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University of Warwick

Department of Psychology 2019/20

Module Code:


Module Name:


Module Credits (CATS):


Module Convener

Adriano Lameira & Melina Kunar

Module Teachers

Thomas Hills

Module Aims

The module aims to extend the basic psychobiological knowledge acquired in the first year to more complex issues of nervous system functioning and nervous system/endocrine system interactions in order to enable students to appreciate how a psychobiological perspective might help us to understand human behaviour. Particular emphasis will be placed on providing an insight into the complexities of psychobiological research, its recent advances, as well as its limits. A further aim is to encourage students to address and discuss challenging, up-to-date topics in psychobiology by requiring assessed group work instead of individual work, thereby encouraging students to develop their team-player capabilities and communication skills

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles underlying:

  • the functional architecture of the brain at the macro- and microscopic level
  • the mechanisms of signal processing in the brain and their relevance for understanding complex behaviour
  • the psychobiological underpinnings of genetics and neurochemistry
  • the psychobiological underpinnings of sex differences and laterality
  • the psychobiology of learning and memory
  • the psychobiology of homeostatic processes
  • the psychobiology of bodily rhythms
  • the principles of evolution and the evidence supporting it

Assessed by:

A) Online Multiple Choice Multi-Answer (MCMA) online test in week 3, covering the contents of weeks 1 and 2

B) Two-hour in-class MCMA test in week 10, covering the contents of weeks 3-9.

Module Work Load

Module Length

12 weeks


10 x 3 hours/week in 2 sessions (1x2h, 1x1h),


2 x 2 hours in term 3 (feedback sessions)


Attendance at lectures is compulsory

Module Assessment

Assessed work: Online Multiple Choice Multi-Answer


Two-hour exam


Module Reading List

General Textbooks:

  • Purves, D., et al. (2012). Neuroscience. Sinauer (978-0878939671)
  • Carlson, N.R. (2013). Physiology of Behavior. Pearson (978-1292023205)
  • Breedlove, S.M., & Watson, N.V. (2013). Biological Psychology: An Introduction to Behavioral, Cognitive, and Clinical Neuroscience. Sinauer (978-0-87893-927-5)

(note: these books all largely cover the same material, they differ mainly in the level of detail they provide for one or the other topic; ideally, you should use all three of them, however, most of you will not want to buy them all, nor should you have to: they are all available in the library, and in addition, it might be a good idea to organize your own study groups were different people buy different books – you can sell them on to next year’s students later.)

Core Text:

LeVay, S. (1994).The Sexual Brain. MIT Press

(note: this is not a textbook, but a short monograph that provides the foundation material for the 'core lectures' of this module; although it’s no longer in print, it is available as e-book via the library, or of course via second-hand book shops.)

Online Reading Links:

Further links to supporting texts, videos, and animations are available via the module’s Moodle page. Suggestions for further reading – reviews and original research articles that provide in-depth information about topics covered in the lectures, about topics only mentioned in passing, and about issues not mentioned in the lectures but related to the general area – can be found in the “Treasure Trove”, accessible via the module’s Moodle page. Where appropriate, further texts will be introduced in the lectures.