Module code: PSYM092

Module Overview

In recent years there is growing interest in the biological bases of psychological phenomena.  For a better understanding of psychological processes in healthy humans as well as in patients suffering from psychological or neurological disorders it is necessary to understand how the nervous system is built and how it works.  Basic architecture and fundamental functions of the nervous system will be taught and there is a strong aim to link these functions with psychologically relevant topics.


Module provider


Module Leader

VIOLANTE Ines (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 99

Lecture Hours: 22

Laboratory Hours: 4

Guided Learning: 14

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:


• What is Biological Psychology? What do we need it for?

• Ethical Considerations in Biological Psychology

• Gross Structure of the Brain & Brain Cells

• Neural Transmission

• Chemical Control of Brain & Behaviour

• Genetics & Evolution

• Sensory Systems

• Motor Control & Movement Disorders

• Neurodevelopment & Disorders

• Mental Health Disorders


Tutorials on Research Methods

  • Theoretical overview over different methodological approaches in biological psychology - lecture style; distribution of simple empirical articles using event-related potentials (ERPs), functional MRI or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as primary method - these articles are required reading for discussion in tutorial 2

  • Discussion in small groups - each group member has read an article in which one of three bio-psychological methods (ERP, fMRI, TMS) was used; each group member explains article to the rest of the small group

The method described in the essay needs to be a different one than the method presented in the small group discussion.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test ONLINE MCQ CLASS TEST (60 MINUTES) 20

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • One 60 minute MCQ test on Neuroscience research methods 

  • One 90 minute unseen exam with two parts. Part A: Answer to one out of four essay style question (75% of the exam mark) and Part B: 20 MCQs on lecture topics (25% of the exam mark) 

Formative assessment

  • Brief knowledge questions in lectures testing the understanding of core concepts.

  • Discussions of research articles testing the understanding of research methods during the tutorial


  • Verbal feedback in the lectures

  • Verbal feedback during tutorials on article group discussions by the lecturer and peers

  • Written Feedback on research methods essay

Module aims

  • Provide knowledge about the structural anatomy and function of the brain.  
  • Provide a critical understanding of the relationship between behaviour, cognition, motivations / emotions, and biology/neuroscience in a number of specific topics.
  • Increase the knowledge about important principles and methodology of neuroscience.
  • Apply the bio-psychological / neuroscience research methods knowledge by critically discussing research articles with in the neuroscience research methods such as fMRI, EEG, and TMS.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate knowledge about structure and function of the nervous system K
2 Critically reflect on neuroscientific theories and related evidence KCT
3 Demonstrate an understanding of basic neuroscientific methods used in modern biological psychology and an ability to critically assess application of these methods in published work KCPT
4 Demonstrate a basic capacity to structure and write a research-based critical evaluation of empirical work in biological psychology work PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Provide students with fundamental knowledge about biological psychology and the ability to critise the conclusions of the knowledge base.

  • Provide basic knowledge about structure and function of the nervous system.

  • Provide an understanding of the many ways in which bio-psychological research contributes to our human behaviour, cognition, and motivations / emotions.

  • Give students the skills to critically evaluate theories and evidence in biological psychology.

  • Develop the critical understanding of advantages and disadvantages of major research methods used in biological psychology.

  • Develop essay writing skills.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 11 x 2 hours lectures with multimedia presentations

  • 2 x 2 hours tutorials with small group discussions

All lecture and workshop notes, the reading lists, and additional learning materials are uploaded on SurreyLearn. There will be also SurreyLearn discussion board facilities for the MSc students which will help them to exchange learning experiences.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSYM092

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology (Conversion) MSc(CORE) 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.