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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PSYC1624 Biological Approaches to Human and Animal Behaviour

20 creditsClass Size: 270

Module manager: Dr Richard Harris

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

BSc Psychology or MPsyc, BSc Advanced Psychology or BA Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Thought, or BSs Psychology with Education programme entry requirements.

This module is mutually exclusive with

PSYC1625Biological Approaches to Psychology

Module replaces

PSYC1605 Biological PsychologyPSYC1617 Exploring Animal Behaviour

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Brain functioning underlies human and animal behaviour, and so is critical to our understanding of psychological phenomena. This module will outline the biological basis of human and non-human animal behaviour. This will be applied to different psychology topics, such as intelligence, reproductive behaviour, and psychological disorders. Complementary research perspectives, such as neuroscience, neuropsychology, evolutionary and comparative approaches will be discussed. In particular, this module will pay close attention to the ethical and historical aspects of Biological Psychology.


This module will introduce students to biological psychology theory, its application to real world questions, and relevant evolutionary, ethical, conceptual, and historical perspectives. This module draws upon complementary evidence from both human and animal research.

Learning outcomes
Students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the biological bases of behaviour of humans
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between human and non-human animal behaviour
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of learning in behaviour
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the evolutionary, ethical, conceptual, cultural, and historical aspects of biological psychology
5. Evaluate the research methods used in biological psychology
6. Develop communication skills through group and independent work


1. The fundamentals of Biological Psychology
2. Biological influences on intelligence
3. Psychological disorders
4. Reproductive behaviour

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group learning91.5013.50
Independent online learning hours13.60
Private study hours171.90
Total Contact hours14.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Independent online learning – online pre-recorded lectures in max. 20 min segments. Approx 11 per topic.
Private study:
Essay: 42 hours
Group assignment: = 35 hours x 2 = 70 hours
Independent reading: 17.9 hours
Reflective log: 42 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will have the opportunity to submit a reflective piece of work in order to help students to prepare for the essay. This will ask about their approach to the essay, and their understanding of the topic. This formative piece will help them prepare for the final assessed reflective workbook, and to prepare for the essay. Students will also be provided with feedback in the group-based teaching sessions. Group-based teaching sessions will be an opportunity for students to work on their group assignments and so staff members can provide formative feedback during these sessions. Students will also work on tasks during the group teaching sessions, staff will be able to provide students with feedback during these sessions which will help students to clarify their understanding of the module content. This will be helpful for the completion of their group assignments, essay coursework, and workbooks.
The final group learning session will be targeted at helping students develop the necessary reflection skills for the Reflective Log assessment. In this session, students will be provided with the opportunity to practice their reflective skills and will be provided with feedback from their peers and from the teaching team.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation1,500 word30.00
Group ProjectThere are two group tasks. Students have autonomy to choose format e.g. blog, podcast, poster etc.20.00
Reflective logReflection on module30.00
Group ProjectThere are two group tasks. Students have autonomy to choose format e.g. blog, podcast, poster etc.20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

All assessment components must be completed to a passable standard. However, each component can be resat individually without resitting the whole module. Each component contributes independently to the module mark, such that failure in one component will not mean that the whole module mark is capped at 40 upon resit.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/04/2023


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