Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Behavioural Neuroscience
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Research proposal  2500 Words  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written Exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment Research proposal  2500 Words  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Written Exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research methods used in behavioural neuroscience and their corresponding ethical issues.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of components of the central and peripheral nervous systems, including neurons and synapses, neurotransmitters, specific brain regions and the spinal cord.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how specific brain regions and processes regulate typical functioning and be able to apply this to everyday life.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of what brain damage and dysfunction can tell us about typical behaviour in both human and non-human subjects, and apply this knowledge to specific cases.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how brain damage and dysfunction may be responsible for atypical functioning such as mood disorders, addiction and psychiatric conditions, and situate this knowledge in the wider context of biopsychosocial influences on mental health.

Critically discuss contemporary issues in behavioural neuroscience.

Critically evaluate the applications of behavioural neuroscience in enhancing human wellbeing and understanding.

Brief description

Psychology seeks to understand and explain human behaviour from various perspectives; the structure and function of the brain and associated nervous and endocrine systems is central to any examination of human psychology. Knowledge of brain structure and function is necessary to appreciate complex phenomena such as mental illness, drug addiction and movement. Reductionist biological approaches are complemented by different learning theories which examine how behaviours are acquired and maintained.
The module covers the organization and structure of the brain. The role of the brain in controlling aspects of behaviour such as movement, language, emotions and the association between learning and reward mechanisms are explored. Both normal functioning and abnormal functioning are considered and the biological and learning components of a range of physical and mental health disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and drug addiction are examined.
The aims of this module are to: Explore the relationship between nervous system function and behaviour and the factors controlling the acquisition and expression of behaviour. To help the student understand and appreciate the actual and potential applications of neuropsychology in array of settings.


Fundamental aspects of neuroscience (e.g. neurophysiology, neurotransmission, organisation of the nervous system, brain structures and their functions) Neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration Control of normal human function and behaviour (e.g. movement, appetite, emotion, communication) Psychophysiological processes (e.g. sensory systems, perception of pain, fear, stress) Neurological disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, autism) Psychiatric disorders (e.g. schizophrenia, depression)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will be expected to understand the key concepts of statistical analysis through the examination of research designs and research findings. Students will learn about how various physiological and genetic traits may vary across different populations and understand concepts such as heritability and prevalence. Students will be expected to summarise quantitative research findings in the literature in both their essay and exam.
Communication Students will demonstrate competence in both verbal and written communication and literacy. In seminars students will be expected to present their ideas verbally and to support these ideas with reasonable and logical arguments, either based on research evidence or on a reasonable interpretation of theory. They will be expected to demonstrate use of the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. In coursework and examination work, students will be expected to demonstrate the effective expression of ideas and similarly effective use of language in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
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 and examination topics.
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, Primo).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in the seminars will help to develop students’ verbal and presentation skills, and their ability to debate alternate viewpoints. In producing their essay and exam answers, and obtaining feedback on their work, students will have the opportunity to develop and mature their writing style. Choosing their own essay question will help prepare students for choosing a dissertation topic. The subject specific knowledge they obtain will be useful for any students intending to go into clinical, behavioural or biological fields (such as clinical psychology or postgraduate medicine). Learning about the psycho-physiology of the human brain and body will also help students to better understand and look after their own health and wellbeing.
Problem solving Problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; consider case studies; reason logically; apply theoretical models; examine evidence; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. Both the essay and will assess students’ ability to construct an argument, and to solve problems in the form of research questions using the literature and their knowledge.
Research skills The essay will rigorously assess students’ ability to utilize the literature in order to both formulate and answer a research question. The requirement to locate appropriate information resources and synthesise findings from the literature appropriately will demonstrate research and information literacy skills. The 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 behavioural neurophysiology. - Differentiation between animal and human models and identification of appropriate research methods. - Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches. - Appreciation of the complex interactions and diverse influences on human behaviour.
Team work Although not directly assessed, students will be encouraged to use the online discussion group and to organize study sessions in order to help and support one another in their studies.


This module is at CQFW Level 6