Drugs, Brain and Behaviour (C8528)
15 credits, Level 6
Drugs, Brain and Behaviour offers you an overview to the psychological, pharmacological, neurobiological and neurophysiological bases of drug use, abuse and contemporary understanding of addiction (and some mental conditions), and has a strong natural science (neuroscience) orientation. The acute and long-term effects of selected drugs of abuse on behaviour, mood, cognition and neuronal function are discussed using empirical findings and theoretical developments from both human and non-human subject studies on the neurobiological and psychological basis of drug action and addiction.
The module will discuss the anatomical, neurochemical and cell-molecular mechanisms targeted by psychoactive drugs and their distribution, regulation and integration in the broader central nervous system. The focus is on potentially addictive drugs, and the major classes are discussed, including opiates (heroin and morphine), psychomotor stimulants (amphetamine and cocaine), sedative-hypnotics (alcohol, barbiturates and chloral hydrate), anxiolytics (benzodiazepines), marijuana, hallucinogens (LSD, mescaline) and hallucinogenic-stimulants (MDA, MDMA). Critically, with the knowledge of the basic neurobiological and behavioural pharmacology of these drugs 'in hand', contemporary theories and understanding of mental conditions, substance abuse and addiction are considered, focusing on key concepts related to (drug) experience-dependent neuroplasticity, drug-induced neurotoxicity, associative learning, neuronal ensembles and the synaptic basis of learning and plasticity, habit formation and impulse-control.
This module builds on knowledge gained in the core psychology modules C8003: Psychobiology and C8518: Brain and Behaviour. If you are not enrolled on the BSc Psychology course at Sussex you are expected to be familiar with the material covered in these modules.
Teaching and assessment
We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.
Contact hours and workload
This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 44 hours of contact time and about 106 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.
We’re planning to run this module in the academic year 2021/22. However, there may be changes to this module in response to COVID-19, or due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. It may not be possible to take some module combinations due to timetabling constraints. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.