Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Perspectives on Psychobiology and Cognition
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 hour
Seminars / Tutorials 6 x 1 hour seminar
Workload Breakdown (Every 10 credits carries a notional student workload of 100 hours.)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x essay-outline 500-750 words  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x essay 2000 words  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination  60%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Students who fail may resit this module as determined by the dept exam board.  If students fail the module overall, any failed component must be re-sat or determined as the Examination Board sees fit.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the gross structure of the brain and nervous systems.

2. Outline the central processes in perception from eye to brain.

3. Outline the central concepts in attention, learning and memory processes.

4. Identify the role of brain structures and processes in relation to cognitive funtion.

5. Examine and evaluate the application of basic biological and cognitive psychological concepts to a range of applied areas of psychology.

6. Understand what comparative psychology can tell us about cognition in humans.


This module provides an introduction to psychology for the non-specialist and assumes no prior knowledge of psychology. The module introduces students to the basic principles of psychobiology and outlines the key concepts of cognitive psychology. The module both stands alone as an introduction to the subject and provides students with a knowledge base for future study.

Brief description

The module examines the emergence of psychology as a discipline from its roots in biology. The biological underpinnings of cognition are introduced. Students will also become familiar with the structure of the eye and the ear as the key organs of perception. In cognitive psychology students will cover four aspects; perception, attention, language and memory.


Currently Includes:
  • Introduction to psychobiology/cognition.
  • Brain structure and function.
  • Organs of perception.
  • Perception.
  • Attention.
  • Memory.
  • Learning.
  • Animal Cognition

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable although students will be introduced to the key concepts of statistical analysis through the examination of research designs.
Communication Students will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic and to focus on the objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the facilitator and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay topics. The need to meet essay deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well. Students will be expected to reflect on their own learning processes which will be evidenced through the submission of a reflections sheet with all coursework assignments.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and PsychLit, PsychInfo).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare for seminars will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider case studies; reason logically; apply theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student¿s ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminars will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module. These subject specific skills include: * Assessment of scientific methods in psychology. * Differentiation between research methodologies and when to use each one. * Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches. * Appreciation of the nature of ethical research in the social sciences.
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module

Reading List

Essential Reading
Adams, B (2009) The Psychology Companion Palgrave Macmillan Publishers of London Primo search Cottrell, S (2008) The Study Skills Handbook 3rd Palgrave Macmillan Publishers of London Primo search Eysenck, M.W. & Keane, M.T. (2007) Cognitive Psychology 5th Psychology Press, Taylor & Francis Primo search Garrett, B (2009) Brain and Behaviour, an introduction to biological psychology 2nd London: Sage Primo search Kalat, J.W. (2009) Biological Psychology 10th Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Primo search Matlin, M.W. (2009) Cognitive Psychology 7th Hoboken: NJ: John Wiley Primo search Passer, M. Smith, R., Holt, N., Bremmer, A., Sutherland, E., & Vliek, M. (2009) Psychology the Science of Mind and Behaviour. McGraw Hill, London Primo search Pinel, J.P.J (2007) Basics of Biopsychology Boston, MA: Perason International Education Primo search Solso, R,L, Maclin, M.K, and MacLin O.H. (2007) Cognitive Psychology 8th Boston, MA: Pearson International Education Primo search Wickens, A. (2009) Foundations of Biopsychology 3rd London: Pearson, Prentice Hall Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4