Brain and Behaviour

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
26 September 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA C801 Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA C802 Psychology,
BA C807 Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BA C810 Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BSC C800 Psychology,
BSC C803 Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C811 Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BSC C812 Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C806 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C808 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience,
BSC C809 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Placement Year),
BSC C813 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Foundation Year),
MSCIC999 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience,
MSCICA98 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Placement Year),
MSCICA99 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C814 Psychology with Economics,
BSC C815 Psychology with Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C816 Psychology with Economics (Including Placement Year),
BSC C817 Psychology with Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BENGH169 Neural Engineering with Psychology,
BENGH170 Neural Engineering with Psychology (including Placement Year),
BENGH171 Neural Engineering with Psychology (including Year Abroad),
BENGH172 Neural Engineering with Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC H167 Neural Technology with Psychology,
BSC H168 Neural Technology with Psychology (including Year Abroad),
BSC H176 Neural Technology with Psychology (including Placement Year),
MSCIC998 Psychology with Advanced Research Methods,
MSCICB98 Psychology with Advanced Research Methods (Including Placement Year),
MSCICB99 Psychology with Advanced Research Methods (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C680 Sport and Exercise Psychology,
BSC C681 Sport and Exercise Psychology (including Year Abroad),
BSC C682 Sport and Exercise Psychology (including Placement Year)

Module description

This module addresses how the brain underlies behaviour from the cellular level via the systems level to cognitive and behavioural levels.

Main topics cover neuroanatomy, cell physiology, typical and atypical neuropsychology, psychopharmacology, sleep and various socio-cognitive processes (i.e. learning and memory, motor control, emotion).

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To provide an appreciation of the physiological mechanisms that underlie human behaviour.

  • To introduce the physiological mechanisms underlying behaviour.

  • To encourage students to consider the possibility that even our deepest thoughts and feelings arise from electrical and chemical activity in our brains.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Acquire an understanding of the key issues and concepts of biological psychology.

  2. Develop critical thinking skills in evaluating methodological approaches and theoretical accounts in biological psychology.

  3. Develop an understanding of the biological bases of behaviour and cognition.

  4. Develop an ability and an understanding of how to present acquired knowledge in an applied and educationally salient way.

Learning outcomes 1-4 will be assessed by three pieces of coursework, in the form of an oral presentation, and two related pieces of educational products: an information ‘flyer’ and a (more in-depth) written pamphlet.

Module information

The brain is an extremely complex organ, and many areas of interest to psychologists are as yet, beyond the reductionist approach adopted here. However, it is hoped that the module will at least establish the possibility that even our deepest thoughts and feelings arise from a combination of electrical and chemical interactions.

The lectures will introduce students to the broad approaches and methods used in biological psychology. As part of the module's assessment, students will develop an understanding of a wide range of psychological and neuroscientific theories, and the main methods of cognitive neuroscience.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Ten sessions lasting approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes each. Each session will integrate a lecture format with opportunities for self-testing and questions.

Lectures start on the hour. Please arrive promptly to avoid disrupting the class. There will be a short break halfway through the class. Please ask questions during class if there is anything that is unclear. Issues and points raised in the lecture can also be discussed in online discussion activities and student participation will be encouraged.

This module will be taught by blended learning. This will combine online material and face to face sessions where appropriate.

Seminars to support coursework will be provided.

A questions forum on Moodle is also provided, in order to facilitate questions that arise outside of lectures. Other extra material is also shared on Moodle in order to encourage an open mind to learning beyond the classroom and a willingness to engage in independent learning.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Information Flyer    20.0% 
Coursework   Written Pamphlet    70.0% 
Practical   Oral Presentation     10.0% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Helge Gillmeister, email:
Dr Steffan Kennett, Dr Elia Valentini, Dr Megan Klabunde and Dr Gethin Hughes



External examiner

Dr John Patrick Rae
Roehampton University
Reader in Psychology
Prof Joanne Hudson
Swansea University
Available via Moodle
Of 6 hours, 6 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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