Module Catalogue 2018/19

PSY2007 : Biological Psychology: Sex, Drugs, Rhythms and Blues

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Tom Smulders
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

A basic understanding of the structure of the nervous system and of genetics is preferable. These can be acquired by extra reading.

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To give a general introduction to the role of physiological mechanisms in psychological phenomena, focussing especially (but not exclusively) on neurochemicals and hormones.

Original Summary:
All our behaviour has a biological basis. The body and the brain form a vast interconnected system, in which everything affects everything else: stress and drugs can affect sleep patterns; hormones affect behaviour; sleep affects hormones and stress levels, etc. In this module, you will learn the basic mechanisms that underlie sleep and biological rhythms, sex, drug abuse, the effects of many drugs (from coffee to cocaine) on our bodies, stress, emotion and depression. You will also find out how these factors interact with each other in our bodies, and as such influence the way we behave.

Outline Of Syllabus

Sex Hormones and their actions
Drug actions and Drug abuse
Sleep and Biological Rhythms
Stress and Mood Disorders

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

To understand the interaction between physiological mechanisms and psychological phenomena.
To be familiar with basic biological concepts in psychology (such as hormone action, neurotransmitter systems, biological rhythms, etc) and be able to apply them to human behaviour.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Cognitive skills: Integrate information from different topics; understand and apply theoretical concepts; understand relevant critical issues.
Key Skills: Work independently; take responsibility for one’s own learning and intellectual development.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
  • Self Management
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Written Other : Assessed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion31:003:00Practice questions on Blackboard
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study173:0073:00Revision and General reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This is a core module in biopsychology, aiming to familiarize the students with a body of factual knowledge, which is best brought across using large group lectures, which include clarification and discussion of the lecture material. Private study is essential for better integration and in-depth review of the lecture material.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination902A100unseen, 50% Multiple Choice Questions, 50% integrative and applied short-answer questions
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination will test factual knowledge, independent learning and understanding of the material relevant to the module, as well as the ability to apply the material to everyday problems and to integrate across the material covered. Multiple choice questions allow me to probe a large number of facts, while the short-answer questions allow me to assess the students’ in-depth understanding of mechanisms and their applications.

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.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 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 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.