Intro. to Psychological Disorders 3

Subject 512-324 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Twenty-four hours of lectures, 12 hours of laboratory classes. [Estimated total time commitment of 120 hours.]
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: 512-220 (or equivalent).
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: Students who have completed 512-323 Professional Applications of Psychology 3 (or equivalent) may not enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. This subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Associate Professor David Andrewes
Subject Overview:

There are two components to this subject. Students learn about those disorders that are considered largely functional in nature ( Psychopathology), and those that are considered essentially organic ( Human Neuropsychology).

Psychopathology: provides students with an overview of the field of abnormal behaviour and psychological disorder, focusing on discussion of concepts of 'mental disorder', 'dysfunction' and 'disability', and critiques of these constructs. This unit will examine epidemiological studies of mental disorders and critically evaluate their contribution to our understanding of psychopathology. It will also cover the history behind some of our concepts of diagnostic categories and how these have changed over time. Each major group of disorders will be discussed, ie. psychoses, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, substance abuse disorders, and organic problems. Students will learn the signs and symptoms of the various major disorders. They will learn about how experimental laboratory approaches and social psychological science inform our understanding of the aetiology and maintenance of disorders. The unit will also cover the concepts of 'stress', 'risk' and 'resilience' and their relationship to causation and maintenance of disorders. Finally, the unit will briefly describe evidence-based psychological treatments for mental disorders .

Human Neuropsychology: provides students with knowledge of the theory underlying the study of neuropsychology. This unit covers faculties that are loosely referred to as the higher mental functions. In the process of discussing these functions, the common neuropsychological syndromes are described, eg. dementias, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and alcohol-related brain injury. There is also discussion of the psychopathology and emotional disorders often associated with these disorders.

Assessment: An examination of no more than two hours (70%) and written work of no more than 2000 words (30%).Each piece of assessment must be completed (hurdle requirement).Attendance at 80% or more of the laboratory classes is a hurdle requirement. In case of failure to meet the hurdle requirement, additional work will be required before a passing grade can be awarded.
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Upon completion of the subject, students will be able to: describe factors that distinguish normality and abnormality; describe major approaches to diagnosis, and their limitations; identify the major mental disorders and neuropsychological disorders and their related etiological theories and be able to critique the constructs and our current understanding of those etiological factors; be able to describe onset, course and prognosis of disorders; understand the relationship between theory and clinical expression of various clinical neuropsychological syndromes; understand issues related to common neuropsychological disorders or memory, attention, preception, emotion, language, movement, and executive function; gain some understanding of the treatment of specific disorders.


Students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008), BASc or a combined BSc course may receive science credit for the completion of this subject. Students undertaking psychology subjects can receive credit toward either the science or arts requirement of the BASc or BA/BSc course. Credit for psychology cannot be split between the two components. Students should advise the Faculty of Science if they would like psychology to count toward the science requirement of their BASc or BA/BSc course.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Arts and Sciences
Bachelor of Science

Download PDF version.