PSYC1032 Introduction to Psychology: Biology, Learning and Cognition

Bachelor Course Unitn


One trimester


1st year core

Credit points: 

6 (out of 144)



Mode(s) of delivery:

On-campus and Online Delivery




This unit is one of three introductory units in Psychology for commencing students. This unit will introduce you to key theories, findings and methodologies in areas of psychology that examine the role of biological, environmental and cognitive processes in explaining human experience and behaviour. It will also introduce you to some of the major applications of these theories and findings, and to current research issues in these areas.

Unit description

This unit examines biological, environmental, perceptual and cognitive processes that contribute to our understanding of human behaviour. The unit begins with a historical perspective on psychologists’ explanations of human behaviour as an introduction to current thinking and methods used in psychological research and practice. Psychology, and the study thereof, currently considered in light of the biopsychosocial model – which explains human behaviour to be the result of biological/genetic components, personal individualistic characteristics and the environment in which the individual grows and lives.

With this in mind, the unit will begin with an overview of the history and evolution of the disciple of psychology to aid students understanding of the current conceptualisations in psychology, it will then examine the biological substrates of human behaviour with insight provided into the related areas of sensation and perception. Moving forward the unit will evaluate the contributions of cognitive processes and individual characteristics (memory, language and intelligence), together with a consideration of the role of the environment via an examination of the human learning paradigm.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • explain how key biological, learning, perceptual and cognitive processes contribute to understanding human behaviour
  • discuss aspects of consciousness as they relate to evidence-based psychology
  • describe findings and theories from the psychology of memory, language development and intelligence that explain human behaviour
  • understand the processes involved in conducting research
  • use written communication appropriate to context and purpose to communicate understanding of concepts

Unit content

  • The evolution of psychology
  • Biological substrates of human behaviour
  • Sensation and perception: Visual and auditory processes
  • Consciousness: The challenge for evidence-based psychology
  • Learning and behaviour: Classical conditioning
  • Learning and behaviour: Operant conditioning and contemporary learning theories.
  • Cognitive and processes: Memory
  • Cognitive and processes: Language and Thought
  • Intelligence 

Learning and teaching process

This unit comprises 10 weekly 2.5 hour lectures and 9 weekly 1 hour tutorials. Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is highly recommended. Lectures will be captured electronically at the time of delivery. These recordings of the slide content and oral presentation will be available for downloading as soon as it is feasible after the lecture.

Assessment Summary

Assessment information provided at the commencement of the unit in the online class space.

Recommended text

For more information regarding recommended texts for specific units, please see the School of Psychological Sciences Textbook List.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for more information.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it throughout the trimester. Your lecturer will advise when there are updates on the site and also when readings are available for class discussion.