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

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Tom Smulders
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To give a general introduction to the role of physiological mechanisms in psychological phenomena, focusing 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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion31:003:00Practice questions on Canvas
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials211:0021:00Non-synchronous online
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities31:003:00Canvas based learning activities
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery221:0022:00Present in person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study148:0048:00Revision and General reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Synchronous online: introductory session
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

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

If the public health situation requires a pivot to remote learning, then teaching will be delivered remotely.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination902A100Unseen MCQs (45), 3 seen integrative and applied short answer questions (max 400 words per question) - present in person
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination will test 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. The short answer questions allow me to assess the students’ in-depth understanding of mechanisms and their applications.

If the public health situation requires a pivot to remote assessment, then examinations will be delivered remotely.

Reading Lists