Biological Psychology

Subject PSYC20006 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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

Lectures and Laboratories

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of laboratories
Total Time Commitment: 36 contact hours, estimated total time commitment 120 hours
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this subject
Corequisites: There are no corequisites for this subject
Recommended Background Knowledge: Prior coursework in the two Level 1 psychology subjects, Mind Brain and Behaviour 1 and Mind Brain and Behaviour 2 is recommended.
Non Allowed Subjects: 512222 Behavioural Neuroscience 2
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards of Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit Website:


Prof Michael Saling



12th floor Redmond Barry Building (Building 115 Map)

Telephone: + 61 3 8344 6377



Subject Overview:

This subject studies the relationship between brain mechanisms and behaviour. Its major aim is to develp an appreciation of the neurobiological basis of psychological function and dysfunction via two approaches. The first emphasizes a bottom-up approach including the topics of brain development, neurons and neural circuits, neurotransmission and neurotransmitter substances, and the structurofunctional properties of selected brain regions. Neurobiological principles are illustrated using conditions with abnormal neuronal function such as dementia, epilepsy, memory, and language disorders. The second approach emphasises a top-down approach that links psychological functions to their biological substrates. Neuroscientific research techniques and what they can reveal about psychological function are emphasized. These tequniques are presented within an historical context, beginning with ventricular models (e.g., Descartes) and finishing with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Specific areas of research, such as brain lateralisation, individual differences in brain structure, and clinical brain disorders, are used to gain insight into neuropsychological research and its findings.

A quantitative methods component will be integrated into the lecture, tutorial and assessment structure of this subject. The aim is to provide an understanding of, and practical experience with, the appropriate experimental design and statistical analysis techniques used to evaluate hypothesis in Biological Psychology.

Objectives: The subject aims to:
  • To provide students with an integrated understanding of the way in which the brain regulates complex forms of human behaviour, as a basis for future studies in the behavioural neurosciences.
  • To provide students with an appreciation of the various methodologies for investigating brain and behaviour relationships.
  • To provide students with the opportunity for engaging in critical evaluation of competing theories with the field.

Two written laboratory/tutorial reports of 1,000 words each (20% each = 40%) to be submitted during semester.

An examination of no more than two hours (60%) to be completed at the end of semester during the specified University examination period.

Attendance of at least 80% of the laboratory classes is a hurdle a requirement. In the case of failure to meet the hurdle requirement, additional work will be required before a passing grade can be awarded.

Prescribed Texts:

Calson, NR. Physiology of Behaviour. 9th Edition.Pearson International.

Recommended Texts: Kandel, E et at. Essentials of Neuroscience and Behaviour. McGraw Hill.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

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

Students will be given appropriate opportunity and educational support to:

  • develop skills related to the ability to research an area
  • analyze the information critically
  • arrange it in a report that is clearly expressed and lucid
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Psychology
Psychology Major

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