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Biological Bases of Behaviour

Course Code: PSYC 2315
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course will introduce the student both to the variety of biological approaches to understanding behaviour, and to the research techniques used. After an introduction to basic neuroanatomy and physiology and to the development and evolution of brain structure and function, various topics in biological psychology will be surveyed. These will include the communication and coding functions of nerve cells; the psychobiology of: development and aging, movement, learning and memory, and internal motivational emotional states; the biological approaches to mental illness; and the behavioural effects of drugs, hormones, and brain damage.

Course Content

  1. Issues and Principles of Biological Psychology.
  2. Development and Evolution of the Brain.
  3. Communication Function of Nerve Cells.
  4. Anatomy of the Nervous System and Methods of its Investigation.
  5. Coding Function of Nerve Cells: Sensory Systems.
  6. Movement.
  7. Sleep and Wakefulness.
  8. Regulation of Internal Motivational and Emotional States: Temperature, Thirst, Hunger, Sexual and Emotional Behaviour.
  9. Learning and Memory.
  10. Biological Approaches to Mental Illness.
  11. Behavioural Effects of Drugs, Hormones, and Brain Damage.
  12. Effects of Genetics and of Developmental Experiences on Various Structures and Functions.

Methods of Instruction

This course will employ a number of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives and will include some of the following:

  • Lectures
  • Seminar presentations
  • Audio visual presentations
  • Small group discussions
  • Research projects
  • Research papers
  • Laboratory demonstrations

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be in accordance with Douglas College and Psychology Department policies. Evaluations will be based on the course objectives. The specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

In-class exams (4)  70%
Term paper or project      20%
Student presentation  10%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the student will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain the global issues and principles of biological psychology.
  2. Describe research methods used to study brain and behaviour.
  3. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of brain anatomy and function by being able to identify and/or define terms, concepts and structures.
  4. Describe and explain the development and evolution of brain structure and function.
  5. Describe and explain the communication and coding functions of nerve cells.
  6. Identify and define terms, concepts and theories related to the psychophysiology of: development and aging, movement, learning and memory, and internal motivational and emotional states.
  7. Describe the biological approaches to mental illness and the behavioural effects of drugs, hormones, and brain damage.

course prerequisites

PSYC 1100 AND PSYC 1200


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.