SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3C825424
Module Leader Mairi Fleming
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally successful completion of Introduction to Biological, Cognitive and Developmental Psychology (or equivalent)

Summary of Content

This module explores the strengths and limitations of the different approaches that have been proposed to determine human behaviour and experience. For example, examining the debate as to the relative strengths and weaknesses of biological models across a wide range of complex behaviours and experiences. By considering the interaction between biological, developmental and psychosocial influences, we will begin to develop a more holistic understanding of what determines human behaviour and experience.


Content will relate to: nervous system structure; perceptual processing; biological and psychosocial approaches to pain and aggression; psychology of sleep and wellbeing; the nature vs. nurture dichotomy; applied evolutionary psychology; biological sex and psychological gender; the psychology of emotion; cognitive neuroscience; the role of the environment on behaviour and experience; sexual selection and sexual behaviour; comparative psychology.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the module, the student should be able to:1. Explain the mechanisms in the control of both physiological responses and behaviour (assessed by exam).2. Interpret and critically evaluate biological arguments relating to the study of human behaviour (assessed by coursework and exam).3. Critically evaluate the role of psychosocial factors in mediating biologically-based behaviour (assessed by coursework and exam).4. Design methodology; collect, analyse and interpret data for a research project (assessed by coursework).5. Critique the relative strengths and weaknesses of a variety of research methods (assessed by coursework and exam).6. Determine the most appropriate method and conceptual framework for testing a psychological research question (assessed by coursework).

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will follow a blended approach. The majority of teaching and learning activities will be delivered face-to-face in whole-cohort lectures and small group practical labs. Additionally, the module will make use of its virtual learning environment to facilitate directed and independent learning activities. The module will involve formative assessment, peer-to-peer review / feedback and structured reflection on teaching, learning and assessment. The portfolio assessment will be constructed and submitted electronically, whereas the two-hour unseen examination will take place under traditional examination conditions.

Indicative Reading

Carlson, N. (2004). Physiology and Behaviour (8th Edition). Pearson: Boston. Field, A. & Hole, G. (2003). How to design and report experiments. Sage: London. Kalat, J. (2004). Biological Psychology, Wadsworth, Belmont: CA. Pinel, J. (2003). Biopsychology (5th Edition). Pearson: Boston. Toates, F. (2011). Biological Psychology (3rd ed.). Harlow/New York: Prentice Hall/Pearson. Additional directed reading (i.e., peer-reviewed journal articles) will be provided throughout the module.

Transferrable Skills

-360 1. Improving Own Learning 2. Written Communication 3. Numeracy Skills 4. Information Technology Skills 5. Data Analysis Skills 6. Ethics in research, data management and communication 7. Critical Thinking 8. Working With Others

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 22.00
Independent Learning (FT) 94.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Seminars (FT) 22.00
Practicals (FT) 22.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 40.00 35% 2 Hour Formal Examination
Coursework 1 n/a 60.00 35% Portfolio (3000 words)