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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2019 - 2020

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

To provide a critical description and explanation of the biological basis of human behaviour and the theories of biological influences on behaviour.

Learning Outcomes

1. Critically consider the major theories and perspectives of biological psychology.
2. Describe how the central, autonomic nervous and endocrine systems are involved in psychological processes and explain how these systems interact.
3. Define and critically evaluate the biopsychological bases for a range of internal states.
4. Critically evaluate how the sensory and sensorimotor systems function and affect behaviour.
5. Critically consider the biological basis of learning, memory and cognitive functioning, critically evaluate their assessment at preclinical and clinical level, and identify and critically explain disorders of cognition.
6. Demonstrate an advanced ability to describe and explain the development and plasticity of the nervous system and critically evaluate how neuroplasticity affects brain damage.
7. Identify and explain degenerative diseases of the brain and critically appraise current therapeutic treatments.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Workshop126 seminars/workshops to supplement lectures on key introductory biological psychology topics.
Independent Study87No Description
Assignment Completion2Exam
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Primer in Biopsychology: Brain and the Central Nervous System

Biopsychology of Motivation (e.g., Regulation of internal states, such as temperature, hunger, thirst, eating disorders;

The Visual System: vision and visual perception

Other Sensory Systems: Hearing, Touch, Pain, Smell, Taste, Attention

The Sensorimotor System: brain mechanisms and control of movement, movement disorders

Learning and Memory

Intelligence and Cognitive Functioning; Disorders of cognition

Development and Plasticity of the Nervous System

Brain Damage and Neuroplasticity

Degenerative Diseases of the Brain

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • John P. J. Pinel and S. Barnes: 2017, Biopsychology, 10th, Pearson Education, Boston, MA, US, 9781292158471
  • Bob L. Garrett and G. Hough: 2017, Brain & Behavior: An Introduction to Biological Psychology, 5th, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, US, 1544317506
  • Suzanne Higgs, A. Cooper, J. Lee, M. Harris: 2015, Biological Psychology, 4th, SAGE Publications, London, UK, 9780857022615
  • James W. Kalat: 2012, Biological Psychology, 11th, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA, US, 1111839522
  • Neil R. Carlson: 2010, Physiology of behavior,, 10th, Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA, US, 0205666272
  • S. Marc Breedlove, Neil V. Watson, Mark R. Rosenzweig: 2010, Biological psychology: an introduction to Behavioural, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, 6th, Sinauer Associates Inc., Sunderland, MA, US, 9780878933242
  • John G. Nicholls, A. R. Martin, P. A. Fuchs, D. A. Brown, M. E. Diamond, D. Weisblat: 2011, From Neuron to Brain, 5th, Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, MA, US, 0878934391
  • Dale Purves, George J. Augustine, David Fitzpatrick, William C. Hall, Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, Leonard E. White (eds.): 2011, Neuroscience,, 5th, Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, MA, US, 9780878936953
  • Andrew Wickens: 2009, Introduction to Biopsychology, 3rd, Pearson Education, Boston, MA, US, 9780132052962
  • Bryan Kolb, Ian Q. Whishaw: 2009, An Introduction to Brain and Behavior, 3rd, Worth Publishers, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, US, 9781429253741
  • Paul Aleixo (illustrations by Murray Baillon): 2008, Biological psychology: an illustrated survival guide, 1st, John Wiley and Sons, Oxford, UK, 9780470870990
  • Lisa Wise: 2010, Introduction to Psychobiology, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, US, 0761960791
  • L. Squire, D. Berg, F. Bloom, S. du Lac, A. Ghosh: 2008, Fundamental Neuroscience, 3rd, Academic Press, San Diego, CA, US, 978-012374019
  • B. W. Connors, M. A. Paradiso, M. F. Bear: 2006, Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, 3rd, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD, US, 978-078176003
  • Edward O. Wilson: 2005, From so simple a beginning: Darwin's four great books (Voyage of the Beagle; The Origin of Species; The decent of Man; The experience of emotion in Man and Animals), W.W. Norton & Co., New York, US, 0393061345
  • Richard Dawkins: 2006, The Selfish Gene, Open University Press, Berkshire, UK, 0192860925
  • F. Scott Kraly: 2009, The unwell brain: understanding the psychobiology of mental health, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, NY, US, 9780393705966
  • Frederick Toates: 2000, Biological Psychology: an integrative approach, Pearson Education, Boston, MA, US, 9780273745754
  • Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz, Thomas M. Jessell: 2000, Principles of Neural Science, 4th, McGraw-Hill, New York, US, 978-007112000
  • Eric R. Kandel: 2007, In Search of Memory: the emergence of a new science of mind, WW Norton and Co., London, UK, 978-039332937
  • Larry R. Squire, Eric R. Kandel: 2008, Memory: from mind to molecules, 2nd, Roberts & Company Publishers, Greenwood Village, CO, US, 978-098151941
  • Bob L. Garrett & G. Hough: 2018, Study Guide to Accompany Garrett & Hough's Brain and & Behaviour: An Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience, 5th, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks CA, 9781506392479
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes