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Biological psychology

Available April 2020

Understanding how the brain functions can provide an extremely valuable insight into how we operate in everyday tasks, and in ill-health. The human brain is one of the most complex organs and one which we have only relatively recently been able to study in action. This module will provide you with a foundation in neuroscience, that is the science of the nervous system, and examine what this means for our understanding of key functions including perception, attention and memory and several conditions and diseases.

Topics covered

You will be introduced to specific functions and pathologies of the brain, including sensation and perception; attention and memory; the biological causes and symptoms of neurological and psychiatric disorders, and consider neuroscience methods throughout. The core topics are:

  • The nervous system: structure and development
  • Cells and signalling
  • Sensation and perception: Touch and Pain
  • Sensation and perception: Hearing
  • Sensation and perception: Vision
  • Attention and ADHD
  • Learning and Memory
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Psychiatric conditions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

  • Describe the overall anatomy of the human nervous system and how this arises during development.
  • Describe the different types of cells within the nervous system and the role they play including signaling mechanisms.
  • Describe, compare and contrast the different methods used for investigating the structure and function of the brain.
  • Explain the neurobiological processes underpinning touch, pain, visual and auditory processing that allow us to perceive the world around us.
  • Describe the proposed neural basis of attention, learning and memory and provide examples of brain changes that may disrupt these Describe and discuss the biological basis of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders and treatments for these conditions.
  • Describe and discuss findings from research papers.

Assessment

  • Coursework (30%)
  • Examination (70%)