PSYC1032 Introduction to Psychology: Biology, Learning and Cognition

Bachelor Course Unit


One trimester


1st year core

Credit points: 

6 (out of 144)




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.

Learning and Teaching Process

This unit comprises ten (10) weekly 2.5 hour lectures and nine (9) weekly 1 hour tutorials.  Lectures commence in Week 1 of the trimester and will be captured electronically at the time of delivery and will automatically be made available online within the following 24 hours. Attendance at tutorials is compulsory; students should attend, from Week 2, the tutorial class into which they are enrolled.

All students are provided with secure online access to comprehensive unit learning resources via the Student Portal. Unit Coordinators, Lecturers, and Student Support staff are available to students (in all modes of delivery) at designated times via email and telephone contact throughout the duration of the unit.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

a) explain how key biological, learning, perceptual and cognitive processes contribute to understanding human behaviour

b) discuss aspects of consciousness as they relate to evidence-based psychology

c) describe findings and theories from the psychology of memory, language development and intelligence that explain human behaviour

d) understand the processes involved in conducting research

e) use written communication appropriate to context and purpose to communicate understanding of concepts

Unit content

Week Lecture Topic Tutorial Topic
1 The Evolution of Psychology No tutorial Wk 1
2 Biological Substrates of Human Behaviour #1 Unit Orientation and First Glimpses into Psychology
3 Biological Substrates of Human Behaviour #2 Getting the message through: Comparing neuron and synaptic transmission
4 Sensation and Perception Research study - Part one: The experiment
5 Consciousness: The challenge for evidence based psychology Visual Illusions
6 Learning and Behaviour: Classic Conditioning Research study - Part two: Lab Report Writing
7 Learning and Behaviour: Operant Conditioning and Contemporary Learning and Theories Contrasting human learning approaches
8 Cognitive Processes: Memory Eyewitness Memory
9 Cognitive Processes: Language and Thought Decision Making
10 Intelligence Revision

Assessment Summary

Type Weighting Length
Assessment 1: Online Quiz 15% 25 Multiple Choice Questions and 2 Short Answer Questions; 45 minute time limit
Assessment 2: Research Report 30% 1,500 words
Assessment 3: Research participation 5% n/a
Assessment 4: Final Exam 50% 90 Multiple Choice Questions and 4 Short Answer Questions and 1 Extended Answer Question: 2 hour time limit

Enrolment Recommendation

It is the recommendation of the School of Psychological Sciences that commencing students do not enrol into the three core psychology units (PSYC1012, PSYC1022 and PSYC1032) during the same trimester of enrolment. This recommendation is in recognition of the workload involved in each of these units and is offered to best support commencing students to achieve the best possible outcomes in these foundation units. Please see our recommended sequencing of unit completion here


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time.