Module Catalogue 2023/24

PSY1006 : Instinct, Learning and Motivation (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Caroline Allen
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To provide an understanding of the fundamental concepts of instinct, learning and motivation.

Original Summary:
Behaviour is a product of influences from the individual’s genotype and from its environment; nature and nurture. These two influences interact in complex ways to influence behaviour throughout the individual’s lifetime. The causal path from gene to behaviour is complex but we are beginning to unravel some of this complexity. Simple learning occurs by classical and instrumental conditioning, but birds and mammals are also capable of learning that may require more complex cognitive capabilities. General laws of learning are constrained by evolutionary influences on the learning process. Motivation is concerned with the immediate causes of behaviour, both internal to the organism and from the environment.

Outline Of Syllabus

The concept of instinct.
How genes influence behaviour.
Principles of behavioural development
Non-associative learning.
Classical Conditioning
Instrumental Conditioning
Predispositions and constraints on learning.
Applications of learning principles in psychological treatments.

Principles of motivation and approaches to motivation:
Some motivational systems: drinking; aggression; romantic love.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of this module the student will be able to:

- Broadly describe findings in the study of behavioural development
- Discuss the concepts underlying different forms of learning (associative vs non-associative), motivation and
- Identify and understand issues with the use of terms such as ‘instinct’ and ‘nurture’ as scientific concepts
- Select appropriate study designs to answer questions relating to behaviour and behavioural development

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of this module the student will be able to:

- Apply theoretical concepts to novel situations and data sets
- Conduct computer based experimental simulations with clear predictions, and interpret the data from these in
light of theory
- Develop the ability to take responsibility for one’s own intellectual development
- Develop time management skills and the ability to schedule workloads effectively

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00This specifically relates to the coursework
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Present in person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study175:0075:00This is preparation for the exam: set reading, lecture note taking and practice exam questions
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures are used as the principle and most effective mode of imparting the core knowledge of the module.

Some lecture materials will be interactive, providing an opportunity for testing of knowledge and problem-solving. For example, practice exam questions (with model answers) will be given alongside lecture materials as a form of formative practice. This will provide students with the opportunity to test their own knowledge as the course progresses. This will be in addition to a mock exam which students will be given at the end of the course for their own revision purposes (again with model answers).

The private study is essential for in-depth review of knowledge imparted through lectures, and requires students to use library and other information sources effectively; to work independently; to take responsibility for their own learning and intellectual development; and to practice time-management skills and effective scheduling of work-loads.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination902A80Multiple choice questions (90), unseen, PIP Inspera invigilated
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Computer assessment2M20Computer simulation assignment of learning phenomenon- 7 MCQs and 2 short written question (approximately 200 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Computer Assessment 1 - Comment:
Computer simulation assignment of learning phenomenon-
Students design and run a conditioning experiment using open access software. Based on this they then submit their simulated data and then answer some MCQ’s and complete 2 short written questions (less than 200 words).

The assignment provides students with knowledge and understanding of the nature of learning processes, and of the formulation and testing of hypotheses. It also provides the opportunity to practice the following skills: problem solving; computer literacy; understanding and applying theoretical concepts; and time-management and the ability to schedule work-loads effectively. The assignment assesses the above aspects of knowledge and understanding, as well as the skills of problem solving and of understanding and applying theoretical concepts.

Rationale and Relationship of assessment methods to learning outcomes -
The examination is used to assess knowledge, independent learning and understanding of material relevant to the module.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.