PSYCH 109/109G : Mind, Brain and Behaviour


2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Topics covered may include: the nature of sensory and perceptual processes, the cause of perceptual illusions, the structure and function of the human brain, approaches to animal and human learning, models of human language and memory, and the design of psychological experiments. A laboratory component, in which students are required to participate as subjects, forms part of the course.

Course Overview

This course is designed to introduce students to the experimental study of, and research in, psychology. It offers students experience in psychological experimentation, in particular to the biological, behavioural and cognitive aspects of the discipline. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain the basic principles of research design and data analysis, and the practical, ethical and conceptual issues that researchers may face when designing and undertaking psychological research. (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  2. Evaluate critically, using the principles of research design, research conducted by others. (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  3. Describe the psychological and neural processes that give rise to important aspects of perception, memory and language. (Capability 3 and 4)
  4. Describe the major principles underlying learning in both animals and humans, and some of their implications for understanding the relation between behaviour and environment in everyday life. (Capability 3 and 4)
  5. Describe the major theories of cognitive development throughout the lifespan, together with evidence that tends to support or undermine these theoretical approaches. (Capability 3 and 4)
  6. Identify and describe the major divisions and structures of the human brain, and describe the main functions of important brain structures. Also, describe the structure and function of nerve cells. (Capability 3 and 4)
  7. Adopt a critical stance when evaluating evidence and theory in psychological science. (Capability 3, 4, 6 and 7)
  8. Describe how an evolutionary approach can inform our understanding of animal and human minds. (Capability 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Canvas Lecture Quizzes 14% Individual Coursework
Participation 5% Individual Coursework
Laboratory Report 10% Individual Coursework
Online Quizzes 55% Individual Coursework
Presentation 13% Group Coursework
Research 3% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Canvas Lecture Quizzes
Laboratory Report
Online Quizzes


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

This course is supported by the Tuākana in Science Programme, which facilitates the success and wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific students. The foundation of the Tuākana Programme is the Tuākana-Teina principle an integral relationship in which older or more expert Tuākana (traditionally brother, sister or cousin) guides a younger or less expert Teina (traditionally younger sibling or cousin). This is a reciprocal relationship that fosters safe learning and teaching environments. Read more here:

Key Topics

  • Research Methods
  • Learning and Behaviour
  • Memory
  • Cognitive Development
  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Perception
  • Language
Note that these topics are not listed in the order that they will be taught.

Special Requirements

Must participate in all laboratory classes.  

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in. For each week of this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures and a 2-hour laboratory.  An extra 5 hours per week should be spent engaging more deeply with content of the course and working on assignments and preparing for the quizzes.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • Attendance is required at scheduled activities, including laboratories, to complete associated laboratory activities for credit for the course.
  • Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities, including laboratories, will not be available as recordings.
  • This course will include online Canvas quizzes
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Learning resources are provided via Canvas. 

The Psych 109/109G Talis reading list will provide the details for the required reading for this course. If students would like to supplement their reading with a textbook we recommend Burton, L., Western, D., & Kowalski, R. (2022). Psychology (6th Australia and New Zealand Edition). John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd OR if you already own a copy of Burton, L., Western, D., & Kowalski, R. (2019). Psychology (5th Australia and New Zealand Edition). John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd. NOTE: This is not a required/compulsory textbook.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

We continue to make improvements to this course based on student feedback

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 01/11/2023 10:23 a.m.