School Of Psychology

Biological Psychology and Perceptual ProcessesWestern Sydney University Unit Code: 100022.1

Discipline: PSYCHOLOGY

Student Contribution Band: 1

Level: 2

Credit Points: 10

Equivalent Units
B2912 - Biological Psychology and Sensory Processes

101183 Psychology: Behavioural Science AND 101184 Psychology: Human Behaviour

Unit Enrolment Restrictions
Pre-requisites will not apply to students enrolled in courses 1630 Graduate Diploma in Psychological Studies and 1501 Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Enrolment in these awards requires graduate status; hence the students have demonstrated proficiency in tertiary studies. Each applicant in these awards is assessed individually and provided with an individual study sequence by the Course Advisor.

About this Unit
In 2010 this unit replaced by 101680 - Perception and 101684 - Brain and Behaviour. Biological Psychology is a rapidly expanding area of study as knowledge of the brain and its impact on behaviour increases. An understanding of the biological basis of behaviour is crucial in explaining areas of psychology such as abnormal behaviour, learning, memory, sexual behaviour and biological rhythms. This unit provides the foundation necessary for later study of these topics. The control of behaviour in a complex organism involves components that can register information from the environment, integrate that information and produce responses. Information about the body's internal state and features of the environment must be coordinated in order to choose a course of action. Mechanisms underlying these processes are explored in this unit. In particular two communication systems within the body permit these processes to occur. The first of these systems involves nerve cells and the second is a system of chemical messengers called hormones. In the second part of this unit we will study sensory and perceptual processes. By asking "how is it that we come to know the world" we attempt to answer fundamental questions asked by philosophers from Aristotle, to Descartes, and the British Empiricists. The first experimental psychology laboratory was established by Wundt in 1879 to investigate the subjective experience of stimuli; in essence, perceptions. The objects and events of our environment combine to create a wealth of potential information. Much of the information is irrelevant at a particular time but some of it is essential. The human system is equipped with specialised sensory machinery for capturing the information and translating it into the language of the nervious system. In this way, the information is "digested" by the brain culminating in an awareness of the objects and events of the environment. The awareness then guides people's actions in the world. A fundamental question then in the study of perception is: how are electrical signals processed and interpreted by the nervous system to create perceptions? After examining the biological bases of sensing and perceiving, we will explore the way this relatively raw information is processed into the complex perceptions of colour, depth, size, distance and speech, which constitute the fundamental basis of our experience of the world.



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