reasonably considered necessary by the University. If there are not sufficient student numbers to make a module viable, the University reserves the right to cancel such a module. If the University withdraws or discontinues a module, it will use its reasonable endeavours to provide a suitable alternative module.