PSY2061 - Biological psychology - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 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

Chief examiner(s)

Prof Julie Stout


Jake Hoskin (Australia)
Associate Professor Alexandre Schaefer (Malaysia)

Unit guides




  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)


PSY1011 and PSY1022.




This unit explores how human behaviour, both simple and complex, is underpinned by physiological and neural processes. Students will be introduced to the basic principles of neuroscience, including neuron structure and function, neurotransmission, and functional neuroanatomy. These will be examined within the broader framework of functional systems (e.g. sensation, perception, and memory), and will be used to facilitate an understanding of the neurobiological basis of psychological function and dysfunction. The integration of a quantitative methods module into this unit will provide students with an understanding of, and practical experience with, the application of statistical analysis techniques used to address research questions in Biological Psychology.


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

  1. Explain the structure and function of the brain and nervous system.
  2. Examine and determine how the range of human thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are underpinned by physiological and neural processes.
  3. Evaluate and contrast the range of research methods used to investigate brain behaviour relationships.
  4. Apply their knowledge of the biological basis of behaviour through in-depth study of specific topic areas, such as memory, attention and action control.
  5. Apply quantitative methods to evaluate research hypotheses in Biological Psychology.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

  • Examination (2 hours) (45%)
  • Lab report (2,000 words) (25%)
  • 3 x Data analysis exercises (30 minutes each) (Secure online delivery) (30%)

Workload requirements

One 2 hour lecture each week, three 2 hour seminars (weeks 1, 3 and 5), and one 2 hour laboratory bi-weekly. Attendance at labs, tutorials or weekend schools is required in order to successfully complete in-class activities and related assessment tasks.

See also Unit timetable information

Off-campus attendance requirements

One 2 hour lecture each week (available via MULO), and participation in (live) online lab classes: one 2 hour class bi-weekly.

Online lab classes are live (i.e., real-time), web-based classes run by teaching staff that replace traditional lab classes and tutorials. These interactive classes provide students with an opportunity to apply and explore concepts in an active, engaging manner, whilst at the same time developing practical skills in effective communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Participation in online lab classes is required in order to complete associated assessments. It is common practice, where possible, to schedule at least two participation options for off-campus students in each core unit of psychology.

For each week during the semester, students will be expected to complete the equivalent of 2 hours preparation for each lecture, 2 hours preparation for each lab, 3 hours of lecture/lab attendance, and 58 hours of research work/independent study (total = 12 hours study).

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