Advanced Biological Psychology

Course code PSYC3400Units 10Level 3000Faculty of Science and Information TechnologySchool of Psychology

Forms part of an Australian Psychology Accreditation Council's accredited sequence.

Deals with advanced topics in behavioural neuroscience and psychobiology.

This course elaborates on the basic biological systems covered in PSYC2400. We look at the early genetic and environmental influences on the developing embryo and how the neural and immune systems interact. We then look at changes in neural activity with aging and finally we cover how drugs interact with the body and the brain.

Lecture material will be complemented by a tutorial program which includes laboratory experience with neuroscience research techniques.

Not available in 2015

Previously offered in 2014
ObjectivesThe nervous system changes as it matures. The extent that the system changes is determined by the degree of neural plasticity. Plasticity refers to the ability of the brain to shape or mold itself by expansion or contraction of neuronal processes due to injury, electrical activity or chemical stimulation. The aim of this course is to expose the student to the phenomenon of neural plasticity and to discuss some of the topical issues.

The main objectives of this course are to enable students:
1. to develop an understanding of the process of embryonic neural development.
2. to be able to detail the major intrauterine and extrauterine influences on neural development
3. to develop an understanding of the process of neural plasticity and the relevance to development, aging, recovery post trauma, and mental illness.
4. to develop an understanding of the ways in which drugs interact with our neural systems.
ContentPSY3400 deals with advanced issues in neuroscience and psychobiology.
A central tenet of developmental psychobiology is that experiences in early life have effects lasting into adulthood. These effects can lead to altered responses to stress,
increased or decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and the shaping of emotional states.
Many of these changes are a result of plasticity in the central nervous system. The extent that the system changes is determined by the degree of neural plasticity.
By plasticity we refer to the ability of the brain to shape or mould itself by expansion or contraction of neuronal processes. The nervous system of a young animal is typically more plastic than that of an older animal and the course of neural development can be altered by changes in the internal chemical environment or by externally imposed changes.
This course focuses on the elaboration of material indicating that genetic and environmental factors early in life can render the developing fetus more or less vulnerable to developmental teratogens during pregnancy, and that the perinatal environment is a critical determinant of developmental compromise.

Related Courses
PSYC3300, PSYC3301, PSYC3501
Replacing Course(s)PSYC3040
TransitionStudents who have completed PSYC3040 will not be required to complete PSYC3400.
PSYC3400 is not to count with PSYC3040.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeStudents considering enrolling in this 3000 level course should have successfully completed all the first year units and at least half the second year units of the degree program in which they are enrolled, including STAT2000, in order to have sufficient requisite knowledge, understanding and generic skills.
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Essays / Written Assignments1 major Essay or Lab report. Small lab class assignments will also be used.
Examination: FormalFinal exam will cover all material presented in lectures labs and assigned readings
Contact HoursLecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Laboratory: for 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 weeks