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Biological

Influences on Behaviour

Course information
2007-8
Biological Influences on Behaviour

Lecturers/Tutors - Dr. Mervyn Gifford (L248), Mr David Main (L238). Professor Stuart
Brody.

Check NOTICEBOARD for place and time of lectures and seminars as these are
sometimes required to be changed to accommodate numbers.

ASSESMENT: Coursework has a weighting of 40% and the end of year exam has a
weighting of 60%. Coursework consists of one essay All coursework must be
accompanied by a signed copy of the pro forma relating to plagiarism. If there is no pro
forma, the coursework will not be marked.

READING: There is a variety of books and journals on biological psychology available


in the library. At third level, you are expected to follow up on topics in journals and not
just rely on the reading lists provided.

ATTENDANCE: Attendance at lectures AND seminars is vital. Check your handbook


for the rules regarding attendance.

Finally, if you have any problems with the course at all, please speak to any of the
lecturers or tutors.

General Reading List

The following books should be useful for this course. They are not all the books on the
subject we will cover and I will expect you to find more if you can. However, a good
knowledge of the recommended books should get you through! All should be available
on either Short Loan or Standard Loan.

Kalat, J.T., (2004) Biological Psychology, 8th Edition. Brooks /Cole.


Julien, R.M. (2004). A Primer of Drug Action. 10th edition. W.H. Freeman and Company. San
Fransisco
LeVay, S. (2002). Human Sexuality. Sinauer Associates Inc.

Journals:
Cognitive Brain Research
Cognitive Neuropsychology
Neuropsychology
Brain: A journal of Neurology
Behavioural and Brain Sciences
Journal of Neuroscience
Physiology and Behaviour

http://www.bmj.com
http://www.nature.com

Biological Influences on Behaviour


Topics Covered

• INTRODUCTION TO BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY


•. NERVE CELLS AND NERVE IMPULSES
• ANATOMY OF THE BRAIN AND NERVOUS SYSTEM
• LATERALISATION AND HEMISPHERE FUNCTION
•THE BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF LANGUAGE
• PHYSIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF STRESS
• PHYSIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR
• BRAIN DAMAGE
• BIOLOGICAL THEORIES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA

There will be a revision session at the end of this module. We would like to remind you
however, that this session only acts as a guide and as a rule, students are expected to
know the whole syllabus in preparation for the examination. Question spotting is
undertaken at the students’ own risk.

Biological Influences on Behaviour 2007

Seminar Topics
Seminar 1: Brain cells: structure and function
Seminar 2: Action Potential Self-Assessment exercise.
Seminar 3: Independent Reading.
Seminar 4: Biology of stress
Seminar 5: Brain Damage
Seminar timetable
WEEK LECTURES SEMINARS
1 1+2
2 3+4
3 5+6
4 7+8 Seminar 1
5 9+10
6 11+12 Seminar 2
7 13+14
8 15+16 Seminar 3.
9 17+18
10 19+20 Seminar 4
11 21+22
12 23+24 Seminar 5
BIOLOGICAL INFLUENCES ON BEHAVIOUR
SEMINAR 1

BRAIN CELLS – STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION


:
Learning Outcomes:

1. To encourage thought on why it is necessary to study biological concepts within a


psychological degree programme.
2. To gain knowledge of the structure and function of cells within the human nervous
system.

It is suggested that you work in groups of two or three to answer the following questions.
You may consult your class notes or textbooks. Nominate a member of your group to
provide some answers at the end of the seminar.

Questions:
1. Why should we study biological psychology and what advantages can the study of
it bring to our general understanding of psychology?

2. You were given the examples in class of schizophrenia and heart disease as two
illnesses than can be understood best by taking account of biological, psychological and
sociological factors. Can you think of any others?

3. Make a list of five ways in which ALL cells in the human body are similar.

4. In what ways do neurons differ from other cells?