Psychobiology (C8003)

15 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

"Psychobiology" is a first year, core module that offers you an 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, as well as the structure and physiological function of nervous cells, 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.

Brain-behaviour relations are discussed in greater detail focusing on three broad 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 and memory.

The final section of the module takes a more evolutionary perspective to explore how many components and aspects of human behaviour have been shaped by adaptation and selection, relying on field studies into the foundations of animal behaviour.

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 28 hours of contact time and about 122 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: