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Introduction to Psychology: Biological Psychology

Understand the link between behaviour and human biology, and learn how genes and the environment influence our behaviour.

42,842 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    6 hours

Explore the intriguing world of biological psychology

Improve your scientific skills and explore the fascinating sphere of biological psychology

On this course, you’ll look at an intriguing branch of psychology; one which explores the links between behaviour and human biological functions, paying particular attention to the nervous-system.

You’ll study the role that genes, heredity, the nervous-system, brain and spinal cord all play in determining our physicality and behaviour, and gain an understanding of how heritable diseases and neurotransmitters affect our behaviour.

Discover the fundamentals of genetics, the nervous-system and the brain and spinal cord

This course covers a wide range of important topics, from genetics and the nervous-system, through to heredity, specific genetic disorders and the influence of the brain and spinal cord. Upon completion, you’ll be able to interpret examples of how heritable diseases affect behaviour and explain the role of neurotransmitters in psychology.

Get a solid grounding in modern biological psychology research

Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll be armed with your own unique insights into some of the world’s most important biological psychology research.

You’ll come away with an understanding of how genes and environment affect behaviour, and be able to define by some diseases may influence behaviour.

You’ll also build specific neurological knowledge of cell types, functions, how synapses communicate across the nervous system, and the role of the endocrine system in managing bodily functions.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds MATTHEW MUNDY: What is the connection between behavior and human biological function in our nervous system? Is it nature or is it nurture? Just how do our genes and the environment shape our behavior? Hi I’m Matthew Mundy and I’m the Director of Education for the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University in Australia. In this course, you’ll explore the intriguing world of ‘Biological psychology’. You’ll be introduced to genetics, and learn about heredity and genetic disorders, the nervous system, the brain and spinal cord and examine the important contribution these components make to our bodies and behaviour.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds We’ll also investigate the role that neurotransmitters and heritable diseases play in our behaviour and learn about some of the most recent advances made in this fascinating branch of psychology. This introductory course is designed for everyone, regardless of experience or background. No prior study of psychology is required or expected. So if you want to learn more about the connection between behavior and human biological functions, by a School of Psychological Sciences that’s ranked among the best in the world. Then I encourage you to join us in this course.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to genetics
  • Heredity and genetic disorders
  • Specific genetic disorders
  • The nervous system
  • The brain and spinal cord

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the role of genes in normal behaviour.
  • Interpret examples of heritable diseases affecting behaviour (e.g. Fragile X syndrome).
  • Assess the critical importance of the environment in shaping behaviour.
  • Identify the major divisions of the nervous system and major neural systems.
  • Identify neural system cell types and describe their functions, including how resting potential becomes an action potential.
  • Compare the role of synapses in communication within the nervous system.
  • Explain the roles of neurotransmitters in behaviour.
  • Identify the endocrine system, the major glands and the role of hormones in regulating bodily functions.

Who is the course for?

This introductory course is for anyone interested in psychology - you don’t need any past experience.

It might be of particular use to learners who have already completed a Bachelor degree in other disciplines who are interested in expanding their science and research skills.

Who will you learn with?

I am Associate Professor and Director of Education for the School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Australia. My research is in the cognitive neuroscience of memory and perception.

Who developed the course?

Monash University

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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