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    Linking neuroscience and psychology: how the brain drives behaviour and how behaviour affects the brain.

    Biopsychology is the study of behaviour from a biological perspective. Consider: Why do we eat? Sleep? Get stressed? Have sex? These behaviours are driven by biological processes occurring in the nervous system, often in response to cues from the environment.

    In this class we will combine the disciplines of neuroscience and psychology to build an appreciation of why - biologically - we do some of the things we do.

    About this paper

    Paper title Biopsychology
    Subject Psychology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    PSYC 210 and PSYC 211 and PSYC 212
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Science
    For Neuroscience students the prerequisite is PSYC211.

    Not applicable


    Teaching staff

    Lecturer: Dr Owen Jones

    Paper Structure

    This paper presents a survey of the following topics:

    • History of biopsychology
    • Hunger and eating
    • Sleep
    • Sex and gender
    • Stress responses
    • Emotional responses
    • Learning and memory
    • Clinical case studies

    Each week's topic will be presented in lecture, and then, a short supplementary reading will be assigned. One week's reading may consist of a journal article while another week's reading may be a chapter from a popular science book. All readings will be accessible via Blackboard.

    Teaching Arrangements

    Three 1-hour lectures per week.

    Small in-class laboratory demonstrations, led by the lecturer, may occur within some of the lecture periods. There is not a separate laboratory/practical component for this paper.

    Lecture attendance is a critical component of this paper as the majority of test and exam questions draw from material presented in-class.


    Textbooks are not required for this paper.

    As a reference text, students may wish to use Introduction to Biopsychology (10th or 11th edition, International edition), by John P.J. Pinel. Copies of this text are available on-reserve at the Science Library.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will develop:

    • A foundational understanding of major topics in biopsychology
    • An appreciation of how nature and nurture both contribute towards behaviour
    • Recognition that there is a biological basis to normal and abnormal behavioural patterns


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 14:00-14:50 29-35, 37-42
    Wednesday 09:00-09:50 29-35, 37-42
    Thursday 16:00-16:50 29-35, 37-42
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