SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3C824295
Module Leader Mairi Fleming
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally succesful completon of Introducton to Biological, Cognitve and Developmental Psychology or equivalent.

Summary of Content

This module explores the strengths and limitatons of biological arguments across a range of complex social behaviours. Firstly the importance and relevance of studying biological approaches to behaviour are explored. Subsequently, a range of topics such as sexual development, gender, pain, menstrual cycle, emoton, olfacton and digit rato are introduced in order to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the body's major communicaton systems (nervous and endocrine). Specifcally, students are shown how to engage with arguments involving interacton between biological and psychosocial infuences.


Content will be drawn from: nervous system structure and functon, neuronal transmission; structure, functon and control of the endocrine system; behavioural neuro-endocrinology; biological and psychosocial aspects of pain; morphological asymmetry and digit rato; biology of sleep; stress physiology; nature/nurture; menstrual cycle (methodology, neuro-endocrine control, arguments concerning premenstrual syndrome); applied evolutonary psychology; sex/gender; applicatons of sexual selecton theory; olfacton; biological aspects of emoton including developments in the cognitve neuroscience of the amygdala and pre-frontal cortex, and disorders of emotion.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module, students should be able to:1. Explain the body's major communication systems (nervous and endocrine) as mechanisms in the control of bothphysiological responses and behaviour (cw; exam).2. Interpret and critically evaluate biological arguments relating to the study of human behaviour (cw; exam).3. Critically evaluate the role of psychosocial factors in mediating biologically-based behaviour (cw; exam).4. Design methodology; collect, analyse and interpret data for a biologically-based research project (cw).5. Trace historical developments in theoretical and conceptual positions across a range of topics within the physiology ofbehaviour.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Core theoretcal material is delivered through a trimester-long formal lecture series. Running in parallel is a practcal lab-based programme, which afords students experience of engaging in biologically-based exploratons of complex social behaviours by means of experimentaton. This is supported by a seminar series which serves to not only consolidate and extend material introduced in the lecture series, but to provide a comprehensive scafolding process to the formatve peer assessment/feedback component of the module. This module will be delivered as online/blended learning.

Indicative Reading

Pinel, J. (2003). Biopsychology (5th Editon). Pearson, Boston. Carlson, N. (2004). Physiology and Behaviour (8th Editon). Pearson, Boston. Kalat, J. (2004). Biological Psychology, Wadsworth, Belmont, CA. Walker, A. (1997). The Menstrual Cycle. Routledge, New York. Manning, J. (2008). The Finger Book. Faber and Faber, London. Field, A. & Hole, G. (2003). How to design and report experiments. Sage, London. Ridley, M. (2003). Nature via Nurture. Harper Collins, NY.

Transferrable Skills

-Students will develop generic skills enabling critcal evaluaton of empirical evidence and methodologies in the context of this module. -Groupwork and problem solving developed during laboratory and seminar classes. -Literature reviews - retrieving informaton from academic databases and wider sources. -Students will develop skills in communicaton and critcal evaluaton. - Practcal skills developed during lab-based practcals.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 11.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Seminars (FT) 11.00
Independent Learning (FT) 136.00
Lectures (FT) 22.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% Two Hour Formal Examination
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% 3000 Word Lab Report