BNS3021 - Neurochemistry and behaviour - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Psychological Sciences


Dr Russell Conduit

Not offered in 2017


This unit examines how the chemistry of the nervous system influences behaviour, building on prior knowledge of nervous system function. It addresses the nature of neuronal communication and how neurotransmitters interact with receptors to send signals to other brain cells. Emphasis will be placed on the regulation of homeostasis and behaviour by neurochemicals and hormones. The role of glial cells in controlling key metabolic pathways in the brain will also be reviewed. Lastly, this unit will examine how synaptic plasticity and biochemical changes underpin memory formation.


Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Explain the methods used by the nervous system to exchange information by releasing neurotransmitters and the interaction of these neurochemicals with specific receptors;
  2. Describe how the nervous system regulates the homeostasis of the body and behaviour via neural connections and the release of neurochemicals and hormones from the brain and other organs;
  3. Recognise the role that glial cells have in controlling the biochemical balance of the nervous system and how they protect neurones from stressors and pathogens;
  4. Identify and describe how synaptic function and plasticity are altered through physiological and environmental influences, and how synaptic plasticity and biochemical changes promote memory formation;
  5. Discuss key features of experimental design and methodology that are used in the study of behavioural neuroscience;
  6. Demonstrate skills in the use of data analysis software to accurately analyse and report experimental data.
  7. Demonstrate careful observation and documentation in experimental work;
  8. Evaluate the importance of scientific findings and interpret and discuss these findings in written presentations.


  • Mid-semester examination (2 hours) (30%)
  • End-semester examination (2 hours) (30%)
  • Practical reports (3 reports of 1,000 words) (30%)
  • Blackboard quiz on research design and ethics (10%)

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures, 2 hours practical or equivalent, 7 additional hours per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


BNS3031, BNS3041, PSY3280.