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Brain and Behaviour

University of Warwick

Department of Psychology 2020/21

Module Code:

PS111

Module Name:

Brain and Behaviour

Module Credits (CATS):

24 CATS Psychology

30 CATS Philosophy with Psychology

30 CATS Psychology & GSD

Module Convenor

Friederike Schlaghecken

Module Teachers

Friederike Schlaghecken, James Tresilian, Anu Realo, Michaela Gummerum

Module Aims

This module will introduce the biological and methodological basis of current approaches to sensing, responding, emotion, language, learning, memory, and psychological disorders. Taken together, PS111 (Brain and Behaviour) and PS112 (Psychology in Context) will provide a general introduction to Psychology designed to support work in the second and third years of the Psychology Honours Degree.



Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • to understand the parts played by cognitive and biological psychology in psychology as a whole

  • to have a critical understanding of research and theory dealing with basic processes of perception, action, attention, emotion, language, learning, memory, and psychological disorders

  • to have a critical appreciation of psychology as a science

  • to have a basic understanding of the structure and function of the main components of the nervous system;

Assessed by:

Online tests & exam

Module Work Load

Module Length

24 weeks

Lectures

Terms 1 & 2: 20 x 3 lecture hours per week; Term 3: 4 x 2 hours per week

Seminars

Attendance

Attendance at lectures is compulsory

Module Assessment

Assessed work:

Online Tests

4 tests of 8% each (24 CAT)

4 tests of 5% (30 CAT)

32% (24 CAT)

20% (30 CAT)

Assessed work: Additional written assignment (for 30 CAT student only)

20%

Exam:

24 CATS

20 CATS

68%

60%

Module Programme

Section 1: Biological basis of behaviour Dr Friederike Schlaghecken

Aims

This section presents a basic introduction to the structure and function of nervous system, and seeks to demonstrate how contemporary study of mind and behaviour is informed by our understanding of neurobiology.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this section, students should be able to:

  • give an overview of the anatomical organisation of the nervous system;

  • give an overview of the electro-chemical activity of the neuron;

  • describe in general terms how neurochemical processes provide the basis of nervous system function;

  • describe in general terms the brain as a continually adapting system;

  • give a basic account of brain development;

  • give a basic account of the psychobiological mechanisms of learning and memory;

  • give a basic account of the psychobiological mechanisms of rehabilitation and their limits;

  • apply a biologically informed perspective on further study of psychology.

Section 2. Perception, action & learning Lecturer: Prof James Tresilian

Aims

The purpose of this section is to provide an understanding of how organisms detect and respond to stimulation, how their responses are changed by experience and the neural processes and circuits that underly these capacities.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this section, students should:

  • understand how stimulation is detected and used to evoke responses;

  • describe the basic characteristics of stimulus-elicited behaviours and their neural mechanisms;

  • understand the distinction between reflex and voluntary action;

  • describe how stimulus-elicited behaviours are altered by experience;

  • understand the neural basis of reflexes and their habituation;

  • have a good understanding of Pavlovian learning and how it is implemented in the brain;

  • have an appreciation for the role of Pavlovian learning in everyday life

Section 3. Neuropsychology of learning, memory, language & emotion Lecturer: Prof James Tresilian

Aims

The purpose of this section is to introduce our developing understanding of how learning, memory, language, emotion and goal-directed action are rooted in the structure and function of the brain.



Learning Outcomes

At the end of the section students should:

  • Understand how memory can be lost and learning can be undone

  • have a good understanding of instrumental learning and the distinction between habits and goal-guided actions;

  • be familiar with the neural basis of memory;

  • be able to describe the classical theories of emotion and of the emotional brain

  • understand Pavlovian threat conditioning and what it tells us about the neural basis of emotion

  • have a good understanding of functional specialisation in the brain;

  • be familiar with the cortical areas associated with language and how these relate to language disorders such as aphasia;



Section 4. Psychopathology Professor Anu Realo

Aims

The purpose of this section is to introduce contemporary psychological and biological approaches to mental illness and to place these in a historical context

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this section, students should:

  • become familiar with the diversity of current approaches to mental illness and trace their historical roots;

  • have a good grasp of the types of symptoms seen in anxiety, depressive and psychotic conditions;

  • have a basic understanding of the biological dysfunction underlying these conditions;

  • have a basic knowledge of the main treatment approaches used for these conditions



Module Reading List

Set Text/Illustrative Reading

Bear, M. F., Connors, B. W., and Paradiso, M. A. (2016). Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Tresilian, J.R. (2012) Sensorimotor Control and Learning: An Introduction to the Behavioral Neuroscience of Action. Palgrave Macmillan (particularly relevant to sections 2 & 3, weeks 6-9 and weeks 11-12).

Kring, A.M., Johnson, S.L., Davison, G.C., & Neale, J.M. (2017). Abnormal Psychology (13th Ed). New York: Wiley.

Course Extracts: https://clas.warwick.ac.uk/Extracts/Index/PS111

(For psychology undergraduates, it is recommended to acquire at least the Bear et al and the Kring et al textbooks.)

Additional reading suggestions will be given in the lectures. All relevant reading will be made available in the Student Reserve Collection in the library.