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PHSL231 Neurophysiology

The mechanisms by which the nervous system integrates sensory information from the environment and co-ordinates the body’s responses at whole organism, cellular and molecular levels.

PHSL 231 will build on and extend knowledge of excitable tissues introduced in HUBS 191, with introduction of some new topics, such as the special senses.

Paper title Neurophysiology
Paper code PHSL231
Subject Physiology
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,159.70

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HUBS 191 and three of BIOC 192, (BIOL 112 or HUBS 192), CELS 191, CHEM 191, PHSI 191
PHSL 251, PHCY 251, PHTY 251, MELS 251
Schedule C
Essential for Physiology, Functional Human Biology and Neuroscience majors
Teaching staff

Course Convener: Dr Phil Heyward
Lecturers: Professor Ruth Empson
Dr Karl Iremonger
Dr Phil Heyward
Associate Professor Phil Sheard
Associate Professor Alex Tups

Paper Structure
The lecture blocks will focus on:
  • Cellular neurophysiology
  • Cellular communication
  • Neurophysiology of the musculoskeletal system
  • Systems neurophysiology
  • Special senses
  • Neuroendocrinology
Six laboratories will give you skills in a range of techniques:
  • Introduction to physiological recording
  • Nerve action potential and conduction
  • Skeletal muscle contraction
  • Introduction to physiological recording using the finger pulse transducer, electroencephalogram (EEG) and the visual evoked potential (VEP)
  • Vision
  • Taste, smell, hearing and vestibular function
  • Internal assessment (30%) comprises two evening progress tests, each worth 15%
  • Final examination comprises 70% of the final grade
Teaching Arrangements
You will attend 2 or 3 lectures each week and a laboratory session on alternate weeks; please check your timetable as the 'week' of your lab may change after the Easter break.

The primary textbook for this paper is 'Berne & Levy Physiology', 7th edn, 2018, eds. Koeppen & Stanton.

Course outline
See PHSL231 blackboard site.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Acquired extensive knowledge of the physiology of the central and peripheral nervous systems
  • Mastered recording, measurement, and analysis of various human physiological parameters
  • Developed an understanding of ethics in physiology

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 09:00-09:50 9-13, 19-22
Tuesday 09:00-09:50 9-12, 18-22
Thursday 09:00-09:50 9, 11, 18, 20, 22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-16:50 9, 11, 13, 19, 21
A2 Thursday 14:00-16:50 9, 11, 19, 21
A3 Friday 14:00-16:50 9, 11, 19, 21
A4 Thursday 14:00-16:50 10, 12, 20, 22
A5 Monday 14:00-16:50 10, 12, 20, 22