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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PSYC3548 The Biopsychology of Human Energy Balance

15 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Professor James Stubbs

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of all pass for progression modules in Level 2 of: BSc Psychology or MPsyc, BSc Psychology with Education, BSc Advanced Psychology or BA Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Thought (and its International and Industrial variants)

Module replaces

PSYC3517 Approaches to Nutrition and Behaviour

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This course of lectures will cover recent evidence and current thinking around key research topics within the field of Human Energy Balance. Students will learn to integrate a number of different approaches e.g. biological, psychological, experimental, and clinical to key research areas in the field of energy balance such as; obesity, appetite control and energy balance, measurement of energy intake, expenditure and body composition, theories of energy balance regulation, nutritional status health and wellbeing, the contribution of physiology and behaviour to weight management, obesity treatment. Students will also develop an understanding of the physiological and behavioural mechanisms mediating relationships energy balance status, health and well-being and the application of energy balance concepts/methods to societal solutions.


This module aims to provide in depth coverage of empirical, methodological conceptual and theoretical issues relating to The Biopsychology of Human Energy Balance. The module will be taught by experts in the subject.

Students will develop their knowledge in this area, with particular emphasis on relevant research.

Learning outcomes
Students will develop a detailed understanding of key empirical, methodological, conceptual, psychological and theoretical issues relating to the study of key relationships between physiology and behaviour determining human energy balance.

On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Draw on and evaluate a wide range of psychological theory, methodologies and research in relation to Human energy Balance
2. Critically evaluate empirical research examining key Physiology & Behaviour relationships
3. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the methodological and conceptual issues encountered when studying the biopsychology of human energy balance.
4. Demonstrate thorough understanding through critical evaluation of the complexity of multiple influences on energy intake, expenditure body composition and nutritional status
5. Evaluate and relate research findings and concepts to applied situations

Skills outcomes
This module supports the development of:
- analytical thinking
- information retrieval, synthesis and evaluation
- evidence-based reasoning
- time management
- critical discussion
- written communication skills


The course will examine The Biopsychology of Human Energy Balance’ through consideration of the following topics:

1. Overview and introduction to human energy balance
2. Food and energy intake – laboratory and field based approaches
3. Energy expenditure and storage
4. Over and undernutrition
5. Energy balance regulation: theoretical models and real-world implications
6. Physiological and behavioural mechanisms of energy balance regulation
7. Cross talk between energy expenditure and energy intake
8. Diet composition, energy balance and obesity
9. Behaviour change interventions to prevent body weight gain and regain.
10. Application of energy balance to societal solutions

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Drop-in Session11.001.00
Class tests, exams and assessment21.002.00
Independent online learning hours7.50
Private study hours120.00
Total Contact hours22.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students will have 120 private study hours. It is estimated that this time will be spent as follows:

11 lectures x 3.5 hours reading = 38.5 hours
Mid-term assignment planning and research = 12 hours
Independent literature searches, reading and use of VLE discussion room = 22 hours
Revision and practice exam questions = 40 hours
Tutorial preparation = 6 hours
Practice MCQs 6 x 15 mins = 1.5 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Practice MCQs (and later the answers) are provided on a weekly basis on the content of lectures 1-6 which allow students to monitor their own learning of this lecture material. These link to the actual MCQs (summative assessment)

Formative feedback is provided through the use of three worksheets (homework on lectures 2-4), three tutorials and the MCQ feedback and feedback on the coursework essay. Worksheet answers are discussed within lecture time and correct answers to the problems set will be provided during feedback scaffolding the learning experience toward the final essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation2,000 words80.00
In-course MCQ.20.00
In-course MCQ6 x 15m formative practice MCQs0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

In-course MCQ (20%) will be given during the course in week 7. 6 x 15m formative practice MCQs will be given in the prior lectures leading up to the MCQ exam. Compensation is available between the two assessed components.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/11/2021 15:00:13


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