Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PSYC315 Brain and Behaviour

Teaching organisation

3 hours contact per week over 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

Neuropsychological deficits and assessment represent an important area within psychology. This unit will build on material introduced in the prerequisite unit, introducing students to assessment techniques within the sub-discipline of neuropsychology. In particular, this unit will cover topics pertaining to the fundamentals of neuropsychology (including history, research, major assumptions and principles), techniques and examination procedures for investigating the brain, neuropsychological assessment and diagnosis, and higher-order brain functioning. This unit aims to develop your knowledge of the aetiology, consequences, prognosis, treatment options and rehabilitation opportunities for various brain disorders including neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative and acquired brain injury.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - demonstrate an understanding of the application of neuropsychology in relation to research and practice (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7);

LO2 - evaluate the major techniques for neuropsychological investigations, assessments and diagnosis (GA4, GA5);

LO3 - explain the neuropsychological issues associated with common brain disorders (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5);

LO4 - evaluate current approaches to neuropsychological rehabilitation and the evidence for their efficacy in treating common conditions (GA4, GA5).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


Topics will include: 


Structure and function of the human nervous system 

  • Organisation of the nervous system 
  • Cortical organisation 
  • Cortical functions 


Abnormalities of the brain-behaviour relationship 

  • Syndrome-based disorders – attention deficits and neglect, aphasia, agnosia, amnesia, dys-executive disorders 
  • Neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders – neurodegenerative disorders, epilepsy, TBI, cerebrovascular disease, tumour and infection, schizophrenia, affective disturbance 



  • Approaches to neuro-rehabilitation 
  • Measuring outcomes

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, and cooperative learning. The unit is delivered in face-to-face mode with 3 contact hours per week: each week there will be a 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial. This mode of delivery is designed to enhance discussion and engagement in the content covered in the unit. The lectures are to aid students with the acquisition and understanding of knowledge while the tutorials are designed to enhance application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of that knowledge.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, you will need to complete and submit all Assessment Tasks listed in the table below. In addition to this, you must obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50% to pass the unit. The assessment strategy for this unit allows students to demonstrate their acquisition of knowledge, as well as the application of that knowledge. In order to best enable students to demonstrate Learning Outcomes and develop Graduate Attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. The Case Study Report will give students the opportunity to apply an understanding of core diagnostic principles in brain disorders to a patient example. The Narrated PowerPoint and Report will allow students to demonstrate their ability to work collaboratively and communicate through oral and written language. The recall of key knowledge concepts is assessed via multiple-choice questions in the final exam. Short answer questions in these exams provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their grasp of key concepts and their ability to synthesise information learnt throughout the course in meaningful ways.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Case Study Report:

Allows students to apply their knowledge to a practical neuropsychological case patient.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA6

Narrated PowerPoint and written report:

Allows students to demonstrate oral communication skills and ability to synthesise knowledge.


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5


Allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to apply knowledge to practical examples.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

Schoenberg, M.R., & Scott, J.G. (Eds.). (2011). The Little Black Book of Neuropsychology. New York: Springer.

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